New from Google – Place Search


Last week, Google made some significant changes to its format for local search results, making it faster and even easier to find local information. 

Whereas previously up to 7 local business listings were displayed directly next to a Google Map of the related area, now more than 10 results are displayed pushing organic results further down the page.   Businesses with a Google Places profile now have greater visibility and the opportunity to have a stronger profile.

Google states that one of the great things in their approach to Google Places is that it is easier to find a comprehensive view of each place and that users will find more relevant links on a single results page, making it quicker to find what they want. 

Here’s a summary of the enhancements that have been made and how they appear on Place Search:-

  • Local search results organise information around places, hence the name “Place Search”.  Search results are clustered around specific locations to help people make comparisons and decide where to go.
  • A photo is included within each listing
  • Links to reviews are visible for each search result
  • The Google Map is no longer fixed and moves down the screen as you scroll results.
  • The Maps link has been changed to Places and you have the option to view Everything or just local results by clicking on Places.

The new Google Places impacts in several ways on local search results:-

– The Google Map has been moved to the right hand side where a paid ad typically appeared resulting in Adwords being pushed further down the page.  This means that Adwords are getting even more competitive and businesses will be vying for a top spot in the pastel coloured Adwords display box at the top of the screen, where the old local listings used to appear.

– It’s now more important for businesses to flesh out their Google Places listing as more information can be displayed.  This includes the regular title, brief summary of the website’s content, a photo, address and contact information, a review snippet from people who have been to/used the business’s services, links to additional reviews on third-party sites, star ratings, overall review count and a link to the Place Page.  And all this information is displayed free of charge! 

If your business doesn’t have a Google Places profile, or if you have one but it needs improving or updating, you can either do this yourself by visiting the Google Places website, or contact us and we will help you.

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