Getting in the Map Section of Google

How is your business faring when it comes to Google's local map-based listings? Don't know? Start by entering your business name and zip-code into the search engine and see what you find. Chances are, your business already shows up on Google Maps, but is it accurate? Could it be better? Does it really represent your business and brand? Fortunately, you can utilize features on Google to make your local map listing really pop, and best yet, it's all free. The steps below will show you how to set up your Google listing, as well as some tips to make it search optimization friendly. (Hat tip to Mike Blumenthal for this great information.) Start by signing up for Google Local Business Center.
  1. Go to www.google.com/localbusinesscenter and sign into your Google Account.
  2. Click on “Add New Business” and fill in basic business information. Add the key phrases for your business, and make sure they are reflected in your business title.
  3. Google Maps will begin to pinpoint your location on the map per the address you type in. Adjust the marker as necessary for accuracy. If your business is already in the database, select “Claim Listing” to edit it. Otherwise, click “Add Listing” to create a new one. Make sure your key phrases are also reinforced here.
  4. Add details to help users learn everything they need to know about your business. Indicate hours of operation and add photos, logos, and videos. (Adding these can really make one business stand out over another.) Use web references that also point back to your main key phrases and location, and make sure your own site has references to the same. (E.g. make sure your address in the footer of every page of your own site).
  5. Verify your listing by phone or postcard. (Google will send you a PIN to enter.)
Blumenthal also recommends that local businesses join the organizations that Google uses to obtain information, such as the Better Business Bureau, Mobile Trave Guide, Talking Phone Book, etc. At the end of the day, in order to rank well in local searches, you need to simply “think local” in search optimization terms. Give as much local information as you can – directions (include landmarks, too!) and links pointing to you from other local websites and directories. While no one knows the exact formula for always getting your business to the top of the search list, applying the tips above will undoubtedly increase the views to your local Google business listing.

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