Finding (or Not Finding) Your Page
The first step in working on your Google Places page is to find out whether you already have one created for you by Google. You can see a description of the contents of a Google Places page in Lesson 1, "Introducing Google Places," and a description of how to edit basic information fields—without having to verify your ownership first—in Lesson 2, "Editing Your Google Places Page."
If your business already has a Google Places page, assembled for you by Google, this might come as a surprise to you. Having a preassembled page is almost entirely good news. Not only can customers find basic information about your business easily in Google Search and Google Maps, they can also see that your business is important and a real business by the fact that people are talking about you online (as shown on your Google Places page), listing you in directories (as shown on your Google Places page), and so on.
However, you might be surprised, or even disappointed and frustrated, by some of the content on your existing Google Places page. Google gathers information about your business from all over the Web, and if that information includes negative comments, they might show up on your page. This happens whether the comments are fair or unfair. In most cases, Google will not do anything about negative comments for you. See Lesson 7, "Adding Photos," for some steps you can take to help yourself.
On the other hand, you might not be surprised or disappointed to find that you do not already have a Google Places page. Your business might or might not have a business license, be listed in various directories such as the phone directory and online listings, and so on. Sometimes your business just doesn't get Google's attention; other times, Google messes up, and even puts a different business at your business address. Again, see Lesson 7 for steps you can take to help yourself.
If you're not already listed, adding your page can immediately attract related content from other sites, if your business is mentioned on any. Or, it might take a while for the information to show up on your new Google Places page. You might have to make explicit efforts to get listed in some of the directories that Google takes information from to then have that information show up in your Google Places page.
If you need to create a new Google Places page, follow the steps in the "Adding a New Listing" section, later in this lesson, and then proceed through the rest of the lesson. If you have an existing page that you haven't claimed yet as your own, skip the next section and go straight to the following section, "Editing Your Listing." In either case, work your way through to the final section, "Verifying Your Listing."