Google's Local Business Center
Google’s Local Business Center is one of the easiest ways someone can find you. If you haven’t registered your business with Google, you’re doing yourself a major disservice.
Not quite sure what the Local Business Center is? Here’s a little LBC 101…
Go to Google. Search your business name your city your state. For JLB, the search would be “jlb, franklin, tn.” What pops up is a little map, our address and phone number. See pic to the left. Pretty nifty, huh?!
Okay. Now, try this search. Enter your area of business (area of expertise), city state. For JLB, a search would be “website design franklin, tn” (or “web design franklin tn” or “graphic design franklin tn”). What pops up is different! Looking at our search, we show up, letter C, nestled near the top amidst the sea of other companies that offer similar services. (ALSO NOTE: We’re #2 in the organic search, just below. That’s attributable to our site’s strong SEO, search engine optimization.)
Where did your company pop up? Was it on the list? Chances are either (a) your company is not listed OR (b) it is listed, but there is some piece of information that is amiss… like the wrong address, incorrect phone number, no operating hours, or no link to your website.
How do you get control over your business listing in Google? It’s actually pretty easy, takes less than five minutes and is FREE!
1. Sign up with Google. Go to Google Accounts. Enter an e-mail, a password and set up a Google Account. Goog will send you a confirmation e-mail with a link. You should get that within 10 seconds of setting up your account. Open the e-mail, click the link and viola! your Goog account is activated.
2. Log into your new Google account, then in a Google search, type in “Local Business Center.” This will take you to a sign up page. Enter your business name, address, phone, fax, web, etc. Sometimes, Goog recognizes your address and gives you an option to “Claim This Listing.” Sometimes, it actually posts a listing that is your old address. And sometimes, it has no record of any address. If the listing is not 100% accurate, do not claim it. Go aheand and “Enter a New Listing.”
3. Once you have done this, you will be asked to verify your listing. You have two chioces: telephone or postcard. If you are sitting in your office, go the telephone route. Just click “Verify by Telephone” and Google will call you within seconds. It’s an automated call, follow the instructions and enter the Verification PIN Number. Then, boom! you’re verified.
4. Within 24 hours, your listing will be active in Google Maps and in the Local Business Center.
What else can you do with the Local Business Center? You can obtain reviews from customers, post photos, create coupons, update your contact information, give details about your payment methods, and offer general service descriptions. Most importantly, by creating and updating your listing, you keep Google in the loop with your latest business info. And, after all, who better to broadcast your business’ most current information?!