Local Business Center is Becoming Google Places
Today, the Official Google Blog announced that the Local Business Center is becoming Google Places. Why? According to John Hanke, Google’s VP Google Maps, Earth and Local, “Millions of people use Google every day to find places in the real world, and we want to better connect Place Pages — the way that businesses are being found today — with the tool that enables business owners to manage their presence on Google.”
Image by SESConferenceSeries via Flickr
Um. Okay. But isn’t this just a name change?
Google launched Place Pages for Google Maps last September. Since then, four million businesses have claimed their Place Page on Google through the Local Business Center, which enables them to verify and supplement their business information to include hours of operation, photos, videos, coupons, product offerings and more.
Google Places will continue to offer these same tools, but it is also introducing several new features:
Over the past few months Google has also added the ability for business owners to post real-time updates to their Place Page. You might want to promote a sale, a special event or anything else that you want customers to know right now, and this feature lets you communicate that directly to your customers. You can also provide extra incentive by adding coupons, including ones specially formatted for mobile phones.
Hanke added, “To keep track of how your business listing is performing on Google, we offer a personalized dashboard within Google Places that includes data about how many times people have found your business on Google, what keywords they used to find it and even what areas people traveled from to visit your business. With the dashboard, you can see how your use of any of these new features affects interest in your business and make more informed decisions about how to be found on Google and interact with your customers.”
One out of five searches on Google are related to location, so it makes sense to take advantage of the new features announced by Google Places today. But they would have been worth using even if the name hadn’t changed.
Hanke says there will be additional posts on the Lat Long blog throughout the week to provide a deeper dive into many of these new features. Or, if you’re already to get started, go to google.com/places.
Get it? Got it? Good.