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Google Places is a free service that allows a business owner to tie his or her company address to Google Maps. So when a potential customer searches for businesses in that specific portion of town, the owner's company pop ups-as well as related information such as hours of operation and the website URL. It's basically a free and easy-to-use way of attracting the attention of local shoppers.

Whether you're running a small Mom and Pop business or a large conglomerate, you can easily setup your own local business listing. Here's how.

Sign Up For An Account

To setup a listing on Google Places, you'll first need to establish an account with Google. If you have not already done this, then you'll need to start by clicking the 'Create an Account Now' button located on the lower-right hand side of the GP HOMEpage. This will provide you with an account, not to mention a Google email account. In general, it's wise to keep your personal email separate from your business email. Regardless, once you've signed up, go ahead and log into Google Places.

Setup Your Business Listing

After you've logged in, click on the 'List your Business' button on the right-hand side of the screen. The first thing you'll need to do now is enter the telephone contact number for your business. Google Places will then search for that number through their database to ensure that your business is not already listed, because Google is not too keen on redundant data.

Assuming you pass this phase, you'll then be prompted to insert specific details relating your business, including your business address, your business email, your business website address, five categories related to your business and a brief 200-character description. Keep in mind you can and should select five categories, as it'll help Google better classify your business. Also make sure to include relevant keywords in your description.

Additional information that you can submit during the initiation process into Google Places include accepted payment methods, business hours, ten photos, and links to up to five YouTube videos. Be certain to take advantage of all of these options. The more information about your business that you put on Google Places, the more likely potential customers will click on its link. Once you're done, simply click on the 'Submit' button.

Part 2 of this article will cover verifying your identity for the purposes of establishing your Google Places listing and adding Google Tag to promote your listing.