Google Local Business Center is now Google Places

google places image

In April 2010 Google renamed the Goggle Local Business Center to Google Places – here’s the highlight’s of the changes introduced.

First, there’s nothing to panic about if you’re already claimed your local business in Google Maps and spent time producing a good and optimized listing. All your prior work is preserved and nothing should be broken in transition.

In essence Google Places has been merged with the Google Local Business Center.

The Local Business Center was where business owners could edit their business listing that appeared whenever Google presented Google Map results. With this merger Google has taken the opportunity to add some nice new features into your Google Places account.

Service Area:

Home-based businesses have long been left out in the cold when it comes to competing for customers looking for a service or product outside their home town. But if you’re a business that visits other locales to deliver your service you can now identify a service area. So if you’re a carpet cleaner with a service area of 30 miles then you can now compete for customers in that larger area rather than being confined to your business location.

Google also added the option to hide your address when completing a service area boundary as well.

Create a Tag to Highlight your Listing:

Google has introduced a way to highlight your listing in Maps and with a yellow tag marker against your listing. This does not affect your ranking but does make it stand out. This is a paid service for $25 per month. At the moment first month is free as a trial.

Customized QR Codes:

Those funny looking QR codes are available for download in your Google Place dashboard and they contain unique information about your business that you can print on business cards and marketing materials. People with smartphones can scan the code and be taken directly to your Google Places listing.

Additional Features:

Google is willing to do a free photo shoot of your business if you live in certain select cities. These photos can supplement the photos you’ve already uploaded into your listing and are interior photos only – sign-up here. Google is interested in places like hotels, restaurants, and retail shops. Google has also initiated sending out more decals called Favorite Palaces to businesses. The decals can be displayed in your window or elsewhere and contain your QR Code.

And finally, in case you didn’t think what others are saying about you is important – well, Google thinks it is as explained here…

What People Are Saying About You:

Getting reviews has always been helpful in rankings within local search results but now Google will pull snippets from the web whenever it finds mention of your businesses and present them as additional information in your listing. This is something you’ll not have any control over and Google is as likely to pull in not so great snippets as positive ones about your business.

See my post on “How to Get Online Reviews for your Local Business” to ensure what people are saying about you is mostly positive.

One in five searches on Google are related to a location and so if your business listing can do with some sprucing up then Google has made it even easier for you to get found with marrying these new features with many of the previous ones.

We recently updated our free eBook How to Get Your Local Business Listed in Local Search on the Internet to include the revisions at Google Places and you can get your hands on a complimentary copy along with our free Internet Marketing for Small Business Course here.

Cliff Calderwood
New England Local Marketing
5 Goss Pond Road, Suite 200
Upton, Massachusetts 01568
508 479 2840

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