There are many advantages to getting your business on Google Maps which includes but not limited to the following:
> It's Free.
> Helps Customers Find Your Physical Location.
> Better Search Visibility.
> Displays Useful Information.
> Another Communication Channel.
> Gain Customer Insight.
> Track Website Traffic and Audience.
According to Google, one out of every five searches is related to a location and Google Maps is an improved search facility that focuses on this aspect. If you are a small business targeting local customers rather than a global audience, using Google Maps is one of the best things you could do for the growth of your business. If you aren’t already using this service from Google, it is highly recommended you consider it for your business.
Google Maps was formerly known as Google Places. It is now part of the Google My Business dashboard – that aids managing and tracking your online presence across Google’s various platforms including Google Local (Google Maps), Google+, Google Analytics and Adwords.
There are two methods so far to adding your business on Google Maps.
> Google My Business method - *requires verification
> Local Google Maps method - *doesn't require verification
This post focuses on the first method:
For already existing established businesses, chances are your business already exists in the Google My Business directory and you’ll just need to claim it. Whether you are a new business or existing business, the process is the same.
Adding or Claiming Your Business on Google My Business
> Click “Start Now”
You will be directed to gmail login page if you are not logged in already.
2. Enter Your Business Name and Address in the Search Box.
3. Select or Add Your Business.
Click on your business listing if it appears among the suggested matches. If not select “Add your Business”, and provide the necessary information.TIP: Determine how you want your business Name-Address-Phone Number (NAP) to appear across the web and use that NAP here (i.e. Will you spell out S-t-r-e-e-t, or use St.?) The address that you use here should become your default address across the web. Consistency is important.
As you answer questions, remember that the more specific and accurate the information Google has about your business, the better it will be able to correctly classify and display your business listing.
Near the bottom of the form, you will be asked to choose a Category that describes your business.
The category selection is very important as it is essentially the way Google will classify your business, and the type of search query it will display your listing for.
Google has preset Categories, or keywords, for each industry. Start typing your keyword in to see if Google produces a match, then select the best one. You will get a chance to add more categories later on (up to 5).
4. Verify Your Business
Google will want to verify that your business is located where you say that it is. This usually means waiting 1-2 weeks for a postcard with a verification PIN.
Occasionally you’ll be given the option to receive your PIN by text message or or automated phone call – take it – it’s much faster and easier!
TIP: If you do have to wait on a postcard, remind anyone that handles the mail to be on the lookout for it, then try to verify it as soon as you get it (you have 30 days). You’d be surprised how often businesses have to go through the verification process 2 or 3 times because someone threw the postcard away or forgot to use it once they received it.
5. Confirm your Business. Set up a Google+ Page.
Setting up your Google My Business page is the first step in Local Search Optimization, and should be a high priority for all businesses hoping to be found online.