April 20th, 2010, Google announced that the local business center is becoming Google Places. Google states that this will allow users to find more informative places where to go. The new Google Places will include non-merchant places such as museums, schools and even parks.
Google States “Four million businesses have already claimed their Place Page on Google through the Local Business Center, which enables them to verify and supplement their business information to include hours of operation, photos, videos, coupons, product offerings and more. It also lets them communicate with customers and get insights that help them make smart business decisions.”
The New Google Places Even Has Several New Features!
New and Important Service Areas in Google Maps
If your business requires you to traveling order to serve your customers, you can actually show the geographical areas which you serve.
If you run a business without a storefront of office location, you are also able to make your address private. this is huge for businesses that operate from home.
You Can Now Advertise Your Business on Maps
For about 25 dollars a month you can stand out from business in select cities!
Google Places Offers a Free Business Photo Shoot
With Google Local Listings Center you were only allowed to upload pictures which you had. Now, Google Places will allow you to request a FREE photo shoot which can be used to supplement existing photos.
Customized QR codes – Easily Allows Users To Access Your Listing Online and From Mobile Phones!
The dashboard of Google Places allows you to get a unique QR code for the business that can be places on many marketing materials such as business cards. Customers can even scan them (only selected smart phones can do this) and you can be directly taken to the mobile version of that business listing!
With one out of five searches on Google being location related, Google just wants business to be able to sell themselves accordingly and “put their best foot forward”
Jennifer Gayadin is a SEO Search Strategist for Amsive Digital, a NYC Search Marketing Firm