How and Why to Claim your Business on Google
Google just announced on 4/6/2009 that they were becoming more focused on (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/google-becomes-more-local.html )local searches! and what they mean by this is that they will be adding more of the “Onebox Results” into the regular Google searches. In the past, you might have seen these “Onebox Results” when you searched for a business and a specific area like “Redlands hair stylist”. It would generate a list of the top 10 locally ranked businesses, with their phone number, website address, number of reviews and a link to more information. With this new change, these type of “Onebox Results” will actually be showing up in more and more searches. Now when you search for a term like “real estate agent” then mixed into your search results you will see a resulting “Onebox” list of businesses based off your current I.p. address.
You can get your business, as a Realtor or as a brokerage listed in these results, giving you additional search engine exposure! This makes claiming your local profile even more important than ever!
Staking A Claim in Local Search
Google wants to make sure that it lists only valid businesses who have some type of geographic central location for their services. Local search results don’t include online services like e-commerce or blogging.
So here are the steps you need to verify yourself with Google local. First go to http://www.igoogle.com and sign up for an Igoogle account. You don’t have to use a Gmail account, you can use your existing email address for this process. Once you’re signed in, then go to the ( Link http://www.google.com/local/add) Google Local Business Center , Click Add new listing, and then input your basic business information on the first page.
If you are an individual realtor, and not a brokerage, it is acceptable to register yourself as something like “John Doe Neopolis Real Estate Agent”. On the next page, you’ll enter in what categories are related to your business ( Real estate consultant, real estate agency, Realtor), enter your operating hours and specialties.
I strongly recommend uploading as many images related to your business as possible, both of yourself, your office and your city to flesh out your profile. It is also possible add actual videos to your local listing. You should know it has been shown that adding Youtube videos to your profile actually increases your chances of being contacted through your listing, so it may be worth looking into as an option.
Verification and Optimization Once you submit that information Google will use one of two methods to verify your business. Either they will give you a pin code, and call you on your listed business phone number, or they will send you a post card with a pin to verify the account.
Shortly after you verify, you will be available to be listed in Local Search results! Now to get better placement in local search, Google will look around to sites like Yellowpages.com, Yelp.com, insiderpages.com and see if you’re listed, and if you have any reviews. If you do, then it will pull them into your profile and increase your chances of being listed high in local search and get the benefit of additional visitors to your site.