Solving the riddle of Google Places
We’ve talked in the past about Google Places, the Google Directory Service where you manage your own listings. Places is getting more important for attracting local business. The following is a guest post by Xero customer and online marketing expert Matt Miller of Mogul.
Have you literally fallen off the front page of Google? This recently happened to one of our clients.
First, some background… the big themes for search marketing this year are ‘local’, ‘mobile’, and ‘social’.
That is, when people search the web for products and services these days,
- they usually want to find businesses that are nearby
- they are often searching from a mobile device
- and they prefer to find out about businesses that other people are talking about
To accommodate these changes in users’ behaviour and expectations (and to combat Facebook’s new Places feature), Google has gone all-out with Google Places.
Up until a few months ago, when you did a Google search, Google mostly gave you a list of links to websites that contained the keywords you used in your search.
Now when you do a Google search, just about all the results on the first page are links to Google Places pages rather than links to websites. The website that you might have spent ages optimising for high Google rankings is nowhere to be seen – and a whole lot of your competitors have suddenly appeared ahead of you!
A good example of this is if I do a Google search for ‘Marketing’.
Google knows that I am in Hastings (ask Airnet how Google knows this – it’s a bit spooky) so it throws up a whole lot of Google Places pages for what it thinks are marketing businesses in or near Hastings.
Notice there are no links to business websites, just links to Google Places pages.
So if you haven’t got a Google Places page or if it’s not very good, then forget about getting onto the front page!
This was the problem faced by Seamus and Ashleigh at The Surveying Company. Even though their website was well-optimised for search engines, the big list of Places pages was pushing them off the front page and, as a result, their search engine traffic was really suffering.
So, rather than trying to optimise their website, we needed to focus on the Google Places page. With our help, they made a few tweaks to their Google Places page earlier this week and, within a few days, their Google Places listing has already improved significantly. They’re back on the front page and they’re getting more traffic.
Thanks Matt, that’s really useful.
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