Today, Google announced that it has changed the name of the Google Business Center to Google Places. While the announcement itself may not have raised many eyebrows, the statistics that Google included with the press release certainly have.
According to Google, 20 percent of all searches are related to location. Since comScore reports that 14.3 billion searches were conducted through Google in March, this means nearly 3 billion Google search queries contained local terms.
The Google announcement also contained the following statistics:
- More than 4 million business listings on Google have been claimed by business owners (using the Local Business Center, now Google Places)
- Nearly 2 million listings have been claimed in the United States
- Google has nearly 50 million Place Pages covering all types of places ranging from businesses to parks
- Google Place Pages are viewed millions of times each day
These statistics only reiterate what we’ve known for years – local search optimization is a crucial part of any SEO campaign. If 20 percent of all searches come with local qualifiers, you could possibly be missing out on up to 20 percent of your potential traffic by neglecting to optimize for local search terms.
To help local businesses further develop their local search strategies, Google also announced today that a number of new features have been added to Google Places. These features include:
- Service areas – Businesses that serve clients throughout a geographic area can now mark the areas they serve.
- Tags – Tags cost $25 a month and can be attached to Google Places profiles to promote business features or specials. Tags are only available in certain areas, which Google expanded today to include three new cities – Austin, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
- Free Business Photo Shoots – Google can send photographers to businesses in select cities for free photo shoots of their interiors. Let Google know if you’re interested in a photo shoot, and a photographer may come take pictures of your business.
- Customizable QR Codes – Businesses can now create their own QR code to place on marketing material like business cards. These codes can be scanned by smartphones and send users directly to the business’s Google Place Page.
Google is investing more time into local search, shouldn’t you? Start optimizing for local search with this quick guide to local search and improve your Google Places listing with help from this Fathom blog post.