Thursday, January 15, 2009 | 7:18 AM
Does your business own bricks-and-mortar locations that you would like people to find easily on Google Maps and Google Maps for mobile? If you run a restaurant, a retail store, a hotel, a spa, or anything with a physical address, then there are a number of steps you can take to make it easier for people to find your business on Google Maps.
When you do a search for chicken rice on Google Maps, you see two types of results. The results represented by red markers indicate listings that have been provided by a content partner or has been verified through the Local Business Centre. Results represented by blue markers indicate listings taken from user-generated content such as My Maps and KML files.
So I hear you asking "what can I do to ensure that my businesses appear accurately on Google Maps?" Here are 3 things that you can do.
Claim your listings. Listings for your businesses may often appear from sources such as a business listings directory or a restaurant reviews aggregator. You can take ownership of these listings even though they originated from another source. Simply click on the pin marker, click on "Edit", and then click on "Claim your business". You will then be taken through steps to verify that you are the true owner of this business.
Add your listings. Add your listings through the Local Business Centre (LBC). Currently, LBC is available in the following Asia-Pacific markets: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan. LBC will be rolled out across more markets gradually. Start off by creating an account at the Local Business Centre. You can either add listings individually or add them in bulk if you have more than 10 locations.
Create and share My Maps. My Maps are personalised, annotated, customised maps using Google Maps. You can place annotated placemarks, lines, and shapes on a map; and then share that map with others by making it public or distributing a link.
There you have it, 3 simple steps to making your locations more visible on Google Maps. If you are more technically inclined, you can also submit your geo content using a KML file.
Have you already got a My Map for your locations? Please share them with us in the comments below. We would also love to hear about your experiences with Google Maps and the Local Business Centre.
Update: Local Business Centre is now available in Thailand. Thai businesses can get started here.