Google Places - local business search
Google is moving much more to local based search results and is now blending Local Business Places (previously Maps)search results with Natural search results and the distinction is now blurred but no business should miss out on perhaps the most effective measure they can take to become visible on local searches.
The best single SEO step for a business - Google Places for Business
You may have noticed Google is including some extra search results within their listings. One of these is the Google Places listing and is intended to provide a list of local businesses relevant to your search.
When it first appeared in 2010 it looked like this - with a map on the left and up to seven short listings next to it then natural listings carried on below. It was quite obvious what you were looking at...
But things have quickly changed. Now it is much less obvious as the Places listings look much more like a Natural listing and are mixed in with them.
The map has been moved to right hand side which floats down as users scroll down.
The Places results use a format similar to the Natural listings including Title and Snippet from the company's website plus Contact information from the Places listing.
This represents the shift towards search results going more local with richer and informative presentation.
Google Maps is part of Google Local Business Centre Search and is completely free to all business owners. It is separate from your website but now relates to your website implying that you should have a good Places listing and an optimised website to get the best out of local searches.
A good Places listing is probably the quickest, easiest and most effective (SEO) step you can take to get your business to appear in local business searches.
Search for "google places for business" and sign up (or if you already have a google account you find access to it in there), fill in as many details as you can - there will be a verification so google knows you are the business owner (the fastest option is an immediate automated phone call to the business phone number that will provide you with a PIN number to input while you are completing the entry - so you have to do it, not your web designer). Once completed your entry should start appearing the next day.
Posted 1 December 2010
Epsilis - Web Designers and Search Engine Optimisation Specialists
47 Farthing Drive
Letchworth Garden City
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