Changes in Google Places, Your Business & Local Search
Google are at it again and the effect could alter your position in local search results. They have changed the way Google Places looks. It’s now cleaner and has more emphasis on customer reviews and photos/videos. The ‘Write a Review‘ button is now in red in a prominent position on the page. (Fig 1. Why did I added an arrow to this screen shot? Ed) This demonstrates the importance and weight that Google give to reviews on your Google Places page in local search results. HINT: They want you to get reviews for your business… lots of reviews… the more the better… get the picture? Good read on…
If we scroll down the Google Places page a little further we notice another prominent ‘Write a Review‘ button (Fig 3. What do Google want us to do?) but this is where the story takes a sudden twist.
The Change in Local Search Listings post Google Places Changes
Google used to pull in reviews from third party review sites like Yelp, Qype and Local.Yahoo and feature them quite heavily. Now they have all gone except for a couple of nondescript links at the foot of the page. (Fig 4. Indicated by my 4th and final arrow ; )
Some say that Google built Google Places scraping review content from third party sites using an unfair advantage but now, as ‘Google Places‘ has enough content of it’s own they can stand alone and no longer need the 3rd party support. Google couldn’t have built this service without the 3rd parties and have now abandoned them. Whether this was ethical or morally right or wrong is another debate but they have now changed their policy.
One other thing to note is that you may have had 100’s of reviews on your Google Places page only to see that number now reduced to just a handful as the 3rd party reviews are no longer being counted. We are still investigating how this has effected rankings and place positions. Also take into consideration that only gmail account holders can write reviews on Google Places.
I’m currently beta testing Google + and wouldn’t be surprised if Google Places features in this new social phenomenon in the near future. So what does all this mean to your business listing on Google Places and your position in Local Search?
Google Places Should Be the Cornerstone of your Local Search Strategy
At Blend Local Search Marketing we have always treated Google Places as the primary business listing for our clients. Now more than ever, it is essential to claim your Google Places listing and complete all sections fully including photographs, videos, and a comprehensive description of your local business.
Once your Google Places listing is set up correctly, actively encourage your customers to visit the page and write a review. They need a gmail account to do this.
You can even email your Google Places page to your customers. It’s as easy as 1,2,3!
1) Simply click on the ‘More‘ button (Fig 2.) underneath your business address and a small window appears.
2) Click on ‘Send‘ and add an email address and short message.
3) Press send again.
In the same window you will also find a URL link. You can cut and paste this link into the ‘Signature box’ in your email account. Then every time you send an email, you will be actively promoting you Google Places page.
Remember, Google want you to get reviews and will reward you by giving your Google Places page a higher ranking in customer search results. This is a sure fire way of getting a number 1 ranking in Google local search results.
We want you to succeed in your local search marketing efforts. If you want your business to be found for your local search keywords by hungry customers in Google Places we can help you set it up right now so you can benefit immediately.
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Blend Local Search Marketing Ltd.
Overseas House, 66-68 High Road, Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire, WD23 1GG
Tel: +44 203 114 5119
Local Search Marketing starts with Google Places