You have a new business… perhaps a bar, a coffee shop, or maybe a GIS consulting firm! Regardless of the business type, if you have a brick and mortar presence then you need to get your business listed.
This is particularly important if you’d like to have your business turn up in local search results from such services as Google Maps, Mapquest, Yelp, and the many other local search resources on the web. Chances are good that your business may already be listed in some POI databases and directories, however, as the business owner wouldn’t you rather be charged with taking control of what information is being conveyed about your business to potential clients or customers?
The following are a few places where any business owner should start and make sure they have accurate and current listings.
- Google business listings – One popular database used as a starting point for many applications is Google’s business listings. Linked to a user’s Google Account, this resource enables business owners to add a free listing for their business. Many other apps and services will scrape the google listings are create Mashups using their DB so being listed here is a crucial first step. List your business at http://www.google.com/local/add/
Another way to search/claim your business is via Google Maps. Search for teh listing, when it appears look for the claim this business link. As the owner you can claim the listing enabling you to add a detailked description, photos and much more – every business owner HAS to own their listing with Google!
- Citysearch – A popular online database of business listings. The company also makes their database available to application developers, meaning that listings within the DB are not only available for users consuming the citysearch service, but developers are building apps that pull data from the CitySearch holdings. Get started at http://www.citysearch.com and look for the Merchant MyAccount resource
- Mapquest maintains a resource of "yellow page listings" – You can submit a new MapQuest Yellow Pages business listing by going to our Directory Listing Information page. Any information you submit will be verified by our data provider, infoUSA. Get started at http://list.infousa.com/dbupdate.htm
- Yelp – For the business owner interested in advertising or offering coupons or discounts to foursquare users there is a business owner resource with more information. Use this to describe your business, manage reviews and more. See http://www.yelp.com/business/unlocking.
- Navteq maintains a resource at https://mapreporter.navteq.com/dur-web-external/ where users can provide information about updates, ommissions, or errors in the Navteq map database. Additionally, business owners can add details of their business to a POI database. In addition to adding contact information, owners can ensure the address is correct, leave a comment, and upload photos.
- Where is another fine local search resource with business listings. WHERE offers merchants a fine resource where they can search out and claim their business. Once they’ve done so users can access tools and resources to promote their business, reach the WHERE community of 4 million+ users, and even have an instant mobile webpage for their business See http://www.where.com/merchants
- GoWalla offers business owners a chance to take ownership and claim their location. Add your own greeting, message or special offer that is displayed when a person checks in at your location on Gowalla. Create custom passport stamps, offer deals and discounts or much more. See http://gowalla.com/business
- Foursquare – Like social media in general, businesses are still trying to figure out why social media, why foursquare and how to capitalize on it and leverage the apps and services into $$. From my perspective, business owners, at the very least, need to take over ownership of their information and listings and providing accurate information about their business to the users. Foursquare (and other social apps) offer tools and analytics to business owners and these need to be used. Get Started at http://foursquare.com/business/
- Nokia / Ovi Maps – You can’t forget about Ovi maps, particularly if you have a brick and mortar business! To add a business simply condusct a search using maps.ovi.com. When you locate it you’ll notice that a "claim this business" option if provided. Follow the instructions and claim. Also, if you happen to have captured great photos of your business (or anyone for that matter) you can upload and associate your photos with a business POI and it will turn up in the search results along with other info about the place.
- facebook Places – Business owners should not only own a facebook page but they should also investigate how to offer local deals and offers to customers via facebook Places. To start, create a page, claim it, then follow instructions. From facebook… At the bottom left side of your Place there will be a link that says "Is this your business?" Click on the link and you will be directed to a claiming flow. See also this FAQ http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=1154
Even More Places to List…
Bing Business Portal – add or claim your business with Bing to increase your visibility with the search giant. See http://www.bing.com/businessportal
Microsoft Photosynth / Bing Maps – Microsoft has a terrific mobile app called Photosynth. USing the app users can capture 360 degree photo panoramas then upload to Bing maps and share. What’s really cool for businesses is the built-in ability to associate the images with a business – imagine creating a panoramic shot like a 360 degree tour inside a coffee shop then sharing it with the World on Bing Maps! Photosynth enables you to easily accomplish this and more. See more in this detailed article
Panoramio – if you’ve ever searched for a business using google maps you’ve likely noticed photos turning up along with some listings. Every business owner should not only make sure they claim their business listing with Google but they should also include photos of the business to appear along with the listing when customers search via Google.
Truvo is a directory of businesses used by the likes of NAVTEQ. Truvo provides efficient local search and advertising through a comprehensive range of print, online, telephone and mobile channels. See more info at http://info.truvo.com