Changes to Google Places – will they affect your business?Google places for local businesses

How Google places entries can help your local business

Whenever we talk to local businesses about Search Engine Optimisation and Social Media, we always recommend maximising their Google Places profile, as it is a powerful way to drive traffic to your website. See our previous Google Places blog entry 

Customer Reviews on Google Places

One of the factors that influences the success of your Google Places page is the number of customer reviews. Until recently, in addition to the customer reviews placed directly on a company’s Google places page, Google also included reviews from other sources, such as Yelp and Trip Advisor.
Google has now removed all third-party review content from Google Places and is relying entirely on reviews generated by visitors on Places.
You will see references to other ratings sites but these will now just appear as links on the page – you won’t see any specific reviews and the reviews on third party sites won’t count towards your overall link total.

It seems that Google are no longer looking for aggregation partners as they have enough information of their own and want to encourage all users to use Google tools as much as possible.

Future changes to Google business profiles

We understand that in the next 2-3 months, Google will introduce Google+ Business Profiles.
In the longer term, these might be integrated with Places pages, making Google Places more like Facebook Pages.

So what should you do about Google Places?

In a nutshell:

  • ► If you don’t have a Google Places profile, get one set up as soon as possible
  • ► If you have one, but don’t have many reviews, start encouraging your customers to leave them for you
  • ► If you had a lot of Third Party reviews on your profile, consider asking the clients who left them whether they would post another comment directly on Google.

Because, in our opinion, your existing customers are unlikely to “stumble across” your Places page, you might want to send them a link to it. Then it’s quite quick and easy for them to leave a review, as long as they have a Google account and are signed into it.

For help in creating and optimising your Google places page, contact us for more information about our SEO and Social Media Optimisation services for Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Nottinghamshire businesses.