Google Places Logo We've talked a lot lately about the increasing importance of location on the Web and its impact on SEO , especially in light of the current emphasis on mobile technology.  And rightly so -- one of every five searches in Google are location-related.

Today, Google announced it is rebranding its Local Business Center as Google Places and is adding new features to the service.  The change will help business owners more seamlessly manage their presence on Google via their Place Pages and is a move toward Google's attempt to become "more local."  If you recall, Google launched Place Pages last September to help people find information and make decisions about places on the Web.  On the other hand, businesses can claim their place, which enables them to confirm and add to their business information by including such details as hours of operation, photos, videos, coupons, product offerings, etc. as well as facilitating communication with and generating feedback from customers.

Official Google Video About Google Places

 

The name change does not affect the tools previously offered by the Local Business Center but does offer an additional set of features to users and simplifies business owners' connection with their Places Page.

New Google Places Features:

  1. Service Areas allow traveling businesses to indicate which geographic areas they serve. 
  2. Simpler Advertising enables tagging (for increased listing visibility) for businesses in select cities for $25/month.
  3. Business Photo Shoots are a free offering to businesses to supplement existing photos on Place Pages.
  4. Customized QR Codes are now downloadable. QR codes are special bar codes that can be scanned by certain smart phones to take the user directly to the business' mobile version Place Page.
  5. Google will launch a second round of its Favorite Places program, which till send window decals with QR codes to 50,000 businesses in the U.S.
  6. Real-Time Updates can be added by businesses to their Place Pages, which can be used to announce promotions, events, etc. (Note: This feature was switched on over the past few months .)

Have You Claimed Your Place Page?

If you're a business owner and haven't already, now's the time to sign up for Google Places to claim your Place Page.  The services are free, and it's a great opportunity to help your business get found by local searchers , especially now that an emphasis on mobile search is taking hold.

What have you done to prepare your business for the increasing emphasis on mobile and location-based search?  Have you taken/will you take advantage of Google Places' new features? 

 

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Originally published Apr 20, 2010 1:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017

Topics:

Local SEO