If you haven’t claimed your business’s local listing, now is the time to do it. Yesterday Google shook up the local search world by switching up how local listings are displayed with the introduction of Places Search.
What exactly changed?
Search Results: When Google decides that your search has local intent a majority of the first page is now populated with local results, listed out much like general organic results, instead of in the familiar 7-pack. It appears that organic results have been pushed all the way to the bottom of the page and in some instances to the second page of search results.
Map: Besides the dismantling of the 7-pack the usual map that accompanied it now lies in the right sidebar pushing sponsored links further down on the page. However, it seems if there are no sponsored links the map follows you as you scroll down the screen.
Reviews: The total number of reviews is now accompanied by an average rating for the business and the top sites providing the most reviews are now listed. Google is also including sentiment analysis, which essentially summaries how people feel about a business in a single sentence. This can be great for a business that is well liked, but watch out if you have meager reviews since this will now be displayed front and center.
Image: The main business image from the Google Places page is now shown next to the listing. This should push more people to provide pictures in their listings to ensure the photo shown is correct and promotes the business in a positive light.
Description: Much like regular organic listings, description snippets are being pulled from the business’s website when available.
Address: The new setup now includes a business’s address in conjunction with the phone number.
So, what does all of this mean for your business? In short – your business’s Google Places listing is more important than ever. Since the new Places Search is pushing most of the general organic results off the first page it is imperative to optimize your Google Places listing in order to be competitive.
Have you checked out how your listing now displays? If Places Search hasn’t quite rolled out in your area you can check it out here.