Getting listed in Google maps and Yahoo! local is fairly simple. In fact many local business may find that they are already listed. If not, or if an existing listing needs to be edited just follow these steps:
How to register with Google Maps: Go to maps.google.com, you'll see a link in the left hand column that says "Add or Edit your business: Learn More." Simply fill out the form and your business will appear in map searches.
If your business is already listed, but the information is out of date, you can click the "add or edit your business" link and submit changes. Google will hold these edits until it confirms you are the business owner by sending a postcard to the existing address. The postcard contains a confirmation code. When you receive it, go back to your listing in maps.google.com and return to the edit screen and enter the code.
How to register with Yahoo! Local: Go to local.yahoo.com and scroll to the bottom of the page to click "Add a Business." You'll need to set up a Yahoo! account before you can enter your business information. You can also edit your listings through a Yahoo! user account.
Registering with other map sites: The other local engines use sources like InfoUSA for their business data. These sources use telephone directories for their databases, so directly updating these sources is not possible--just make sure your phonebook listing is correct and they should correct themselves in time.
Registering is the easy part, but once you're registered you need to start thinking about what your customers want to do when they see your listing in these places. The first thing they'll likely want to do is check out your website.
In a traditional print Yellow Pages ad it's helpful to offer a website as a means for consumers to get more information--helpful, but not essential. A listing on Google Maps or Yahoo! Local, on the other hand, almost always requires a website. After all, if you were looking for a gymnastics studio online, wouldn't you check out the ones with websites before the ones without? The days when a website was an optional luxury for a small local company are over. Now it's essential.
If a small business website is essential, what kind of website should a small local business (with a small budget) have? Let's review the essentials.