How to get your information into Google Maps (4): Local Business Center

In the previous article in the ‘how to get your information into Google Maps’ series I talked about the 3rd party sources Google is using for their data on Google Maps. After reading this article you’re ready to get your hands dirty and start adding your own business information by using the Local Business Center.

General

Let’s start with some general information about the Local Business Center.

The Local Business Center is a tool for business owners to maintain their business information in Google Maps. You can add your address, contact information, a description, opening hours, payment types, etc.

In the US you can also directly edit the information already listed on the Map, in Canada and the UK you have to contact the original source of the data. In the Netherlands I couldn’t find an option to edit the existing information.

Depending on the country you’re in, it can take a while before your information will show up in the search results. More about this later on.

How to use the business center?

Before you can use the business center you need a Google Account. Go to the Local Business Center. If you already have an account, make sure you’re logged in. Otherwise you can create an account on this page.

If you’re in the US and want to change the information already listed on the map, go to maps.google.com and find your business. At the bottom of the ‘more info’ page you’ll find a link add/edit Your Business.

If you want to create a new listing, go to the Local Business Center and click on the new listing link. You’ll get this form:

screenshot of the process of adding information

After you’ve added the basic information, you’ll be guided through a six steps process of adding your information.

1. Edit Listing – Here you can add additional information like mobile phone, email address, website, description, opening hours, etc. You can also correct the Marker if it wasn’t correctly placed on the map!

screenshot add additional information

2. Choose categories – Just fill in some categories for your company and Google tries to find the best match, or leave it empty and you can select categories from a list.

choose categories

There’s a maximum of five categories. You have to choose them carefully, because these will be used by Google to index your information.

select categories from a list

3. Custom Attributes – Depending on the categories you’ve chosen in the previous step, there will already be some custom attributes listed, eg Price Type, Areas Served. But you can also create your own.

add your own custom attributes

These attributes will be shown in your information on the map. I’m not sure whether or not this information will be used in the search.

4. Add Images – You can upload a maximum of ten images related to your business, eg your logo, pictures of the office, pictures of hotel rooms, etc.

add up to ten images

Be creative, because this can make your information more attractive than others without images.

5. Preview – This is the final preview, so take a careful look if all the information is correct. You can change information later on, but it’s better to have correct information listed from the start.

Don’t forget to read Google’s terms of services before clicking the ‘Continue’ button.

6. Listing Saved – Now all you can do is wait for the PIN to arrive by mail, ie a real postcard delivered by the postman 😉 This will take about 10 days in the US (maybe a fews days more outside the US).

note: there also appears to be a phone verification system in the US and Canada, but I haven’t tested it, so I can’t tell you how this works.

If you view your business information in the Local Business Center, the status will be something like ‘waiting for PIN verification’.

overview of the Local Business Center

If you get the PIN you can enter it and after this, you’ll have to wait a while (24 hours in the US, max 6 weeks in the Netherlands, not sure about other countries, probably somewhere in between) before the information appears in the search results.

Bulk upload

Since a few weeks there’s a new option to add information, bulk upload. This is very useful for businesses with many locations.

Very special about this option is there’s no PIN verification needed! The information will however take between hours an six weeks to appear into Google Maps.

Click on the ‘Upload a data file’ link to start. Here you can upload your file. There are three different types of files you can upload:

  1. Complete – a complete list of all businesses, will overwrite all previous information.
  2. Addition – list will be added, current listed businesses won’t be affected.
  3. Deletion – listed businesses will be deleted.

Here’s a comprehensive guide how to create the bulk files.

Problems

My own listing is still waiting on the next update and I’m curious what will happen with the information already listed. This information is from the Chamber of Commerce. Will there be two listings, maybe the Chamber of Commerce one will be delete, will they be merged? I guess I have to wait and see.

If you have questions or run into problems you can go to the Maps Help or ask your question in the Google Maps Help Group. You can also contact me (you can also use this contact form if you want to comment on this article).

This article was about how to get your business information into Google Maps for free. Next article will be about Google Maps and Adwords.

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