UPDATE – Google Local Business Centre is now called Google Places.
Note – This is a mash up of information originally provided by Google itself
Google Local Business listings get your business featured for various keyword phrases in your local area, as well as your business name, including a map to your business and contact details. It’s FREE, so your crazy not to do it.
Optimising for Google Local Business – In my experience, giving Google as much information as possible about your business is just about the best policy. Get listed in as many local business directories as possible.
Best Practices (From Google)
- Guidelines – Only business owners or authorized representatives may claim their business listings on Google Maps.
- Guidelines – Use a shared, business email account, if multiple users will be updating your business listing.
- Guidelines -If possible, use an email account with a domain that matches your business URL. For example, if your business website is www.hobo-web.co.uk, a matching email address would be firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submit Your Free Listing:
- Submit your information, from basic contact info to photos and video. Visit the Local Business Center.
- You will need a Google account – click here to go straight to the sign-up page.
- On the Local Business Center homepage, click Add new business.
- Fill out the basic information about your business. This includes:
- Company/Organization: This is the official/registered name of your business.
- GUIDELINE – The business name on Google Maps must be your full legal business name.
- GUIDELINE -Do not attempt to manipulate search results by adding extraneous keywords or a description of your business into the business name.
- GUIDELINE -Do not include phone numbers or URLs in the business name.
- Address (required): The address should look exactly the way you’d write it on a paper mailing envelope. If your business services several areas, you can create one listing under a PO Box.
- GUIDELINE – Do not create listings at locations where the business does not physically exist.
- GUIDELINE – PO Boxes do not count as physical locations.
- GUIDELINE – Do not create more than one listing for each business location, either in a single account or multiple accounts.
- GUIDELINE – Businesses that operate in a service area as opposed to a single location should not create a listing for every city they service. Service area businesses should create one listing for the central office of the business only.
- GUIDELINE – Businesses with special services, such as law firms and doctors, should not create multiple listings to cover all of their specialties.
- GUIDELINE – The precise address for the business must be provided in place of broad city names or cross-streets.
- GUIDELINE – A property for rent is not considered a place of business. Please create one listing for the central office that processes the rentals.
- Phone Number (required): Be sure to include your area code with your phone number.
- GUIDELINE – Provide a phone number that connects to your individual business location as directly as possible. For example, you should provide an individual location phone number in place of a call center.
- GUIDELINE – Do not provide phone numbers or URLs that redirect or ‘refer’ users to other landing pages or phone numbers other than those of the actual business.
- Website: This can be a maximum of 255 characters.
- GUIDELINE – Provide one URL that best identifies your individual business location.
- GUIDELINE – Do not provide URLs that redirect or ‘refer’ users to other landing pages or phone numbers other than those of the actual business.
- Company/Organization: This is the official/registered name of your business.
- Click Next. You’ll now have the opportunity to provide the following information about your business:
- CATEGORIES: Enter several categories to describe your business, to make it easier for others to find when they search Maps. Google will automatically suggest categories as you type. You can enter up to 5 categories for your business. I THINK THE FIRST ONE NEEDS TO BE FROM GOOGLE’S CATEGORIES, THE REST BE SURE AND USE VALUABLE KEYWORDS RELATED TO YOUR BUSINESS (Or CUSTOM CATEGORIES)
- HOURS OF OPERATION: Select your hours of operation using the dropdown menus. If would prefer not to specify your hours of operation, keep the radio button selected next to ‘I prefer not to specify operating hours.’
- PAYMENT OPTIONS : Select the checkboxes next to the payment methods that your business accepts.
- PHOTOS: Use the photo uploader to add a photo from your computer, or specify a URL to add a photo from the web. You can add up to 10 photos to your listing. To learn more about adding photos, check out this section of the User Guide.
- VIDEO: To add a video, upload it to YouTube and enter its URL. You can add up to 5 videos to your listing. For help with uploading your video to YouTube, read the article on how to upload in the YouTube Help Center.
- ADDITIONAL DETAILS: Use this section to add your own information fields to your listing. For example, parking availability, or whether your business allows pets.
- GUIDELINES – Use the description and custom attribute fields to include additional information about your listing. This type of content should never appear in your business’s title, address or category fields.
