Yellow Pages are so 1990s. Nowadays, if you are running a small business dependent on customers finding and coming to your physical store or office, then you need to get listed on Google Maps.
Type in Google search terms that include business types and specific locations such as “landscaping Annapolis MD” or “hair salon in Chicago” and the very first results are the local business results, with more information about the business including their location in the map. If your competitors are there, you better make sure you get listed on Google Maps as well! After all, this is free.
Here’s how to get listed on Google Maps:
- Get a Google account , if you have not gotten one yet (if you’re an Adwords advertiser, you can also use your Adwords account)
- Go to Google Local Business Center
- Click on Add New Business
- Put in details about your business. Put in a description of your business, the forms of payment you accept and your business operating hours.
- Select up to five categories that best describes your business — this is important in terms of getting found in the Google search so think of the best keywords for your business.
- Confirm your listing: you can choose confirmation via a phone call (a Google rep will call the business number you provided; or through post card confirmation where you will receive your PIN for listing verification in about 2-3 weeks). Verification provides you with a unique personal identification number (PIN) and account activation instructions.
- Verify your listing with your PIN. After activating your account, you can control the address and listing information (very handy if you should happen to move your business or open additional offices or stores)
- Your listing will be included in Google Maps in about 6 weeks
Once you have entered all the information, you select a verification method. For some areas in the U.S., you may opt to receive a phone call; otherwise you will receive a postcard in the mail. Google recommends in their listing tips that it is important to make sure that the listing is accurate and complete. Make your listing stand out by putting in images and even videos. Also make sure that you choose the most appropriate and specific categories for your business.
Of course, if you are a home-based business who take the extra effort of masking the true address of your business through the use of a P.O. box address, a Google Maps listing may not be for you. Even if you’re not using a P.O. box address for your home business, you also need to consider the security of posting your home address out there.