Have you claimed your listing in Google Maps and made sure the information it displays is accurate?
If not, you need to do it NOW — even if you don’t have a website yet. This step is vital.
Local Search — including sites such as Google Maps, Yahoo Maps, and Bing Maps — is quickly becoming one of the most dominant sources of online traffic. The local search market already generates about $33 billion a year — and with the growing popularity of smartphones such as iPhones, Blackberries, and Droids, it’s about to get a whole lot bigger — FAST.
That’s because people who have smartphones search differently online. If they’re looking for a nearby business, chances are they won’t use the regular Google search engine — they’ll use Google Maps instead. Many of their smartphones have built-in GPS capabilities and can automatically determine the location where the user is. And that information gets transmitted to Google Maps, which can then automatically show them there particular businesses are in relation to their location.
For example, say you’re on holiday in Puerto Vallarta and you’re craving Chinese food. With a GPS-capable smartphone you can simply type “chinese restaurants” into your Google Maps application and your smartphone will automatically show you where the nearest Chinese restaurants are. You don’t have to type in your address — or even know what it is.
… You have to admit, that’s a pretty cool way to get information.
1. Go to Google Maps and run a search for your business. You should be listed, unless your business is so new it’s not even listed in the local Yellow Pages yet. When you see your listing, click on the “more info” link.
2. Click on the link that says, “business owner.”
3. You will be taken to a page in Google’s Local Business Center where you can add, edit, or suspend listings. Click on the “edit my business information” option.
4. You’ll be shown a long screen of information that you can edit and add in. Make the most of this listing. Not only can you make sure your phone number and address are correct, you can also add an email address, your website URL (if you already have one — if not, don’t worry, you can return and add this information in later), your hours of operation, your payment options, and photos of your business. You can even add up to five YouTube-hosted videos to your listing!
6. Make sure the information about your business is correct and then click the “submit” button at the bottom of the page, Google will want to validate that you are the owner of your listing. They’ll send you a PIN code and activation instructions to the business address associated with your listing. You can then use that PIN to sign in and claim your listing. After that you may edit your Google Maps listing as often as you want.
Congratulations! You have just completed your first Internet marketing task. Once you have claimed your Google Maps listing, we suggest you go through the same process for your listings on Yahoo Maps and Bing Maps.
It only takes a few minutes to complete, but the pay-off will be HUGE.