Google says, “One out five Google searches is related to location.” Considering that a very high number of SERPs (search engine result pages) will display a map with a list of locations next to it, it behooves every business to take control of their renamed “Google Places” page.
On these pages and in countless recommendations to clients, we have, for years, stressed the importance of using the Google Maps Local Business Center (remember, we talked about using coupons, and Click-to-Call phone numbers) to take control of and optimize what Google displays next to a map when Google users do a search related to location (aka “geographically qualified search”) for your business or a product or service you may sell. As of April 20, 2010, the poorly-named Local Business Center is now named “Google Places.”
As usual for Google, the newly named Google Places comes with several new features. Unfortunately and as usual for Google, the search users and clients they serve in rural, lower-populated areas, cannot take advantage all of the new features. I understand the business decisions by Google to concentrate where they get the most return by targeting large population areas with the most potential customers. That said, I sometimes wonder if some of the people at Google don’t overlook that many areas with small populations and what they have to offer are destinations for those in metropolitan areas. I digress.
Some of the newest Google Places features:
Service areas: You can now show which geographic areas you serve. And if you run a business without a storefront or office location, you can now make your address private.
- A new, simple way to advertise: For just $25 per month, businesses in select cities can make their listings stand out on Google.com and Google Maps with Tags. (Select cities are the keywords here, so this won’t be available to many.)
- Business photo shoots: In addition to uploading their own photos, businesses in select cities can now request a free photo shoot of the interior of their business. (Again, select cities are the keywords here.)
- Customized QR codes
- Favorite Places:
You may read all about it here in Google Pages announcement.
The bottomline is that you should, as before, enhance your listing with the map when it is displayed in Google’s SERPs. Now it is easier and you can do much more with your new Google Places page.
If you haven’t taken advantage of this, all it costs is a little time, and you will get start getting more self-qualified traffic from searches related to location. Sign up today!