A report from BIA/Kelsey shows that 90 percent of consumers use search engines to research products or services in their areas, and the new Google Places may help marketers get noticed by nearby consumers. Google announced yesterday that it will be rolling out Places Search – a new search option that organizes results around specific locations.
When users search for products, activities or places, the results for Places are marked with red pins (similar to those in current Google Maps searches). The locations of results are also displayed on a map on the right side of the screen. Each result features a snippet of information relevant to the query and offers links to sites, including TripAdvisor and Yelp, where users can find reviews.
Google explains that Places Search results will appear automatically when users type in queries that lend themselves to local listings. Additionally, users can click on Places on the left-hand panel before or after conducting a search to see local results.
Places Search could help marketers connect with nearby consumers, and the new search feature comes with SEO implications that must be considered by businesses that want to come out on top of Places Search results. By dedicating an entire page to local results, Google is increasing the value of locally targeted keywords, and marketers may want to optimize their sites accordingly.
The launch of Google Places search is one of many new advances from Google that enhance local web listings. Earlier this week, Google announced a new ad format – Google Boost. As Google explained, Boost enables marketers to create online search ads directly through Places accounts, providing just a brief description and specifying a monthly budget. Then, Google automatically displays ads on Google and Google Maps according to queries from consumers in a business' area.