Business Listings on Google Maps

by Brian Combs on January 10, 2010

Does your company sell products or services to a limited geographic area? You might want to explore Google’s Local Business Center. It returns business listings for certain queries with local intent.

Take your most important keyword, add your city name to it, and search for it on Google. Do you see a map?

If so, then you’re already missing out on customers if your business is not listed there.

Even if the map is not being returned for your keywords, that may change in the future. In fact, if you optimize your Google Maps listing for a keyword that doesn’t return the map, you might convince Google to return your business as the only listing. Who wouldn’t want to dominate the search result pages for their most important term?

Creating a local business listing with Google is free. Simply log in to any Google service (Gmail, Google Docs, AdWords, Analytics or any other), and go to the Google Local Business Center. Click on the “Add new business” button and fill out the fields to submit your business.

The Company/Organization field is a controversial one. Google wants this to reflect the exact name of the company, and may penalize listings that do not do so.

However, just a few searches will show listings with keywords and/or locations as their company name. Just be aware that even if you get away with using keywords this way today, you may be penalized in the future.

Be sure to use your keywords in the Description field. You can also use them in the Categories section, but use at least one of Google’s standardized categories (you’ll see them when you start typing in a Category field).

If your business has images and videos available, include these in the listing. These help to show Google that your business is a real one, and can improve your rankings.

Once you submit your information, you’ll need to validate your listing. This can be done either over the phone or through the mail.

If you choose the phone option, Google will call the number you included on the listing and a computer voice will give you a PIN number. If you choose the mail option, a post card is sent to the address on the listing that includes the PIN number.

The phone option is clearly the quicker one, although it can be difficult to manage if the phone does not ring directly to you. In either case, you need to enter the PIN into Google Local to register your business.

Be aware that Google does not always offer both options, so you might be forced to use one or the other.

Once your listing is validated, you can change anything other than the address and phone number without having to revalidate.

All this might not be enough to cause your listing to show for your keywords, especially if they are competitive. To be honest, you’re just getting started in local SEO. If you would like help from ionadas local, visit our website or give us a call at (512) 501-1875.

Previous post:

Next post: