Google has once again upped the anti on local search with the launch of Place Search in 40 languages worldwide.
This might not be breaking news for some of you, testing for this feature started in July this year. Basically, if you search query is location related, Google may show a map above the AdWords ads on the right, and then automatically include some local results within the organic results. Plus, they added a “Places” link on the left hand navigation bar in Google’s search results. Here is what we mean:
According to Google:
Today we’re introducing Place Search, a new kind of local search result that organizes the world’s information around places. We’ve clustered search results around specific locations so you can more easily make comparisons and decide where to go.
Place Search becomes active automatically when Google’s algorithm detects that a user is searching for local information. Google’s database will then group and list the corresponding local information on the search result page. The search result displayed on the page will be a combination of both local and organic results and will be seen as a red pin which will contain information such as contact number, address, and relevant links from across the web.
What does this mean for your business? If you don’t have a Google Places page, then it is time to get one! For those with a Google Places page, here are some important things to consider:
- Have a thumbnail of your logo: As you see from the image above, the thumbnail is very prominent on the Place Search results so it is the perfect opportunity to show your branding.
- Include plenty of details on your profile: The Google “7-pack” now becomes redundant, fully fleshed out Place Pages will assume much greater importance.
- Monitor your reviews: Reviews have become more important than ever. Reviews from Google users and other web sources (Yelp, CitySearch, Urbanspoon and Tripadvisor) show up in your places page listing and will determine your star rating which is given prime position in the Places Search results.
The launch of Places Search is sure to put a smile on the face of many local businesses, but for AdWords advertisers it might be another story. With the results map occupying the top right position, many of the ads have been pushed down the page –while their budgets won’t have changed.
With the roll out of Google Boost last week and Google Tags (which highlight deals offered by local businesses on Google Maps) earlier this year, Google is certainly sending a strong message to its competitor on its commitment to local search.