Setting up your Google Places page as a local small business is extremely important. Why? Google uses the information from the Places page in the search results for any local related search query. And 1 in 5 Google searches has local intent – that’s 100 million local searches per day on Google.
If you’re not there – you are missing out on a big opportunity.
For example, any time a user does a search for “adelaide restaurant” or any search with a location as one of the keywords, the search results typically default to the local results page seen below.
The stars next to each listing indicate the number and average rating from reviews left on the Google Places page or other local business directories such as Truelocal, Menulog or Urban Spoon. Google aggregates the reviews from several sources so it is important to have good reviews on all the various directory and local related websites in your industry.
A searcher will look at this page and immediately see the location of your business, and how highly it is rated by other people. The user generated reviews can act as an endorsement to other customers for your business….or as a warning to stay away!
Google wants to maintain high quality listings in its search results – why would they want to display a business with lots of negative reviews? This would make the search results less relevant and useful for local searchers. This is why it is important to maintain a high quality Google places page with up to date information, photos and specials.
With more and more people buying smart phones and with the technology rapidly improving with the iPhone 4, Android phones and Windows phone 7, the trend is towards location centric search results based on your mobile device’s GPS location.
Say you’re walking down Rundle Street, you take out your iPhone 4, do a quick Google search for “restaurants”, you will see a list of restaurants on Rundle Street which are near by. Which one are you going to choose? The restaurant with 80 reviews and an average rating of 4.5 stars? Or the one with 15 reviews with an average of 3 stars?
Google is placing a lot more emphasis on its local search results. At the moment the competition is not as saturated as it is the organic SEO or pay per click (PPC) spaces so there is a big opportunity for all local businesses to take the lead in their local area.
In the next few posts, we’ll be covering a number of local search engine marketing tactics starting with how to set up your Google places page.