Google Places Changes You Need To Know About

Posted by in Search Marketing (SEO) on February 23rd, 2014 0 Comments

Google Places, Google Local, Google+ Business Pages, Google Places for Business; whatever they are called nowadays, they remain a vital part of any digital campaign for websites with physical brick and mortar locations.

Google have been very actively changing this service in the previous year or so and sometimes it alone can feel like a full time job trying to keep up to date with all the changes, especially if you have to manage large quantities of listings as I do.

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Biggest Recent Local Changes

Google announced the following earlier this week:

  • Your title should reflect your business’s real-world title.
  • In addition to your business’s real-world title, you may include a single descriptor that helps customers locate your business or understand what your business offers.
    Marketing taglines, phone numbers, store codes, or URLs are not valid descriptors.
  • Examples of acceptable titles with descriptors (in italics for demonstration purposes) are “Starbucks Downtown” or “Joe’s Pizza Delivery”. Examples that would not be accepted would be “#1 Seattle Plumbing”, “Joe’s Pizza Best Delivery”, or “Joe’s Pizza Restaurant Dallas”.

This is a very large change, search marketers have been wanting to do this since its inception, but with the Quality guidelines for Places being updated the question eager SEO’s will now be trying to decide is thus: for which client’s is having the location, or business descriptor most valuable.

If you have a pizzeria called “Big Joe’s” and are only in a couple places, or maybe even just one branch it makes a lot more sense to have “Big Joe’s Pizza” or “Big Joe’s Pizzeria” than having “Big Joe’s Cardiff”.

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On the flipside if you work for a very well established business with hundreds of locations, take for example “Top Man”, it makes much more sense to have “Top Man Brighton” rather than “Top Man Clothing” or any similar variation.

Also at the beginning of the month Google added over 1000 new categories into Google Places (for non-USA locations, which already had them).

This should prompt almost all Google Places International business owners to update their listings universally to include the categories to ensure that they are up to date, and from my own research thus far, we are almost a month in after the change, and very few businesses have actually gone about updating their sites. This presents an opportunity to be up to date and optimised for sure in an area where your competitors may not have gotten to yet, and as it is an easy process to do, some low-hanging fruit.

If you feel you could be doing more in the digital sphere, do get in contact and we’ll see what we are able to do for you.

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