I’m about a bit late on this (welcome to my life), but I thought it was important enough to still warrant a mention. It was announced in the Google Maps forums and on Search Engine Roundtable that, as of last week, business owners will be able to see a Maps link for every one of their businesses listed in the Local Business Center via their personal dashboards. According to Google, the feature is designed to help business owners to easily find their listings on Google Maps.
It’ll look something like this:
[screenshot lovingly taken from Mike Blumenthal]
It’s not a particularly shiny update, but it should be helpful to a lot of small business owners who before had problems locating listings once they were published and would post threads in the forum asking for help. It’s also a good way for business owners to keep track of their business listings if they have multiples, as well as serving as a constant reminder to update your business information if it’s not accurate.
There was a minor bit of confusion when it was found that some of the links in the “See your listing on Google Maps” section didn’t actually go anyway. Mike Blumenthal noted that he had seen and heard cases where a business listing appeared to be missing without a way to bring it up via the engines. There doesn’t seem to be a clear answer as to what’s going on there. If you find that your site isn’t showing up in the Local Business Center, you should definitely seek help in the Google Forums. It’s possible you accidentally hit off some type of filter and are being penalized. Of course, it may also be nothing, as one business owner in the Google Maps forum thought she had “lost” her listing, when in fact, she hadn’t.
Obviously, anything that can help small business owners manage their local listings is a good thing. The engines rely very heavily on this information for ranking so it can’t really be stated enough how important it is that it’s both correct and consistent. Hopefully, the new addition from Google will allow SMB owners to not only ensure their information is accurate, but to locate their listings once they’re live and on the Web. A nice add from Google.