SEO Alert! Google’s New Place Search Changes Local Search Forever

Updated June 3rd 2012: Please be aware Google Places is now Google+ Local

Google recently changed the local search game by introducing something they call Place Search. Place search eliminates the local search 7 box altogether and merges local and organic results in a way that clearly reveals just how important local search is to small businesses.

The engineers at Google have been improving their popular search engine’s ability to predict your location and serve up local search results even without the use of your city’s name or a specific location within your search query.

Google Place Search

Based on the new look, it is apparent that claiming and optimizing your Google Places Page is of high importance if you want to be found by potential customers.

If you do not already have a Google Places page for your business, I suggest you stop everything you are doing and get to it! Why? I suspect it will be hard for any business to rank high in local search without a Google Places Page.

Set Up a Google Places Page

First things first: You want to claim your Places page but before you blindly post text and images, be careful on your keyword selection and how you set up your places page. Here are a few tips to setting up a Google Places page:

  • Be sure to add images, video and detailed product and / or service descriptions to your Places page. Also add custom fields for more relevant content. Spend ample time to categorize your business correctly.
  • Make sure you have listed your business in prominent online business directories like the DMOZ Open Directory, Yahoo Business Directory, Business.com, etc. Backlinks from high PR sites like this will increase your relevance in local search.
  • Get involved in making sure all your listings on Google, Yelp, CitySearch, InsiderPages have positive, well written reviews. This can be a major deciding factor for potential customers when comparing you to another business.

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Analytics & AdWords certified growth engineer with over a decade experience in making businesses successful. I own and operate AXZM and often speak at top national industry conferences on the topics of strategy, design and marketing technology. Work with me or learn more about me here. Follow me @nawlready

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