Post updates and badges are the latest additions
For those of you unfamiliar with “Place Pages”, they are the local search listings displayed when a user searches regionally for businesses. Yesterday, Google announced their most recent changes to Place Pages at their Google LatLong Blog. While the changes may go unnoticed by many, at least one of them gives you the opportunity to out market less knowledgeable competitors.
Post Updates on Your Page
The most important update to Place Pages is the ability to post updates to a listing if you have claimed ownership. The updates are similar to a status update you might post on Facebook or Twitter giving you yet another way to convey a message about your business to potential customers.
The image below displays (marked in the red outline) the provided box to post an update to the listing. You can navigate to this option by clicking on the “view report” link from the Google Local Business dashboard tab.
Once posted, your message is displayed on the information page of your local search listing. In this case (see below), Mission Mountain Winery has announced a new wine offering. The message does expire after 30 days but there is no apparent limit to the number of times a business can post updates.
Now that you have the ability to post real-time announcements to a new audience it opens up more possibilities in the local search arena. Bar owners can announce upcoming band appearances. Contractors might want to announce the completion of their latest project with a link to pictures. Restaurants can post their specials.
Whether this is seen by a significant number of consumers remains to be seen, but the fact that it exists is pretty exciting. The analytics supplied by Google on the reporting page will give you some feedback on how many people are seeing your updates.
Badges For Your Claimed Pages
Google has also added a badge on claimed pages that reads “Owner-verified listing”. This serves to let the consumer know that the information provided in the listing has presumably been added by the business itself. Also, a similar message stating “From the owner” is added to the end of any post updates.
The assumption is that readers will have greater confidence in the information provided (such as directions, address and business hours) if in fact it has been verified by the business owner. This is obviously another reason to claim your listing if you haven’t taken the time to do so.
If you own or handle the marketing for a small business, Google Place Pages may be the single most important tool in your online arsenal. These latest additions combined with coupons, photos, YouTube videos and more can make for a pretty compelling local search listing.
It’s important to remember that many consumers access local search listings from their mobile phones so your marketing efforts should account for that. You can bet I’ll be testing mobile coupons combined with post messages in order to attract mobile users. For more information on how to claim your local search listing on Google and other search platforms, you may want to try the free tool at GetListed.org.