By Alex Yvonnou—If you’ve used Google Maps, Bing Maps, or Yahoo Maps, you’re aware that you can find businesses by entering queries directly in the search bar. Did you know that you can add your signing agent listing for free? Because these listings come up on the top of the page for search results, even before any website listings, I think it’s a critical part of an online marketing strategy.

After I had my Google business listing for a year, I recently realized that my listing wasn’t coming up near the top for several local searches. So I spent some time researching the factors involved in the various business rankings. Map sites don’t use the same criteria to rank listings as search engines do for websites.

Once you have a listing, one of the main factors that affect your ranking is having a listing in your local Yellow Book directory. Personally, I’ve had a business listing in the past with little results although others have had some success. If you don’t want to pay for a listing, being listed in local online directories can still accomplish the goal of raising your exposure and ranking.

Even if you don’t have a listing with Google, Bing or Yahoo business pages, you still want to be in your local directories. I was surprised to see that local directories were tremendously underutilized for notaries in my area. You can add your business to,,, and They’re all free. It’s important that your listings are all consistent. They should have the same title and the same information. This way, Google Maps and others will recognize that it’s the same business. Fill in as much information as possible. The more complete the better. And choose the right category. All of the directories I’ve mentioned had a specific category for notaries.

Cumbrowski Internet Marketing has an in depth list of local sites and links to articles on increasing local exposure. Small Business SEM and Blizzard Internet Marketing both have info on how to rank better in Google Maps.