On Wednesday Google announced a new layout for their places search engine results pages. This is apparently the first of a few changes to their layout, with a view to giving Google Places more prominence on page 1.
There’s been a lot of ‘hoo-haa’ about what this will mean for businesses, the negative aspects of having less organic results on Page 1 and an increased presence of Places search. But, what about the positives? What if this is actually a good thing?
For any bricks and mortar businesses, this represents a real opportunity to get one over on their 3rd party counterparts.
A medium size hotel in Edinburgh looking to dominate page 1 for their branded keyword will benefit from the change if the volume of organic results decreases and a Google Place listing for their property is one of the top results.
Not only should they have their site displayed highly, they’ll also have a Google Place search listing (or perhaps multiple if they have more than one hotel in that location).
This will all help in pushing 3rd parties down the page, reducing the amount of 3rd party (highly commissionable) transactions as a result of branded traffic.
Yes, Google Places does have it’s flaws.
However there’s certainly opportunity for web savvy businesses to take full advantage of these changes, translating them into bottom line gain.
For more on the changes, visit Google’s Blog at http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/place-search-faster-easier-way-to-find.html