Over the past few months Google announced the addition of several new local and mobile search tools for Google Places that make it easier for users to find local businesses by personalizing their search results. Offering great opportunities for businesses, these features provide tools to customize their Google Places listings to attract their targeted local customers.
The most recent addition is ‘Open Now,’ which allows users to click the link to reveal only the establishments in their vicinity that are open at the hour they are searching. For businesses typically desired outside of the usual 8am to 6pm business hours, such as pizzerias, gas stations, and pharmacies, for example, this feature is particularly helpful. What the new Open Now feature really represents is the move toward making local search personal.
In addition to Open Now, Google Places also allows users to filter local search results by star ratings, a type of online review that indicates how others feel about a particular business, and by distance, indicating how far they are willing to travel to visit the type of business they are searching for. A mobile app already available on Android phones, Hotpot is the latest iPhone app from Google that allows iPhone users to rate a place using their phone to help them remember their experience for future reference.
The point to understand is the general direction local search is moving. The experience for users has to be personal. People want to be able to manage their online experience by specifying items that help to narrow and manage search results.
Get started ASAP in 3 simple steps:
- The first thing all business owners need to do is claim their Google Places account.
- Next you need understand what is important to your target audience groups as they search.
- And lastly, apply what you know about your customers as you use the Google Places tools to provide the right information to attract them.
Don’t underestimate how powerful Local Search has become to-date, or how important it will be to your businesses in the future.