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What’s that saying about the key to having a successful business is your location? Oh yeah, “location, location, location.” Location is definitely important. But after you’ve picked your perfect location, the next important thing is advertising your location.

The days of looking up a business in the Yellow Pages has gone the way of overhead projectors and parachute pants. Unless your customers are 50+ years of age, most people who look up a business go directly to a search engine. In fact, according to Google statistics, 97% of consumers search for local businesses online.

That’s why as a small business owner, you need to make sure your business is listed on Google Maps, which pulls it’s information from Google Places. Listing your business on Google means that when a customer searches for your business by name, your business listing will come up at the top of the results page with your address, phone number, a map, directions to your location and a link to your website.

This information is of course important to get people in your door. But for web search purposes, entering your listing is vital to extend your reach and your organic search results. Getting your business on Google Maps is also free, so there is no reason not to do it.

Here is a step-by-step guide showing you how to get your business listed on Google Maps, including a video.

Step 1: Check For Your Listing
If you haven’t already listed your business with an online database or with a traditional phone book service, it’s likely that your business isn’t already listed in Google. The first step is to pull up a Google search page and type in the name and location of your business, including the city and state. If your business isn’t listed, click on the Google Places link and follow the instructions to fill out your business profile. Note: If you don’t have a Google account, you’ll need to set one up before you can proceed.

Step 2: Filling Out Your Information
The first thing Google will ask for is your business phone number. If there is no address listed that is associated with your business profile, you will be prompted with a template of information to fill out about your business.

When filling out the information for your business, the first thing you want to do is double check that your address is correct and the icon on the map is pointing to the right location. If it’s not showing the right location, you can adjust it by dragging it to the correct spot on the map.

Fill in all of the basic vitals like business address, phone number, email address, website, description of the business and hours of operation.

Step 3: Add Categories
Next, Google will allow you to add up to five business categories describing your business. If the categories you would like to select don’t show up in the automated list, you can also add a category. Use this feature as a way to include keywords for your business.

Step 3: Add Photos
In addition to listing the basics of your business, you can also upload photos of your business through the Google Places website. Use this feature to share a picture of your storefront, your company logo or anything that you think will help bring more customers into your place of business. You can add up to 10 photos, so choose them wisely.

Step 4: Add Videos
To help enhance your listing, you can also add videos associated with your business. To do this, Google asks that you upload your videos on YouTube and then copy and paste the URL into their form on Google Places. You are allowed up to 5 videos.

Then select the submit button and your business is now listed in Google Places, as well as Google Maps.

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