Google Business Center & Google Local (Better than the Phone Book)


Whenever you search Google for some type of business near a certain area, not only does it query its usual web results and AdWords database, it also queries its Google Local database.

Google’s Local Business Center Listings are the information that appears when someone search Google, Google Maps, Mobile, or Google 411. And that information, which can fill the same purpose of an ad, is absolutely free.

You may be wondering why Google gives this away for free? When asked this question, John Hanke, president of Google Earth, responded “It makes our search results more accurate.” Google’s goal, Hanke explained, is to be the source of people’s information. To do that, Google needs reliable data.

If you are like many businesses, you may be paying a hefty price for an ad in yellow pages. But if someone uses Google/Google Maps, or calls 800-GOOG411 for information instead of the Yellow pages (and ask anyone under 35 when the last time they used Yellow Pages was), they may find the name of your company, a little bit of info, and next to it, the words “More Info.” Google gathers as much as they can about business from many sources, but that information may be inaccurate or out of date.

If your information is displayed in Google Local already, why not take control of it? And if not, why not get your information up there?

To start, go to “Claim your listing if your business is listed or add it if not. To confirm that you are actually the business owner, Google with either call you or send you a postcard (you get to choose which). You’ll be given a PIN number (write it down) and then can edit your company information.

You can choose a number of categories to describe your listing and make it more likely for searchers to find you. If your a graphic designer, you might choose categories such as “graphic designer,” “web designer,” “marketing collateral.”

We would recommend at least every business owner add at least this basic amount of information. You can also add photos (of logos, products, services, your datacenter, etc), coupons, products, services, etc.

Google’s Business Center provides you with a dashboard to see how people are finding your listing. It shows where people are coming from – figuratively, and literally. You can see which keywords people use to locate you, and where they are searching from geographically.

This services is almost getting a free AdWords ad, so take advantage of it ASAP.


Cory is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from Eastern Connecticut State University. Cory is skilled in XHTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, C/C++, and Objective-C. Cory has extensive knowledge of open source software, and participates in the development of well-known software projects, such as Mozilla Firefox and Drupal.

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