Changes introduced recently to Google Places could have an effect on local businesses and searchers.
Google Places is a valuable resource for the search engine optimisation of a business, and the changes introduced by Google could be significant, with more changes promised.
The main change is to the reviews section. The emphasis is now firmly placed on reviews from Google users rather than on third party sites. A list of reviews is shown, which have been produced by Google users, with links to third party sites appearing below the displayed reviews. This could be advantageous for businesses, as third party reviews were previously displayed at the top of the page with a preview on display. Occasionally, a review would be displayed which gave incorrect feedback and in some cases, not even for the right business. As these reviews were often the first item viewed by a Google user, they had a significant effect on the level of custom.
There are now two buttons for ‘write a review’ to encourage Google users to leave their comments. Some pages will appear slightly differently, depending upon the type of business. For instance, a hotel will have the ‘book now’ interface displayed above the photos section.
The removal of citations from other local businesses could have a huge effect upon the SEO campaign of a business, whether it‘s in Scotland or Liverpool. The referencing of a business from other web pages had a significant effect on search engine optimisation, and changes to a campaign may now be necessary. Google has stated that it will be making further improvements to the Places page.