Bakersfield companies would be wise to take advantage of adding a map listing in Google’s Local Business Center (LBC). It’s currently free and an easy way to give your company more exposure on the Internet when it comes to mapped searches. In addition, Google has other new and innovating uses of this data which will help your company stay up-to-date with emerging search technologies.
Google LBC made adding a listing very simple. You’ll need a Google account to sign-up, and if you do not already have one, I highly recommend it. You’ll never receive spam and it allows you to take advantage of all the other great Google apps, such as Documents and Spreadsheets, Gmail, and Calendar.
After initially submitting your company’s location information, LBC will attempt to match it with a listing already in its database. If it’s not listed, choose the my “business doesn’t appear here” at the bottom of the page. If your business is listed make sure you verify the information and map location of your company. LBCA also gives you the option to change the map marker location if it’s not right on.
Next, regardless if you are editing an existing listing or creating a new one, take advantage of choosing categories and custom attributes which are specific to your business. Google allows you to choose up to five categories and attributes, and the choices are very detailed. These categories and attributes will correspond with Google’s search results. And if in the future you find these are not generating any contacts, you can go back and choose others.
Another neat option of LBC is adding a custom coupon to your map listing. The coupon link appears alongside your listing on Google maps. The coupon is very customizable and allows you to include an offer code, set an expiration date, and even specify which locations the coupon can be used.
Once you submit and approve your map listing, Google validates it by sending you a postcard with a specific PIN number and instructions on how to activate your listing. After you receive the postcard, log back into LBC and enter the PIN in the box next to the listing. Google then informs you of the approximate update cycles as to listings–at this writing it was approximately four weeks.
And knowing Google, there are certainly going to be future innovations using this data. One area that is very promising and becoming more usable is search results via cell phones. Although it didn’t appear to be a Google map, during the recent iPhone demonstration demonstration, Steve Jobs showed how he could search for Starbucks in the local area, and using a map he called a specific location at the touch of his finger.
Map search results via cell phone may not be everyday technology yet, but it’s obviously on the horizon. And if Google becomes a frontrunner in this area, a listing in LBC will make your business even more accessible.
Google’s LBC is a great resource for any company that wants to increase mapped-based search results of their business and services. With mapping becoming more and more popular, and upcoming innovations on the horizon, it’s a no brainer for any local business to take advantage of a Google maps listing.