For the last couple of months there has been a plethora (ok, loads) of new products launched in the market place offering ‘guaranteed’ local business listings within Google, on a paid for or free service. The changes noted below start to ‘blow out’ most of these false positions because the rules have changed.
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Here we go.
Google Local and Maps have become a major influence on how people search and get results from the search engine (s) I can show this by simply looking inside Google for something like ‘accountant’ and the search result returns a list of ‘accountants’, but perhaps too many or in too large an area so we tend to search again by thinning the result and adding some geography to the search – ‘accountant in Watford or Sussex’ and the results we see are now closer us.
It should be no shock that Google should be taking a closer look at how we search and attempt to refine the process and provide a more meaningful search result by changing the Google Local search algorithm to make it easier for us to find what or who we are searching for locally.
So with effect from today 8, 2010 we see searches that reference local business and all the relevant places in that location in a revised page located in the upper right corner of a search result page. The now familiar map displays each business with red lettered pins, and links to each business. And as you scroll down the page the Google Places Map will scroll with the page so that it is always visible.
Personally I like the look and feel of the new layout.
We also have Google Boost is a Google AdWords product that allows local businesses to feature more prominently in local searches. It allows small to medium size businesses the ability to feature more highly in searches, and concentrates much more on the relevance and location of that business than ever before. Now searchers will see sponsored location searches appear on the Google Places map as blue lettered pins and in search results with the blue marker pin next to the content description.
Search results for the ‘accountant in city’ will now appear first below sponsored listings and above organic listings. What this means is that results for a business in a location will now appear grouped with the other search results, making it much easier for searchers to find what they are looking for in a local area.
Google reports that Place Search results will begin appearing automatically when Google determines that you are looking for a ‘business in location’ search result.
Google also states “We’ve made results like this possible by developing technology to better understand places. With Google Place Search, we’re dynamically connecting hundreds of millíons of websites with more than 50 million real-world locations. We automatically identify when sites are talking about physical places and cluster links even when they don’t provide addresses and use different names.”
Google Places is being rolled out across the world and will be available everywhere, in 40 languages once complete. Google is hoping to provide a better, local search to users, while exploiting a different revenue stream. It’s also competing with Facebook Places which was launched a while ago. Facebook was able to use very targeted advertising to provide a similar service to its users.
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