Search engine giant Google is currently in the process of rolling out their newest feature ‘Google Places’. This follows the unveiling of Google instant, however whilst Google Instant is simply a cosmetic change which see’s results displayed as you type, Google Places could have a real impact on search results and ultimately, your business.
With the new Places feature, when Google determines that a search was local, for example ‘SEO Company In Nottingham‘ rather than the old results page in which a map with local results would be diplayed at the top, followed by the organic rankings, the new system see’s the map move to the right of the page – covering adwords results as you scroll down – and the local results join the organic ones.
One notable point however is that the places registered results, display extra information, for example they immeditately display addresses – along with a place on the page map – telephone numbers, and perhaps crucially, reviews. This could prove to be a major advantage for any good places registered business.
Not only will the address and contact details being immediately on show give them the advantage over pages where the user would have to search through to find contact details, however, reviews from previous customers are ready to read right next to the search results.
The real impact of this has yet to be proven, however the bulk of opinions side with the theory that this could ultimately lead to a real shift in search trends. Typically a person will click on the top results displayed as they assume that as it is top, it is the best or closest related to their search, yet with reviews now available next to the Places registered results, the user could very easily be influenced to scroll further down the page for results, in the end attracted to the result with the best reviews. Could this lead to a decreased significance of being ‘Number 1 On Google’?
Whilst ‘Google Places’ is still in its early stages, and most, including myself, will still strongly recommend that being the top result on Google will have the greatest affect on traffic and number of customers, ‘Google Places’ may well soon play a large part on search preferences and click through rates for local businesses, so my best tip is, get registered, before its to late!