Synopsis — With the release of Universal Search, claiming the Google Maps listing for your business became more important than ever. This is because for local-based searches, Google will put together a small map showing the location of related businesses in the general area of the user (as calculated by IP address and other clues). Since the map also shows links to listings for a number of the businesses on the map, if you have not claimed your listing, you may be missing out on traffic to your site that is not only free, but usually highly relevant and motivated.
Tom Dahm, in “Optimize Your Site’s Google Map Listing To Put It On The Right Track,” discusses the importance of not just claiming your listing, but ensuring it is complete, accurate, and optimized. This is not just vital to take advantage of the benefits of universal search, but to avoid having a spammer (or even a competitor in some cases) steal your listing. Map spammers can do a lot of damage – anything from posting erroneous information about your business to leading users to links that go to spammy sites – because a casual visitor to your listing will not necessarily twig to the fact that it has been compromised, affecting their opinion of our business.
Dahm details how to correct and avoid errors in your listing and talks of five ways to optimize it:
1. Keywords in business name
2. Keywords in business description
3. Online reviews
5. Proximity to search location
A Google Maps listing is an extremely valuable, free online resource that every business owner needs to take the time to claim and optimize. This article will help you get started on the process.
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