5 Reasons to use Google Places

Apr. 23, 2010 | by Doug Platts

One of the handy things about having US offices is that when a new developments happen in Search, they are usually launched over in the States and then filter out to the rest of the World up to 6 months later. This happens with Search Engine updates such as Vince and the launch of new Search Engines such as Bing.

Most recently is the launch of Google Places to replace Google Local Business Listing on Tuesday of this week.

So what’s new in Google Places:

  • Service areas: Businesses that travel to their customers can now specify which geographic areas they serve and be eligible to show in search results for queries in those areas. Also, if a business doesn’t have a physical street address, its address can remain private.
  • Tags: For a flat fee of $25/month, businesses can enhance their listings with a yellow Maps icon that displays a customizable line of text describing any aspect of the business.
  • Business photo shoots: Businesses can already upload photos of their locations to their Google Place page. Now Google is offering to do a free interior photo shoot of the business as well.
  • QR codes: From its Place page dashboard, a U.S. business can now download a QR code, that if scanned by a user’s capable smartphone, will direct that user to the mobile version of that business’s Place page.
  • Favorite Places: Google plans to mail window decals with QR codes to 50,000 businesses around the U.S. to use in advertising at their locations.

Below is some handy advice from Eric Sidone (@esidone) our Natural Search Strategist in the Phoneix Office of iCrossing.

Reason’s to Hang Your Google Marker

  1. Engage Your Audience Offline: Internet users are accustomed to using search engines to find information. This need for information is localized with mobile searches on the fly, and now QR codes offer another touch point for brands and consumers.
  2. Be a Market Leader (beat your competitor into the QR Code game): Silver Surfers are on Facebook, and new technology is becoming less foreign to broader segments at a faster rate of time. If a map marker fits within your brand standards, then embracing QR Codes can resonate with your audience which will position you to be top-of-mind as local search evolves.
  3. Promote a Sale with Coupons: Coupons can be tied to your GLBC account. Putting an offer in the hands of the consumer at the point when they are looking at your physical location is a huge opportunity to drive sales.
  4. Capture Valuable Feedback: We see twitter and other networking sites become a channel for complaints and accolades for consumers. Now, feedback from consumers is one “click of the camera” away, and can provide almost up to the minute consumer data in a nearly face-to-face environment.
  5. Enhance each Google Channel to Improve Overall Conversions: Industry data shows the benefits of running paid and natural campaigns together. Combining local and mobile into that data set only reinforces the value of optimizing your business in Google Local.

You can read the full post Five Reasons to Display a Google Places QR Code here.

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    Comments (4)

    • Air Max 2003

      Sorry for the huge review, but I¡¯m really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it¡¯s the right choice for you.Dec 11, 2010 11:32 am

    • Tobit

      Hey Phil,

      They have indeed re-introduced map plus box extensions.  I'm not in PImlico at the moment so I can't get you a screen shot.  However there is a breakdown of a lot of new ad extensions here: http://www.amplify-interactive.com/2010/03/24/google-adwords-ad-extensions-1/  oir here: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/new-search-ad-formats.html
      (Again away from my own machine so pop up blocker is preventing proper links!)

      Though these were first introduced in 2007, they went a bit quiet and were eventually abandoned.  As part of the new ad extensions and alongside the reworking of Google places they are now back up and running.

      By running a few searches yourself you should be able to find live examples of map plus box for either pizza delivery, plumbers or gyms.

      Hope that helps?

      TobitMay 5, 2010 04:16 pm

    • Phil

      I didn't understand this...
      What do you mean by

      "Searching for “Pizza Delivery” demonstrates this well. From our Pimlico offices Pizza Hut is in position 3 in natural, but in paid it has the top spot with a map extension plus box. Once expanded, the ad takes up most of the page before the fold."
      What is a "map extention plus box". Can you get a map exetension in paid search?
      PhilMay 5, 2010 10:42 am

    • Tobit Michael

      In addition to the above benefits Google Places can be hugely beneficial to PPC.  As with other advanced ad formats it allows you to maximise the space you take up on the SERPs, the effect of which is well known.

      Searching for "Pizza Delivery" demonstrates this well. From our Pimlico offices Pizza Hut is in position 3 in natural, but in paid it has the top spot with a map extension plus box. Once expanded, the ad takes up most of the page before the fold.Apr 30, 2010 01:39 pm

    Please note: the opinions expressed in this post represent the views of the individual, not necessarily those of iCrossing.

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