So What is Google Places?
Just imagine that as Yellowpages busines listing complete with powerful Google maps. The most important thing is that - THIS IS FROM GOOGLE, so it directly affects your Google search ranking. In fact Google Places actually pushes most organic search results down. Take a look below...
Getting yourself listed in Google Places
First thing is to check if your business is already listed. Simply do a search in http://maps.google.com. Let's say you are St. John Ambulance in Singapore, we can do a search either by address or organization name...
Viola! If it is found, you will reach the profile page. See the link above the map? If it states "Business owner?" that means you can proceed to claim ownership, else it will states "Owner-verified listing" which means someone else has already claimed it. Check with your organization if it was claimed by someone internally.
By clicking on the "Business Owner" link, you can proceed to claim ownership of this listing. Continue with updating your business information and Google will provide a few options of validation.
You can choose to validate by PHONE, SMS or POSTCARD, they are all FREE anyway. Try the PHONE validation - it's the fastest.
What if my business is not found?
No worries, just simply go to http://www.google.com/places/ and add yours in!
After all these are done, get you customers to leave their comments via Google places. All comments are visible from the search results. If you have accumulated enough positive comments, that is obvious for anyone to click on it.
Well it is easy, free and effective to add your business in Google Places. However try not to abuse the system by posting positive comments of your own or create multiple listings. Just remember, Google's artificial intelligence can detect all these and ban your listing.