Yesterday Google announced that it was changing the name of Google Local to Google Places. If you’re interested in why Google doesn’t have a unique domain name – yet – for Google Places, you can read about that at Search Marketing Standard. It’s a good read.
But whether you think Google screwed up or hit a home run, this is an important step for all of us, especially local business. Google says that one in five searches are local so if you have a local business then you need to claim your business at Google Places. Don’t wait.
Here are some of the new features Google has added to Google Places:
- Claim your own service area and hide your address
- For select cities, you can add tags to your listing for $25
- Add photos
- Get custom QR codes
- Join the Favorite Places program
- Add real-time updates
- Track your progress with your own personalized dashboard
Seriously, this looks like a good deal to me. Could Google have rolled it out in a more strategic manner? Yes. But that they’ve done this and done it now says a lot about how serious Google is about local search marketing. I chalk it up as a plus.