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Have you always wanted your business and web site listed at near the top of Google's search results? Like to be there on Yahoo and Bing too? If so, follow these simple instructions.

Google Maps & Google Places , Yahoo Local and  Bing Maps are the 21st century yellow pages for computer savvy people and businesses.  If your business isn't already listed find out how in this blog post. 

On their regular search pages searches that end with ", City State" should start with those business listed on their maps product!

If you haven't used them click one each and enter "Restaurants,  Woodinville WA" and you will see most of the restaurants in town. Try "Adult Family Homes" and other services to see how good these tools are. Each has some way to set the default area to the town or city where you work, live or search the most.  If people type a request into Goggle normal search and end it with comma city WA; they often get the maps sites FIRST. Wow what a great way to get your business at the top of Google et al for FREE.

These tools are free to both the person searching for a service and the businesses. They rely in part on the business owners entering their own data, and in part by searching web pages.  It is best that business owners enter their own data and check that the list works once or twice a year. Each requires that you have an account with them for authentication. Be sure to save the account information (username & password) because you will need it to update your listing in the future. All are free for the basic listing, which includes name, address, phone, description, link to web site, photos and more. Each will try to sell you advanced services which you usually don't need. 

The process of getting listed takes about 10-15 minutes each if you follow these instructions. Google and Bing send a postcard to your business address to confirm the information prior to making it public. After you get the postcard you have to go back on the web and enter the PIN from the postcard. Since Google is currently the most popular (68%) search engine start with it.  All of these sites allow for people to write reviews. Request a couple of your customers to write reviews, Your listing always looks better with 5 stars next to it.

Besides your name, address and phone information you will want to have a one paragraph description of your business. Also you will need the exact URL of your website (like www.AgingSafely.com) so that you can enter them in the forms.

Steps for Getting Listed at Google Maps

  1. First you need an account at Google. Usually this is a Gmail account. If you already have one - use it. If not, then get one. You don't have to use it for mail.  Go to Create A Google Account  fill in the form and create your account. Remember the accounts username and password since you will need this when creating or updating your Google Maps entry.
  2. Go to http://www.google.com/local/add/businessCenter?gl=us&hl=en-US  Fill in the listing information for your Adult Family Home. If you have multiple homes you can do them all. When you are done entering the data you have to choose how Google will verify that you are the business owner. You may choose phone or postcard.  Google will use either the phone number or address that you listed for the business to contact you to verify the listing. You will be given a PIN number.
  3. Categories -- Google has many categories and but none for AFHs. "Assisted Living Facility" is the best match I have found in their list for an Adult Family Home.  Since you can add "custom categories" I would also add "Adult Family Home".
  4.  After you get the PIN number, go to www.google.com/local/add login with your Google account from step one and provide the PIN for the each pending listing update. Note: If you choose to have the PIN phoned to you, Google appears to call you at your listed number within seconds of you submitting the data. Therefore you must be at the number and ready to right it down.
  5. Future updates can be made by going to your listing and clicking on "Update Listing" after you are signed in to your Google Account. You may have to go thru the verify process again.

 

Steps for Getting Listed on Bing's Maps

We will update this post when better information on Bing is available.

  1. You need Windows Live Id
  2. Go to the Local Listing Center and fill in the forms
  3. Live has a verification process similar to Google with and ID. You will be notified of the ID and have to go back here and enter it when you receive it.

Steps for Getting Listed at Yahoo Local

  1. You need a Yahoo ID to sign up for a Yahoo Local listing Go to here to sign up. You do need a valid email address to receive your confirmation message,
  2. After you have your Yahoo ID, go to http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com/local/lbl.php to Sign up for Yahoo Local's free basic listing.
  3. Yahoo doesn't appear to have a confirmation process at this time, so your listing will show up in a week or so.
  4. To update your listing at Yahoo; find it via Yahoo Local Search and click on Edit this Listing, while you are logged in via your Yahoo ID. 

 

Limitations

There is one important limitation to these services. That is that you will show up only in the area near your "business address." This means that if your business covers the entire state of Washington and your only physical location is in Woodinville Washington, you may show up well when someone looks for your services on Seattle's East side, but not well in Spokane, Vancouver, Richland and other places farther away.  However, these are great free services for local businesses.

 

Dave Snow

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