How Google Local has changed again

There are so many significant changes going on with Google lately, it’s becoming a full time job trying to keep up. And that’s just with Google. Bing are doing a power of work too, rolling out all sorts of changes to their search engine and heavily leveraging their relationship (or expensive investment) with Facebook.

To coin a phrase from Tony Abbott, yesterday’s ‘great big new update’ involves Google Places.

As regular readers will know, I’ve talked a lot about Google Places before; how to get started here, and more recently advanced Google Places strategies here.

If you haven’t claimed your local business listing already, get cracking.

Here’s a screen shot of the new Google Places “locally based search results”:

You can see that the Map has been now moved to the right hand side of the page (incidentally moving the some of the columned Google Ads further down the page, which I’ll discuss in a tick).

The natural search result I’ve highlighted with the arrows now stands out very prominently on the page because Google’s taken an image from their Places page and plonked it underneath their result (also with their address). Also, Google’s highlighted the fact that they’re in Google Places as well with a “Place Page” text alongside their result. I’m also seeing reviews as well in some cases.

Even though the arrowed advertiser doesn’t rank first, your eye is immediately drawn to their result in the page. You definitely get rewarded for claiming your business and working your listing in Google Places.

This also means big things for SEO. If you rank in the top 10 for geographically based search terms (such as “Patent Attorney Melbourne”), your result stands out like dogs bits (and bobs).

The implication for Google AdWords advertisers is also dramatic. It now means you have to bid even higher (and ensure your keyword Quality Scores kick butt) to ensure you appear in the top three ads.

If your ads rank fourth or lower, you’ll probably be getting fewer clicks as your ads will be pushed a long way down the results page under the new map.

If you’re interested there’s more comprehensive coverage at Search Engine Land.

Never a dull day.

For more Online Sales expert advice, click here.

Chris Thomas heads up Reseo, a search engine optimisation  company which specialises in creating and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.



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