- GUIDELINES – Please see this page of the LBC User Guide for examples of acceptable custom attributes.
- You can see your listing as it will appear in Maps on the right side of your screen, and new information will appear as you enter it. When it looks the way you want it to, click Submit at the bottom of the page.
- Choose how you would like to verify your listing and click Finish.
Once you’ve submitted your business information, you’ll be asked to verify it before it goes live. Google allows a maximum of 100 listings per account for manual verification. For more information on verifying your listing, check out this section of the User Guide.
You Need To Verify your listing by PHONE or POSTCARD
You’ll have to:
- verify a new business listing,
- or to verify phone number or address changes in an existing listing.
- You can verify your listing by phone call or postcard.
- Keep in mind that if you don’t want to verify your listing right away, you’ll see your verification options in your listing status when you return to your Local Business Center home page.
Verification by phone
- Verify your listing this way & you’ll receive an automated phone call
- During this call, you’ll be given a unique PIN that can be entered into your Local Business Center account.
Verification by postcard
- Once you’ve received your PIN on a Google postcard, you can then use it to verify your business listing in the Google Local Business Center.
- It generally takes 10 business days for a PIN mailer to arrive.
- If you’ve been waiting longer than this, visit the Local Business Center to request a new mailer.
- Keep in mind that only one PIN mailer is valid at a time, so requesting a new mailer will make the previous mailer invalid, even if you do end up receiving it.
- Note that you can only receive a PIN at the business address you’ve submitted to Google Maps. This way, we can verify ownership of a business in part by validating who received the PIN at the business address.
- DANGER DANGER – If you enter an incorrect PIN 5 times, you’ll receive a message indicating that your verification failed, and you will no longer be able to verify the listing.
- When this happens, you’ll need to delete that listing from your Local Business Center account and start the process again, creating a brand new listing.
Wait for your listing to appear in Google Maps. In most cases, it shouldn’t take more than 12 hours.
Once it is submitted it will be in one of the next stages:
Status – What Does It Mean?
|Status||What it means|
|This means that your listing is publicly available by searching on maps.google.com and through google.com. If you’re unable to find your business right away, try performing a search for [ your business name in your city, zip code ].|
|This means that the listing you’ve submitted needs to be verified. Until you do, your listing won’t be displayed in Google Maps. You may verify by phone or mail. To find out more about verification, go to this section of the User Guide.|
|If your listing is Flagged, it has been selected for additional review before it can appear on Google Maps. This might be because there’s something in the content of your business listing that isn’t allowed on Google Maps. Perhaps you’ve used certain ‘trigger words’: these can be ‘bad words,’ or simply trademarked words that you don’t own. WHAT GOOGLE MISSES IS THAT YOU NEED TO CHECK YOUR LISTING! SOMETHING ISN”T QUITE RIGHT – CHECK YOUR DATA AND YOU MAKE THE CHANGES. NOBODY AT GOOGLE GIVES A S^%$ – THEY WONT BE CHECKING IT|
|If your listing is suspended, it means that you have chosen to remove it from Google Maps. Click Resume display on Google Maps to make it visible again.|
|The means that your listing is verified and has passed our content check, but it is awaiting our next data push. It should be live within two weeks, but may take up to four.If your listing has been ‘Awaiting Next Update’ for over a month, we recommend verifying this listing manually by phone or PIN Mailer (note that you can’t verify listings in bulk. A listing that was uploaded as part of a bulk feed will have to be verified individually).
If you uploaded a a bulk listing, it could be that there was no information in it that isn’t already on Google Maps. If this is the case, then we don’t add the bulk feed to our index.
Google local Statistics
You can get cool stats from GLB too (some below)
As i said, especially if you are a small business or a brand new business just starting out, you should claim your listing – it’s 100% free and gives you a measure of increased visibility on Google if folks are looking for your type of business in your area.
Useful external posts about GLB
- Report Spam on Maps. Google gives people the option of outing you!
- Request Reinclusion if your Local Business Center account has been suspended.
- Request Verification for your bulk upload.
- Check out the Google local business Help Forum.
- Compare Past & Current Google Local Business Guidelines side by side
- Google Targets Spammers With New Local Business Listing Guidelines