At our Business Tips training day, one of the questions that came up was: "How do you get your business listed in Google Maps so that it stands a better chance of coming near the top in searches.?"
I've done a bit of digging.
As far as I can work out you need to:
1) Get a free Google Account.
2) Use your free Google Account Gmail Address to get listed in Google Places.
You can get a free Google Account by signing up for a free Gmail Email address (at mail.google.com). You don't have to use that email address, but that address becomes your entry into the wonderful world of Google's other things (such as free online storage with Google Drive).
Here's how to get your listing:
1) Visit Google Places (www.google.com/places/). Please read the Google Places quality guidelines and Local listings content policy prior to creating your single listing. If you already have a Google Account, sign in with your email and password. If you don't have a Google Account, click Sign up for an account now, or go straight to the sign-up page. Google Places accounts are not transferable, so if you are planning to share this account with other users, create a Google account that you would not mind sharing with others.
2) On Google Places homepage, click Add new business. On the “Find your business” tab, search for your business by phone number to see if Google already has information about your business. Select the country of your business location from the drop-down. Enter the phone number of your business listing. Click Find business information. Review the search results, if any, to see if one of them describes your business.
3) If none of the results are related to your business, you will be prompted to add business information on the Edit Details page. If none of the results is your business, click Add a new listing. You'll be prompted to add more information on the next page. Fill out the basic information about your business.
This includes: Company/Organization: This is the official/registered name of your business. Some businesses may be located within a mall or a container store, which is a store that contains another business. If your business is within a container store or mall, and you'd like to include this information in your listing, specify the container store in parentheses in the business name field. For example, Starbucks (inside Safeway).
Address (required): The address should look exactly the way you'd write it on a standard mailing envelope. If you are a service-area business, you'll be able to hide your address in a few steps. We recommend listing suite numbers in Address Line 2.
Phone Number (required): Be sure to include the area code with your phone number.
Website: Your website URL can be a maximum of 255 characters. Click Next.You'll now have the opportunity to provide the following information about your business: Categories: Enter several categories to describe your business, to make it easier for others to find when they search Google. Google will automatically suggest categories as you type. Make sure you choose one Google-suggested category before adding customizable categories. You can enter up to 5 categories for your business.
Hours of operation: Select your hours of operation using the dropdown menus. If would prefer not to specify your hours of operation, keep the radio button selected next to “I prefer not to specify operating hours.”
Payment options: Select the checkboxes next to the payment methods that your business accepts.
Photos: Use the photo uploader to add a photo from your computer, or specify a URL to add a photo from the web. You can add up to 10 photos to your listing. Photos will appear in order of greatest size and quality. To learn more about adding photos, check out the User Guide.
Video: To add a video, upload it to YouTube and copy and paste the URL to your Places listing. You can add up to 5 videos to your listing. For help with uploading your video to YouTube, read the article on how to upload a video in the YouTube Help Center.
Additional details: Use this section to add custom information fields to your listing. For example, parking availability, or whether your business allows pets.
4) You can preview your listing as it will appear in Maps on the right side of your screen. New information will appear in the preview as you enter it.
When you’re satisfied with your listing, click Submit at the bottom of the page.
5) Choose how you would like to verify your listing and click Finish. Once you've submitted your business information, you'll be asked to verify it before it goes live. We allow a maximum of 100 listings per account for manual verification. You can see your local business listing live on Google by signing into your Google Places account and clicking See your listing on Google. This link will take you to your actual Place Page, as seen by users.