Posted April 20, 2010 2:40 am by with 6 comments

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In what is largely just a name change with a few new twists, Google has changed its Local Business Center to Google Places. It makes sense considering that an actual business listing in the Local Business Center was called a place page then why not clean things up a little, right?

Search Engine Land Reports

Google has decided to change the name of what was called the “Google Local Business Center” to “Google Places.” The rationale, according to the press release, is to better connect Google Place Pages with the place where local business information is claimed, entered and enhanced:

Why? Millions of people use Google every day to find places in the real world, and we want to better connect Place Pages – the way that businesses are being found today – with the tool that enables business owners to manage their presence on Google.

This video gives one of Google’s quick overviews of Google Places.

Google continues to push the local aspect of search as the mobile Internet increases in scope and there is the realization that while we believe that we live in a more global setting we still actually live locally. Even when we are traveling to another area of the country (or the world for that matter) we now become a “local” as far as searching for goods and services is concerned. It’s almost as if the world was so enamored with being to see the rest of the world through the Internet that we forgot that we are local people and consumers by default.

Some other information of interest is that if you live in Chicago, San Diego, Seattle, Boulder, San Francisco you can now join the test cities of San Jose, CA and Houston, TX in getting a Tag for your listing (formerly known as an Enhanced Listing) for $25 per month. Also, if you are in the right city you can have interior pictures of your business taken by Google. You can apply for this option but there are no guarantees.

Lastly, as part of this announcement Google gave some data that should be of interest to those who already care or should care about their local listing in Google.

  • More than 4 million business listings on Google claimed by business owners (using the Local Business Center, now Google Places)
  • Nearly 2 million listings have been claimed in the United States
  • 20% of searches on Google are related to location
  • There are 50 million Place Pages
  • Place Pages are viewed millions of times each day
  • We have mailed out Favorite Places window decals to around 200,000 businesses around the United States

So while most of the change that is being announced by Google is around the name its really just another reason for Google to tell all of us that local search is the real deal. Google has pushed other services hard in the past but the amount of local and mobile announcements over the past six months clearly spells out Google’s commitment to this side of the search world. Is it because it will make your life better? Sure! Oh, and it should make boatloads of cash which will make some folks at other search engines scratch their heads even more.

  • Thanks for posting this, I missed it over at Search Engine Land earlier. I was not aware that 20% of all searches are related to location. That is just huge. Just more proof that more and more people are relying on the Internet (specifically Google) instead of their phone books or other offline directories. It’s too bad that there are literally millions and millions of businesses out there that are not taking advantage of this free service, to think it has such potential to really give them a boost.

  • Great post! Since I completed my G places I have started getting impressions and few clicks here and there. Will try to find ways to promote it and see if something worth can come out of it. Thanks for sharing the info. Great stuff!

  • yeah, this segment internet marketing is getting a lot of buzz right now. There is so much money following the marketing of these geo-targeted locations.
    .-= Wynne´s last blog ..Are You Using Effective Call to Actions On Your Website? =-.

  • Thanks for the Post…and the Comments…

    I also agree there is a great deal of attention currently being devoted to Local Search Marketing and Google –

    This area of Search Marketing is starting to get more recognition as people are starting to see actual results. While claiming your listing on Google is the “First” step, there are still quite a few things which can be done to achieve higher local rankings. I would suspect we are going to see more of an increase in this area (at least over the next 12 months). Thanks Again…

  • deelirium

    That’s nice. But how about they fix the system so I can actually claim my multiple business locations and delete the gazillion inaccurate duplicate listings. I’ve been trying for almost 2 years and still haven’t been able to claim them all, no matter how many postcards I request and never receive.

    Google needs desperately to invest in a customer service center. I don’t even care if I talk to someone in India, at least I’m talking to *someone.*

  • WOW!! Great Article!!

    Google Places is the future. If your brick and mortar store or online site is not on the map, then you will not be found. Everyone better get there!!
    Scott Mosteller
    .-= scott mosteller´s last blog ..Getting High Google Page Rank with Google Maps Cash System =-.