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Google Local Adds Self Serve Business LIstings

By - March 15, 2005

Googlocalbiz

I’ve taken jabs at Google for not doing what Yahoo does in the Local market, ie, allow local businesses to update their listings, and in particular, charging those businesses for premium services. Well, Google went halfway toward addressing that shortcoming with “Google Local Business Center,” a free listing service for all US businesses. The company stopped short of actually introducing a business model, though.

Text of email announcement is in extended entry.

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Today, Google announced the Google Local Business Center, a free tool for businesses to easily add or update their business listings that appear in Google Local. The Google Local Business Center is available for all businesses in the United States regardless of whether or not their listing already exists in Google Local.

To access this new feature, businesses must visit www.google.com/local/add and request that their Google Local business listing be added or edited. After completing the listing information, businesses will receive a mailer from Google with a PIN. The PIN is used to confirm their addition or requested changes to the Google Local business listing. Various information about a business can be added or edited including address, phone number, hours of operation, type of cuisine, payment accepted, website and email.

The Google Local Business Center enables businesses to more effectively reach consumers searching on Google Local with accurate, useful and up to date information about their business. By enabling businesses to easily add or edit information whenever they like, businesses do not have to worry about outdated content or publishing deadlines. Businesses do not need a website to add a business listing to Google Local through the Local Business Center.

With the addition of the Google Local Business Center, Google takes another step forward in helping users find the local information they need. Recently, Google announced enhancements to Google Local, including the integration of Google Maps. Google Local now also offers reviews of businesses and additional information about establishments such as hours of operation, payment types accepted, WiFi availability, restaurant menus, hotel amenities and more.

By combining traditional business listings with relevant information from Google’s index of more than 8 billion web pages, Google Local delivers local information that matches a user’s interest. This information is complemented by relevant advertising that can be targeted to reach customers in specific regions, cities or neighborhoods through local targeting features that are integrated directly into the Google AdWords advertising program.

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3 thoughts on “Google Local Adds Self Serve Business LIstings

  1. I just signed up our business with the Google Local listing. Interestingly enough, they mail (as in snail mail) you a letter with an activation code which you have to put in before your listing will appear on their site. This is after you’ve validated your email address by responding to an email from them. Yahoo Local, on the other hand, just ties in their listings with a Yahoo id, which is fairly anonymous. It seems like a valid marketing strategy may be to create a yahoo id and then start messing up your competitors’ listings. Yahoo may want to look into securing their listings a little more, although the snail mail confirmation may be a little much as well. Maybe a tie-in with D&B?

  2. Why can’t Google just license the database of the Yellow Pages. Not every store has a website, so youre not getting the true database of all merchants.
    There has to be a way they can combine forces and create a kick butt local search for both PC and mobile.
    I give my thoughts on this here

  3. Harry Wakefield says:

    Scott, Google does license yellow pages data. In the USA my guess is InfoUSA or Axciom data, in Canada (google.local.ca) they us Yellow Pages Group data (ypg.ca). IMHO, the real problem with free, or paid, listings in Google or Yahoo, is that a large portion of SMEs don’t use the internet to market their business. A lot of them are still focused offline. Consumers though are increasingly using local search to find these businesses. Thus, there’s an opportunity to bridge that gap but the economics aren’t interesting for traditional YP organizations that are used to 70%+ gross margins on the print. The margins aren’t the same on the web, especially when the largest local sites, Google and Yahoo, are “giving it away”.