New Update Means Businesses Must Tweak Google Places

When I search for something local, such as dog care for my awesome cocker spaniel, I hop on Google Maps to see what is close to me. In 2009,there were 27.5 million small businesses in the United States, according to Office of Advocacy estimates.

As I was conversing yesterday on Twitter about all things SEO, on #SEOchat it was pointed out by Thos003 that there is a small but very significant change to how Google Maps returns results. If you search “dog care” across the USA, the pictures now return a little differently. But the coolest thing is that the red drop enlarges when you hover over the listing on the left side of the page.

Google Places

So you might be asking yourself, why do I care? As a business of any size you need to claim your listing and upload your own pictures. One business that I was looking at yesterday has never claimed their listing but had more than 30 negative reviews. This is where SEO reputation management would come into play.

Claiming your Google Places account is just as good as claiming your domain. If you choose not to, then you are not in control and you are leaving your business to the control of the masses. A good search engine optimization firm can take care of reputation management, but claiming your Google Places account will help.

According to Vanessa Schneider, the Community Manager for Google Places:

“I can confirm that we rolled out a couple of changes to Google Maps yesterday. To improve the layout of the information in the search results, the business photos have been moved from the left side of the organic listings to the right side. In addition, when you scroll over a business listing on the left hand panel, the corresponding pin marker on the map now increases in size to help you quickly and easily identify the places that interest you.”

Claim your listing and fill everything out, post photos and entice your customer to leave reviews so that you will rank. This is one of the few things you can do yourself for to improve your SEO. If you own your business, you need to own your online presence and the first step is with Google Places.

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      • Alan Bleiweiss says

        Fix it? What’s broken? Aren’t dogs just big rodents?

        On a more serious note – you say that due to recent changes you need to tweak your Places listing. Except in the article you don’t explain how these changes require doing anything different, only that you need to claim your listing. #Confused #NeedHelpUnderstanding

  1. Steven TRACY says

    Yep, It’s a more and more complicated world for communication

    You have to have a Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin profil

    An SEO website, a blog

    And be on Google Maps places etc.

    But it’s also a world of fanatastic opportunity’s to develop business.

    I’m very suprised to see clients pay advertisemnt in free newspapers and not have a completed profil on Google maps.

    It’s FREE and will bring them clients that are looking for their products and services.

    And if you have your SEO specialist help you fill out your Google place profil with the right title, description and category it will really boost your communication and notoriety.

    I do it for all of my clients when I do SEO work on their website.

    SO, fill out your Google place account and get found on the web
    for FREE !!!

  2. Steve says

    When you say ‘entice customers to leave reviews’ for many businesses this would be quite difficult. You’re asking them first to review your business, then go to google, find you again in google places (perhaps they didn’t find you there in the first place) and leave a review?

    Is there a widget for wordpress or something like that which can be used for google places reviews?

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