Now that I've told you how to use Google Coupons to market your small business, I realize that I haven't bothered to tell you how to update your business listings on Google Maps and Google Local. Since it's hard to get the egg without the chicken (and vice versa) here's a quick tutorial on customizing your information on your Google Maps listing.

FIrst you'll need to head to the Google Local Business Center. By default, this page allows you to update your business listing, though you can also suspend it or add a new business listing.

To add information, you'll want to click on "Edit my business listing".

The first screen allows you to enter all of the standard information about your business. The address, the contact information, a business description, and your web site address. You can also put in a request to have a Google Maps marker moved...handy if the spot marking your Burger King franchise sits over top of the KFC next door.

On the next page, you'll need to select the categories that best describe your business. You can add up to five categories, so it's a good idea to check and see if there are a few different categories that fit. In this instance, I listed Dairy Queen style place under "ice cream," "fast food" and "sandwiches."

This next screen allows you to set your hours of operation and to list the types of payment methods you accept. Note that you can set split hours if you're closed for part of the day and you can also specify that you are closed on certain days of the week.

The next step is to upload photos of your business. You can upload up to ten pictures, though you'll want to first check to make sure that the photos comply with Google's guidelines. It's generally a good idea to make sure you have some varied shots of your business. If you run a restaurant, you might want to have shots of your exterior and your dining area along with shots of a few of your most popular dishes.

On the final page, you can set up or manage your coupons. (Which is why it would be handy to read my article on Google Coupons if you haven't already.)

Once you've finished all of these steps, you'll need to provide validation that you are who you say you are. (Can't have you setting bad prices or coupons for a competitor, now can they?) As you can see from the image below, the fastest way to do this is by phone, but you can also opt to have them send you a postcard.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.

June 22, 2007

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

Search Engine Guide > Jennifer Laycock > Updating Your Google Maps Business Listing