Google Places Vs Google Maps

Local SEO is definitely going to play a huge part in the role of organic search engine optimization in the coming years. Its impact is already seen in a wide variety of searches. Soon the familiar real estate axiom will be equally applicable to search: location is everything.

Lately, a lot of our clients have been asking questions about Google Places. How is Google Places different from Google Maps? Why do I need to claim my place listing? How many listings should my business have?

Hopefully this FAQ will clear up some of the uncertainty surrounding this topic.

How is Google Places different from Google Maps?
The short answer: Google Maps has been around much longer. Business names and addresses have been searchable on Google Maps for several years. However, in the past few years, Google rolled out “Places.” This gave businesses (and customers) an opportunity to provide more than just the basic “phone book” information. Essentially, the “Places” listing replaces the old, very basic “Maps” listing. Now, Google Maps is strictly the module that Google Places uses to locate a business.

When Do People See my Places Listing?
A Google Places listing can be seen by potential customers in a number of different ways:

1. In mobile scenarios, people can download the Google Places app, which shows them all of the different businesses in their immediate area. These can be filtered and searched by dozens of different variables (restaurants, retail, price range, reviews, etc.)

2. When people are using the Google Maps website to get directions or explore a neighborhood, Places listings will show up in the map.

3. The most likely place a customer will encounter your places listing – and the most important to SEO – is when performing a standard Web search. If someone searches “Florists,” the first several results will likely be Google Places listings for florists in the surrounding area.
Google Places Search Results

What Kind of Searches will Result in Places Listings Being Returned?
This is where the most change is happening regarding local search. At first, Places pages would only return for searches with location modifier keywords (e.g. “Columbus OH Florists”). Now, Places pages will show up in search results even without a location being part of the search, depending on if Google can estimate the searcher’s location.

Places pages are most likely to return for inquiries about services (“Dry Cleaning” or “Dentist”); businesses providing a specific product (“Pizza” or “Shoes”); or entertainment/activities (“Museums” or “Miniature Golf”).

However, we are now seeing Places pages showing up for less specific searches.

Why Is there Already a Listing for my Business?
Google gets most of the information for its local listings from telephone providers. This is why Google asks for a phone number and not an address to create a new listing. Additionally, new listings can be created by… anyone! They can also be edited, updated and changed.

Why do I need to Claim My Listing?
Claiming your listing has several benefits. The first and most important is that it “locks” your listing to everyone else. People can still rate your business and add comments. But general business info (as well as strategic information, such as products carried or links to your website) can only be changed by you.

Another benefit is that claiming your listing provides information on who is viewing it. You can see how many times your listing has shown up in searches, how many people viewed it, even how many people asked for directions!
Google Places Dashboard

How Do I Go About Claiming My Listing?
Unfortunately, claiming your listing is a slightly complicated process. This is understandable, because if Google is going to give complete control over a business listing, they want to make absolutely sure it is the owner or an authorized representative who is trying to claim it.

The exact process is a little different for each business. If you have multiple locations, you can even upload a CSV file to claim all of them at once.

Webbbed would be more than happy to provide more information and help you claim your business listing. Just contact us with any of your Internet marketing questions!

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