Place Search: A New Kind Of Local Search From Google
Last week Google introduced a new Place Search.
The map and up to 7 businesses (marked with red pins A to G) were shown above the organic listings with the usual sponsored links still appearing to the right and top left of the page.
The new changes now see the Places map appearing to the right of the page above the sponsored links and as you scroll down the page the map follows. The business listings (still up to 7 and with the red pin markers) are now incorporated into the organic listings (see map below).
These 7 listings now have much longer descriptions and review snippets.
Plus if you look in the left hand panel of the search results page you’ll now find a link for “Places”. Not all searches initially produce a Places Map plus local business listings but if you click on the “Places” link you’ll be shown the information. Clicking this link also returns up to 10 results instead of the usual 7.
So, what do the new changes mean?
It’s too early days to ascertain what the overall effect will be but what is certain is that it’s even more important for businesses that rely on local customers to claim their Places listings and complete them correctly.
More and more people are choosing to search for local businesses and services online rather than the traditional methods. Place Search results begin appearing automatically on Google when it predicts that someone is looking for local information. If your business is not there you are going to be at a serious disadvantage.
Google is putting more and more focus on location services and local businesses in an attempt to grow its revenue beyond its search advertising model. Moving Marissa Mayer, its high-flying head of search, into a new role, which focuses on developing local products, is further evidence that it is prioritising location-based services.