Louise posted a question in the comments so I thought I would draft a quick answer. Here is here question:
this video was excellent – it explained many things about google places that I didn’t know.
I have a question – I have a local business directory site. Can I claim google places on behalf of business owners (if I have their permission of course), for the web address – can I direct it to their listing on my directory – as some of the businesses don’t have websites.
Ok, lets take these questions in order.
#1. With permission you can claim a business on behalf of the owner. However, you need to be sure to do two things. Firstly, ALWAYS do so in a new Google Places account. Don’t mix multiple clients within 1 account. Doing so just puts all your clients at risk. We have been doing work with Google Maps for 5 years and have never had an issue. But, that is because we follow our own best practices so all our clients are safe and secure. Secondly, your client should have access to their account. It is their business and as such the account should be theirs to control. Many local seo providers use an account that they have setup as leverage to keep a client longer. To us that is simply bad business.
#2. You could direct a business that doesn’t have a website to your directory however a better practice is to build them a website that they own/control. We are able to create simple websites that our clients love (using WordPress so they can easily manage it) for $500, so the expense isn’t great to get them something that will really serve their needs.