A few weeks ago I wrote about some odd Google search results being spotted in the wild, which seemed to place even more of a premium on local results pulled from Google Places information. And I took the opportunity to remind you that you can and should upload videos to your Google Places listing. Since that article, I've had a few emails asking me more about how one can go about adding video to their Google Places account, so I thought it would be good to do a basic walk-through.
It is an easy process (detailed below) that entails:
- Set up an account with Google
- Enter your business details and information.
- Upload your videos to YouTube
- Indicated in your Google Places listing which YouTube videos to show.
- That is it.
First, you'll need a Google Places account (formerly Google Local Business Center), which you can sign up for here. This is a vital thing for any business to do regardless of whether or not they're looking to add video to it. I've had countless clients ask about how they can get their company listed "on that little map on the Google search results," and Google Places is the first step.
Essentially, Places was born as a way to help businesses "claim" themselves on a map in order to offer consistent Google data on a company's location and contact information. You'll need to verify your Places account, so that Google can tell you're who you say you are, and you can verify by phone (instantly) or mail (2-4 weeks).
When you begin the setup of your Google Places account, you'll see a screen that looks like this:
Google Places has room for tons of data about your business, including keywords, hours of operation, payment types accepted, photos, and… the reason we're here today… video. Videos is one of the last editing options as you scroll down the page, just above the "Additional Details.” It looks like this:
You can add up to five videos, and it couldn't be easier to do. Upload your business videos to YouTube—I'm sort of hoping many of you have already done this, in which case you can skip this step. If you have yet to set up a YouTube account, then you'll have that added task to complete before you can upload videos.
Then it's just a matter of finding and pasting in the YouTube URLs for your videos, and clicking the Add Video button. After you've done that, you'll see a tiny thumbnail of that video below the upload area, with a link to "remove" it if you wish.
Once you've added all the videos you want to your Google Places account, you simply need to save your progress, and those videos will be available for viewing to consumers that view your business' profile.
There don't appear to be any guidelines from Google on videos. It appears you can add videos from YouTube that you did not upload, or that have no relevance whatsoever to your business—but just because they're not stopping you from doing this doesn't mean it's a good idea. Use good business sense with this—this is a business listing, not your personal Twitter feed. Videos about your company or created by your company are appropriate… David After Dentist is probably not. But it's worth mentioning that there don't appear to be any rules from Google's perspective. Even the extensive Google Places Help section has only one listing for "video," and that's a forum question from April about thumbnails. But that will likely change. I think you might see some guidelines down the road, and probably some more extensive help documentation as well.
It should go without saying that I think this simple task of adding videos to your Google Places account is hugely important. We already know that video is quickly becoming a must-have content piece for businesses and individuals who want to be found. And if Places data is going to be as important as some of Google's testing indicates, then video within your Places listing might soon be a flat-out necessity.