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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Google Local Business Center Becomes "Google Places"

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.

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There are some additional things being announced with the name change:

  • Service areas (previously announced)
  • Enhanced listings ($25 per month) renamed “Tags.” Adding to its initial markets, Houston and San Jose (CA), Google is adding Chicago, San Diego, Seattle, Boulder and San Francisco.
  • Business Photos: free interior photography of the business.
  • Customized QR codes that are unique to an individual business and “can be placed on business cards or other marketing materials, and customers can scan them with certain smartphones to be taken directly to the mobile version of the Place Page for that business.”
  • Favorite Places (round 2)

Google is also emphasizing the ability to add coupons and “real-time updates” to Place Pages. Google is also touting a newly created “Help Center” (not live as of this posting).

The company is also doing an introductory webinar for businesses unfamiliar with Google’s promotional tools and Place Pages. There are also a number of “case study” SMB videos on YouTube.

Many of these features had been previously exposed or announced. However the interior Business Photos had been discussed but not formally announced until today. The QR code functionality had been part of the Favorite Places decals but that has now been expanded and turned over to the individual businesses.

This should be seen as the opening of a new push by Google into the local market bringing closer together its SMB promotional and consumer assets and cementing a local “brand” around “Places.” As an added bonus Google throws in some statistics, a few of which we haven’t seen before:

  • 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

In particular:

  • 4 million business listings on Google claimed by business owners; nearly 2 million listings have been claimed in the United States
  • 20% of searches on Google are related to location

By contrast comScore has previously reported that 11% or 12% of searches are local. According to comScore, in March Google had 14.3 billion search queries. Twenty percent of that would represent roughly 2.8 billion local queries.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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