GOOGLE PLACE PAGES are, in Google’s own words, pages generated
to organize all the world’s information for every place in the world. And we really mean every place: there are Place Pages for businesses, points of interest, transit stations, landmarks, and cities all over the world.
… and that, gentle reader, includes your bookshop.
Unless you’ve been asleep, you should have noticed them appearing whenever you run a Google search; but more to the point, they’re appearing in your customers’ Google search results — and what comes up in those results can, of course, make the difference between you gaining a sale or losing it to someone else.
Here’s an owner-verified place page, belonging to Melanie Carroll of Unicorn Tree Books, Lincoln:
Here’s an unverified place page, for the Christian Bookshop, Orpington:
You don’t need to look too closely to spot the differences: Melanie’s listing links to her website; includes an image supplied by her; and is clearly flagged top-right, “Owner-verified listing”. The Christian Bookshop, Orpington, listing links to wesleyowen.com; includes no image; and is begging to be claimed, “Business owner?” If yours, like this, is going begging, hit that link; it’s a painless process and free of charge: a Google bot will phone you with a verification code to enter on the page.
The good news for the folk in Orpington is that I found their listing during a review of their UKCBD entry and I’ve notified both them and Google of the erroneous link: notice that “Edit this place” option. I’m doing a lot of that at the moment whilst the Big UKCBD Spring Clean continues, as I’m replacing all my old multimap links (which no longer work) with Google place page links; but it would be far better for you and your customers if you claimed your page and made sure it was right yourself: why let Google send your customers elsewhere?
Once you’ve verified your listing, a whole new world of Google stats and other options will open up to you, including the ability to post twitter-style updates to your page and respond to reviews. Here’s a snapshot of the owner’s page for St Andrew’s Church, Langford:
Last but not least: congratulations to Melanie as, once again, Unicorn Tree Books leads the way; and my apologies to Gordon & Barbara at Orpington: unfortunately, someone had to draw the short straw in the unverified listings. They are by no means alone in not claiming their listing and absolutely no criticism of them is implied in my observations here: the error is Google’s.Follow @unicorntreebks
Update, 5/5/2012: Cornerstone Books, Edinburgh
Still not convinced? Here’s Google’s place page for Cornerstone Books, Edinburgh, as shown today, 5/5/2012, flagged by Google as “This place is permanently closed”:
Is the shop closed? Their own website, their hive listing and their BA listing all declare otherwise; but how many prospective customers finding this Google listing are going to search any further? How many prospective customers are you losing because Google have got it wrong?
Ignore this at your peril.