How to Claim and Enhance Your Free Business Listing on Google Maps

If you have a physical address you can claim your “bricks and mortar” business location and gain a lot of free advertising space on Google Maps – add up to 10 pictures and 5 videos.

First things first… every small and large business needs to set up a Gmail account. Why? <— stop now, go back and click that link and read why.

Your Gmail account will be used to manage all of your business interests. So, it could and should just as well be your.name@gmail.com because very soon you will probably want to tie into your Personal Profile appearing in Google Social Search results, just out of the Labs and into Beta – connecting much of your social footprint (Picasa Web Albums and Flickr, Blogger, Twitter, Facebook) – with all of your future YouTube video listings, your Google Adwords accounts, etc..

Google Social Search results

Once your Gmail is set up, you must confirm the ownership of your business in the Business Center – this will require you to be at the actual business phone listed in your Google Map listing in order to answer a validation phone call from Google. Here’s a step-by -step:

Open your Gmail account, look in the upper right corner for:
stephen.kastner@gmail.com
| | Settings | Help | Sign out

Choose Settings and on the next page look at the main row of horizontal tabs:

General |Accounts and Import |Labels |Filters |Forwarding and POP/IMAP | etc. | etc.

Choose Accounts and Import and scroll to the bottom of the new page to select Google Account settings and look for Local Business Center then choose Add new listing

Fill in the listing and watch as Google finds you on their map…
Add in a domain-based e-mail address like info@yourdomain.com
Write the description carefully using specific key words (200 character cap).
Choose 5 categories… (the maximum allowed, but try to take them all) finding ones that come up in Google’s autofill.

When you are done, follow through to Claim this Listing – if Google found you.
The next part is the validation where you must be at the Business phone and online. You will get an instant call from Google to the Business Phone number listed. They will speak a pin number that you must add back into your new listing… the “by mail’ option takes weeks and will slow the process way down, so please do not even consider it.

Do this for any businesses you may have…

Then, you can continue building and maintaining a greater Google Business presence, listening to the talk and responding at once to what your customers are saying.