In an effort to refine further local search, Google has made some aggressive changes. The person responsible for these changes may be Marissa Mayer, one of the original 20 employees of Google who has just been appointed leader of the location services unit. Read on for more information on these significant changes.
Goodbye 7 Pack, Hello Place Search
One of the biggest changes is how local results are presented. Google has recently rolled out Place Search, which is basically the incorporation of Places into the search results. Places will automatically be included in the results once Google detects that the user is looking for local information. It works just as how the search engine detects your intention when looking for local information using general terms. So for example, if you’re looking for a pizza joint or a museum, the search will yield local results because of the local nature of your search.
The most obvious thing you’ll notice about the new presentation is the bevy of details included in the search results. Top results will be complete with pictures, links, reviews, contact information, etc.
The new presentation has completely eliminated the 7 Pack. Furthermore, since the algorithm for Places Search relies on the Place Pages, your website may get left behind if you don’t have a Place Page yet. Some businesses, especially smaller ones, may eventually suffer the consequences of the new changes. Consider completing a Place Page for your organization now.
Place Search aims to improve the experience of both the Internet user and the website owner. The detailed information will make users feel like they are locals everywhere they go. At the same time, this will improve efforts in local listing optimization.
Place Page Organizes Reviews
Most consumers are always after good quality products and services. Google clearly has considered this to make the decision making process easier for users. Just a simple search can bring you a single page filled with an array of establishments plus their reviews. Google has pulled and identified reviews from various websites and summed them all up to give general reviews to each establishment.
Moreover, there are now two sections for reviews. One of the sections is called “Reviews from around the Web,” and the other is called “Reviews by Google users.”
A good thing about the review sections is that they highlight the importance of receiving many positive reviews.
Google Places Removes Web URL Tag Option
Many were sad to see the free Web URL tag option go after Google decided to remove it. It was very useful and popular among business owners. Everyone was surprised that it was removed. However, it took only a couple of days for Google to bring the feature back and with it a $25 a month charge!
The good news is that there’s a 30-day warning and it’s priced at $25 per month. On the other hand, this new price tag—as with all other costs—needs to be considered carefully by entrepreneurs.
Change Your Location Easily
Last but not the least of these major changes is the location section. You can now easily change your location simply by entering your address at the left side menu below the other popular search options. When entering your location, Google recommends including your zip code so that you can target your demographic better. While it’s just a little change, this new feature confirms the fact that Google gives much importance to local search.
Google continues to make changes here and there to improve local search and businesses. All these changes put together further solidifies Google’s hold on the search engine industry.