This is a summary of the presentation given by Monte Huebsch, CEO of Aussieweb at SMX Melbourne last month, about the way Google Places and local search are changing Google search results.
Monte starts by saying that 96 percent of Google revenue is AdWords and AdSense, while the other 4 percent is stuff they do to piss off Microsoft. This gets a big laugh from the audience.
The Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) of today, Monte says, are almost unrecognizable from the Google SERPs of 10 years ago. The majority of search results are now dominated by local matches, social search and/or universal search. So SEO just won’t cut it anymore. You absolutely need to be in Google Places and social search.
He mentions Page Preview – which is a new search feature launched this month, where Google adds thumbnails of a page, directly into the search results. These previews are accessible via the search navigation menu on the left of the SERPs, under the heading Page Previews.
Monte moves on to talk about the impact Local Search is currently having. Monte showed an example of a SERP for “florist Brisbane” and how it has changed in the past two weeks due to the introduction of Place Search. The traditional “7 pack” of Google Maps search results is gone and in it’s place is a kind of universal local search, with images, videos and map pins all pulled from Google Places listings. Results are algorithmic and predictive, based on the search terms used. You can even drill down to isolate only Google Places results for your search terms. This provides a significant opportunity to businesses targeting local searchers via their Google Places listings.
Google Boost is a brand new beta service offered to to select Google Places users in San Francisco, Houston and Chicago, allowing them to pay a monthly fee to Google for AdWords ad creation. Boost enables business owners to create search ads from within their Google Places account, without the need for an AdWords account. Monte suggests that this is the way local search is headed – with localized ads right there in your maps.
Links on the SERPs now often lead to a Google Places page rather than web site, says Monte. If you claim your spot in Google Places, you’ll get into Universal Search, Google Maps, Google Earth and mobile search, whereas if you don’t, you won’t!
Something to be aware of when you claim your Google Places listing, says Monte, is that you CANT change the email address associated with your listing. Monte suggests creating a new Gmail account JUST for your Places account so you have more control over it and future flexibility. Monte suggests looking at Davidmihm.com as a great resource for Google Places info.
If you have a mobile business, you can mask your physical address in Google Places. So for example, if you have a mobile pet grooming service, where a physical address is not relevant – you can still use Google Places to your advantage.
Also, try to get reviews on Google Places and add YouTube videos and photos about your business as these are all included in your data allowance and you should be making the most of them.
Google Places is another platform for your business! Make the best use of it you possibly can.