There’s been some interesting changes recently in the way that Google lists and organises search results. If you haven’t noticed try doing a quick search for a service in your town or city. (i.e. Brisbane photographer for example). I’ve just performed that search from my desk on the Northside of Brisbane. The first listing I see in the results is a photographer that is located about 10kms away. That’s pretty close to where I’m sitting right now. Google has been able to roughly determine where I’m searching from and provide me a listing that is relevant to me based on my location as well as my search query. The next few listings are all Brisbane based photographers as well, some are further away from me than others, but they all service this area and match my search query.
On the right hand side of the listings there’s a map that shows the place holders for each of the results that Google has given me and they’re all marked by a little red place holder with a letter corresponding to the order in which the results were presented. This allows me to see quite quickly, how close any of the businesses are to me and choose one based, not only on the text and images that I see in the results, but based on their location.
If you look at the results you’ll notice that each includes an address and a telephone number, which makes it very easy for me to pick up the phone and call one if I like what I see. That’s great you say, but where is all this information coming from? Well, it’s coming from the Google Places listing that each of these businesses have set up. And the good news is that you can do this too, for free once you’ve set up a Google account.
“But wait a minute”, I hear you ask, “I’ve already got this information on my website, isn’t that enough?”. Well, not anymore I’m afraid. Google now wants you to have a Google Places listing and they are using this information (matched against the information on your website – if you have one) to verify your business and match your location to the location of people searching for your goods or services.
What does that mean for you. Well, it means that you should definitely have a Google Places listing and you should make sure you invest a bit of time and energy into getting your listing right. By right, I mean, making sure that it’s completely populated with your details, what it is you do, even things like images and videos as well. Why do you need to add images and videos? Well, because Google’s ranking algorithm appears to boost the ranking of those with more complete listings.
Another critical part of finalising your Google Places listing is getting reviews on your listing. You’ll notice that in some searches, businesses will be listed with star ratings (4 out of 5 stars for example). The ratings are given to the business by their customers. Google then displays the rating for others to see and use in the process of making a decision about whether or not to contact you.
At present Google are saying that they’re not going to factor user reviews/ratings into their search algorithm, but you can be fairly certain it will affect the way people make decisions about who to call, when they need a service, so this makes it crucially important that you encourage your customers to provide a review on your Google Places listing.
“Okay, so what if I’m too busy to do it myself?” Well, that’s where we come in. We will happily help you setup your Google Places listing for a flat fee of $195. This includes writing your business description for you, with some input from you of course. Why not contact us today to make sure that you’re not missing out on Google Traffic by not having a complete Google Places listing.