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What is Google Places?

Written by Brett Sidaway, March 2, 2011
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What is Google Places?

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Google Places for your business

The answer is simple. Google Places is a business listing page within Google’s Maps service.

Once a user is in Maps they are able to find products or services offered by local businesses, as well as other related information including directions and other business information. The business information shown to a user within Google Maps is the product of the information compiled and retrieved from Google Places. If you’ve ever conducted a search at Google.co.uk, you’ve probably already been exposed to Google Places. You’ll know this by the incorporation of a map and a set of listings when you include a city or region within your search. In fact, recent changes in Google’s search engine will now show the Maps listings with a great deal of emphasis; pushing the “organic” listings down the page. You can see a great example of this on the following screenshot of a local search conducted in Google: As you can see in the screenshot above, the listings from Google Maps are listed first on the results page. Each of these listings has been created by a Google Places listing.

Do I need a Google Places listing?

One out of every five searches on Google is related to a location. However it is difficult to know just how many searches that amounts to, but statistics form Google have shown around 2 billion searches are done every day. In other words 400 million local searches every day conducted by people looking for something in their area. So, if you own a business that provides services or products to consumers in your local area, and you need to gain more visibility to those consumers online, then Google Places is where you need to be. Furthermore, not only can a well-ranking Google Places listing send a lot of traffic to a website (more than organic listings in many cases), but the traffic from Google Places often converts at a much higher rate than organic traffic. This is mainly because of the additional information provided in the Google Places listing e.g. telephone number, reviews and recommendations.

Getting support with Google Places

As competition increases or in areas of high population (e.g. a city centre), it becomes more difficult and time consuming to achieve the top positions on Google Places. Having said that most small business owners should be able to handle the process of making a Google Places listing work well for their business. Creating the listing can be achieved in under ten minutes. Even if you don’t have the time and decide to hire someone else to take care of your Google Places listing, then you should at least understand the process. By understanding your Google Places listing and the ranking factors that come into play, you can hire the best SEO consultancy or firm to get the job done. Over the next few weeks we will be covering a series of SEO topics in more depth. Please follow us @opaceweb on Twitter and Opacewebdesign on Facebook for information on blog updates, please feel free to subscribe to our feed.

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