Google has once again changed their services with no warning to business owners. If you have a Google Places listing then now would be a good time to see how it looks with the new changes.
There will be more changes rolling out soon; your places page will eventually be integrated with your Google+ business page. This will allow for a much richer local listing experience. It seems that Google really wants people to use Google+ and this is a great way to get a bunch of businesses active on the social network.
The new Google Places snippets
I’m always down for some fish and chips, let’s see what options I have:
It looks like Pappas is more popular, but just to be fair I’ll look at both listings.
The new Google Places listings
That gives me very little information, let’s look at Pappas:
This is more like it, I think I’ll be going to Pappas for lunch. The only issue I have with this listing that the owner can directly control is that there’s room for more images.
Perhaps the biggest difference is the new rating system. Last year Google bought Zagat and it looks like they’ve adopted their rating system. You now rate business on a scale of 0-3 in different categories. A score if 30 is the best score you can possibly get.
Hopefully this will convince you how important it is to optimise your listing. Krissy wrote an excellent guide to optimising your Google Places listing. It’s obviously outdated now, but all the info is still very relevant.
If you’re not on Google+ yet, I’d recommend doing that now. You don’t have to be active, but it’s another free property and could possibly enhance your local listing when Google integrates both properties. If you’re keen to be active on Google+ I wrote a little guide to being successful on Facebook which translates to Google+ and any other social media network.
If you want to get nerdy David Mihm is currently chronicling the new changes to Google Places.