Is your online listing up to date?

Three years ago, I wrote about being sure your utility is listed in Google Places. You can read that article here.

Get Your Business Online

Google has introduced a new program called “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” to help facilitate getting small businesses online. As part of this project, they have created an online tool to see how your utility shows up in Google Search and Google Maps. You can access it at gybo.com/business.

This will prompt for the name of your utility and then will display one of two results pages, depending on how complete your information is.

You’re on the map

If your information is complete, you will see a screen similar to this:

GYBO Complete

Then, as you scroll down, it will show a preview of how your listing appears:

Logics GYBO Listing

Your business info is incomplete

On the other hand, if you information is incomplete, you will see a screen that looks something like this:

GYBO Incomplete

If your information is incomplete, all you have to do is click the “Complete your information” button. The tool will take you through the steps to update your listing.

Of the handful of utilities I checked while researching this article, the most common reason for an incomplete listing was not having their hours listed, followed by no picture (logo). According to Google, the number one thing people look for online is hours, so be sure yours are up to date!

Still time to complete the 2015 Utility Fee Survey

If you haven’t yet participated in the 2015 Utility Fee Survey and would like to, please click here to complete the survey. It should take less than five minutes to complete.

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at gsanders@logicssolutions.com or call me at 919-232-2320.

I’m looking for as much participation as possible in the survey, so please feel free to pass this on to your colleagues at other utilities.get

Thank you in advance for your participation in the Utility Fee Survey.

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© 2015 Gary Sanders

Is your office listed in Google Places…?

Do you have a listing in Google Places? If you don’t or if you don’t know what Google Places is, keep reading…

Customers look for you online

I haven’t opened a phone book in years and, apparently, I’m not alone! According to Google, “97% of consumers search for local businesses online.”

When your customers Google your utility, can they find you? If you have an up-to-date listing in Google Places, they can. Even if you don’t have a website!

An example of one utility’s Google Places listing

Mallory Valley Utility District (MVUD) in Franklin, Tennessee has a listing in Google Places. If you search for “Mallory Valley Utility District”, Google returns the following screen:

Google Search Screen

The first entry in the left column is MVUD’s website. Underneath, is their Facebook page. You did read Utility Information Pipeline #35 and now have a Facebook page, don’t you…?

To the right of the website links is a map with a push pin locating the MVUD office with their hours below the map. Clicking on the push pin opens a larger map in Google Maps and clicking on that push pin opens Mallory Valley Utility District’s Google Place listing as shown in this screen:

Mallory Valley Utility District Google Places Listing

As you can see, the Google Place listing shows the office address, phone number and logo and provides a link for driving directions to the office.

Why create a Google Places listing?

Jenny Clarke, Office Manager at Mallory Valley Utility District says, “I created the Google Places listing because more and more people use Google to find telephone numbers and addresses these days than they use the phone book, so it made sense to us to create a Google Places account. Customers can easily view our location now through Google.”

Jenny goes on to say, “Plus, we had a problem… Google was listing our address and phone number incorrectly. It was pulling a phone number and address to one of our pumping stations. With the Google Places account, I was able to correct the error and that has been very helpful.”

It’s easy to create your Google Places listing

To create your listing, go to www.google.com/places and click the “Get started” button. You will be prompted to enter your office phone number. If Google already recognizes your phone number, it will offer you the opportunity to edit the existing information and add additional details.

If your phone number isn’t recognized, you will be prompted to enter your organization’s name, address, phone number, e-mail address and website. You may also enter a description and a category for your listing, your office hours, methods of payment you accept and up to 10 images. These images can include your logo, as MVUD’s listing does, or photos of your office.

Finally, Google will mail you a PIN within two weeks to verify your listing. Once you enter this PIN in Google Places, your listing will be active.

Even if you don’t have a website, Google Places can provide a web presence for your utility. Without your own website, your Google Places listing solves three of the eight common website mistakes to avoid that I wrote about in Utility Information Pipeline #34.

What has been your experience?

Do you already have a Google Places listing? If you do, how has it benefitted you?

Better yet, if reading this has inspired you to create one, I would love to hear about that, too. In either case, please click here to post your comments.

If you have questions about Google Places or creating your listing, please contact me by calling 919-232-2320 or e-mailing me at gsanders@logicssolutions.com.

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© 2012 Gary Sanders