Google Blogoscoped

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How to Add Your Business to Google Maps
By Brian Ussery

Google “Universal” includes results from Google Maps as well as other verticals. In addition to relevancy, Google Maps includes geographic factors in determining ranking order in search engine results pages.

Google Universal search engine results page including Google Maps results.

By creating their own business listing, business owners are helping drive traffic to their site as well as customers through their front door. Millions use Google Maps each day and business listings are free through Google Local Business Center. Local Business Center is available to business owners with locations in Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Japan, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, the UK, and the U. S.

Languages available in Google Local Business Center listings for Google Maps.

Before creating a new listing, it’s important to verify businesses aren’t already listed. One way of avoiding duplicate listings is to search for [your business name in your city, zip code] before submitting new listings. If a business is already listed, select “Claim your business” and if not continue to signup with Google Local Business Center.

Example of information required.

In addition to general contact information, Google Local Business Center allows owners to specify hours of operation and accepted forms of payment. They can also provide up to 10 photos, 5 videos, offer coupons and more. The entire process is easy. Business owners have two options for receiving their personal identification number, either phone or mail. This PIN must be entered in the account before listings are activated. After the PIN is submitted, listings usually become active within a month.

Verification options in Google Local Business Center.

So no matter how large or small your business, inclusion in Google Maps can be a nice way of helping your business grow. In fact, even if you don’t have a “shop” it’s possible to create individual Google Maps listings like the listing I created in 2005 before phone verification was offered, using my own address at the time. At minimum, a name and phone number are required, though including more information may increase visibility in search results. Google suggests registering a physical address as well as including meta data along with categories, phone numbers, pictures, video and other details. They also suggest encouraging customers to leave honest comments and ratings in the Google Maps “Review” tab for business listings.

After all that, don’t forget to also include contact information in your site.


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