Timing isnt everything but its a lot of things. When I took the leap from “interruptive marketing” to On Line Social Media Marketing, Rob Rance, Managing Partner of Turn the Page On Line Marketing told me that I would probably never feel comfortable with my level of knowledge as the field of SEO is constantly changing. I can tell you that he is 100% right. In the last month, search with Google Places and Local Search is changing and heating up. This can be good and bad news for business owners. First, let’s talk about the most recent changes to The King of the Jungle in search, Google – with 58% of the visits to local business websites. Most professional SEO people are looking and talking about these changes from the on-line users perspective. Here at Turn the Page, our orientation is to you- the business owner.
The Local Google Search page is changing (the layout is more organized and clean: information and photos have been rearranged ) and reflecting humanoids ever expanding desire for more information to use to evaluate, compare and judge before making in store purchasing decisions. This is good for you because your business will now be viewed by searchers using the feature Pegman (with a street view guide much like Google earth) of the neighborhood your business sits in, the facade of your establishment and the view inside your establishment as well (in some but not all locations in the U.S.) This might be bad for you if the food you serve or the offerings you have- rock in a really big way, but visually, you’re not as pleased with your physical space or it is not reflective of what searchers expect from an establishment similar to yours.
An example of a not-so-appealing restaurant. Or is it? You be the judge cause’ Local Google searchers are now!
The extraordinary copy you write in your description won’t solve that possible visual dilemma and I would guess that garnering additional awesome reviews will be even more important to attracting new customers and keeping your spot on the search list (you do have a spot on the list- right?) This is good for your business because a recent poll indicated that people are 60% more likely to patronize a local business when there were photos associated with the SERP; search engine results page. This is bad news if you do not have your business listed with Google places. Yet.
In some U.S. areas like Orange County, San Francisco, St. Petersburg, San Antonio and Phoenix (did anyone else besides me realize these are warmer destination cities in the U.S. ?) you can apply to have a Google Photographer come to your place of business and take the pictures for you! For now , as it may snow 2” tonight, Kansas City is not on that list.
I want it now!
Not only do our customers want more, they are getting it instantly. A Local Google search query (of my local Italian restaurants for example) will give me a list of results and those results can be evaluated, compared and judged by me using the instant preview feature. This feature is accessible to searchers by the >> symbol as you slide your mouse down the list next to each search result. According to my research above, if your business does not show up in search ranking A-G you don’t get an instant preview and the >> is therefore unattainable and un-instant use-able. Do not pass GO! Do not collect $200! At the top of the map you can also choose the ‘Directions’ tab which takes you right to Google Maps where you can email it to yourself and get it on your android phone. Decide and go. Cha Ching. Your customers can now make a decision to go to your restaurant, hotel, local business or landmark, (to spend their $) and will not have to go to your website to get the information they need to make a better, informed decision. Your customers will now have the new and improved Local Google Search engine.
I know. Good news- bad news- right?