Small Business Reading Room

Monday, September 18, 2006

Even If You Don't Have a Web Site, You Can Get Your Business Listed in Google Local

Is your business findable on the web? Regardless of whether or not you have a web site?

I'm trying to remember the last time I picked up a phone book. I usually try to find an address or a phone number for local businesses on the web. If you have a business that people can visit in person, you may want to consider that I'm not the only one who has stopped looking in the yellow pages.

Google has a specialized search that people can use to find businesses in their area. Using it to find a business means going to the main page of Google, and selecting the "Maps" tab above the search box. Supposedly, only a small percentage of searchers actually use that specialized search, but results from that specialized local search are often shown at the top of normal web searches in Google.

Google will try to include information about your business in their Google Local database if your business is listed in a phone book. You don't even need a web page.

But that phone directory listing only contains some information about your business, and it may not always be correct. Google also tries to collect information about your business from other web pages that may contain the information, including your businesses web site, and possibly directory sites that have information about your business.

You can register your business with Google at the Google Local Business Center. The registration requires that you authenticate your business information by providing a phone number for them to confirm your information with, or an address where they can mail you information.

It can take a number of weeks for the registration to take effect, but it allows you to verify a correct address, and include other information, such as days the business is open, business hours, types of payments taken. If your business has more than one location, you can manage them from a single account.

You can also offer coupons for customers to print out and use through Google Maps.

If you sign up with Google Local Business Center, let us know how it goes.


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