Google added a self-service update tool to its local search product, which allows businesses to create, edit or suspend their companies’ listings on Google Local.
The Google Local Business Center is available to all businesses in the United States, whether or not they currently are listed in Google’s index. Users can make changes to the business listings online, then Google will mail a personal identification number (PIN) to the business address to confirm the requested changes.
Businesses can add information like address, phone number, hours of operation, type of cuisine, payment accepted, Web site and email.
The feature is something that competitors like Yahoo and America Online have included in their local offerings for some time. Amazon.com’s A9 also allows businesses to edit their listings in its local product. Yahoo goes a step further by offering what it calls “enhanced listings” for $9.95 a month, which include a tagline, links to the business’ Web site and up to ten photographs.
Google has been steadily enhancing its local search offering since launching a year ago. Recent moves include integration with Google Maps, and the addition of reviews of businesses and expanded business information, such as hours of operation, payment types accepted, WiFi availability, restaurant menus, or hotel amenities.
Local search results include advertising that can be targeted by region, city or neighborhood through Google’s AdWords program.