Search Marketing Expert Comments on Google's New Place Search

Location Information Becomes More Critical in Search Engine Rankings

Oct 28, 2010, 15:27 ET from SIM Partners

CHICAGO, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The rollout of Google's new Place Search is dramatically redrawing the search marketing landscape. It is more critical than ever for businesses to implement a local search, online review and SEO strategy to achieve prominent visibility in the results Google displays for location specific searches.

"Place Search demonstrates Google's ongoing commitment to provide relevant results for local search queries," Jon Schepke, President of SIM Partners, a full-service interactive marketing agency, said in commenting about the changes on Search Engine Watch.

As stated by Google: "One of the great things about our approach is that it makes it easier to find a comprehensive view of each place. In our new layout you'll find many more relevant links on a single results page—often 30 or 40."

"Google's merger of organic and local search is a significant shift in the way the leading search engine displays information in search queries that trigger localized results," Schepke said. "Many businesses that rely on organic traffic to drive revenue are going to be impacted by the changes in the coming days. Unfortunately, those that aren't prepared may be in for a rude awakening as they suddenly find their listings have changed in the Google search results."

Local search is growing in popularity as consumers shift from traditional phone book directories to find products and services online. According to Google, 20 percent of all search queries are local in nature.

Google's Place Search, being phased in around the world, combines local and organic listings when users are looking for information. It is intended to cluster search results around specific locations so users can more easily make comparisons and find the information they are seeking.

Schepke advises businesses to closely monitor their search rankings, fully optimize their Google Place Page profile, and ensure that their business has a presence on the thousands of other second- and third- tier search engines and directories on the web (,, etc...) and online directories.  To optimize a Google Places listing, companies should:

  • Include relevant Places categories.
  • Utilize long and short tail keywords, while avoiding duplication of keywords.
  • Create customized fields and informative business descriptions that utilize relevant keywords.
  • Integrate brand-approved photos and videos.
  • Fill out all applicable fields, including Hours of Operations, Payment Methods, and Service Areas.
  • Utilize Google Places Posts to keep information fresh and relevant.
  • Encourage online customer reviews (be aware of what sites are feeding reviews for your business category).
  • Respond to Google customer reviews through Google Places.
  • Ensure that your Google Places flag is located in the proper spot.
  • Add coupons and experiment with Google Tags.

"Companies that have had both strong organic and local rankings will enjoy a competitive advantage in capitalizing on Google's changes," Schepke said. "Those that see a decrease in their rankings will need to move quickly in updating their search strategies in order to regain ground and get back in the game."

About SIM Partners

SIM Partners, based in Chicago, IL, is a full service, interactive marketing agency specializing in innovative, ROI-driven solutions that help Fortune 1000 companies cost-efficiently acquire customers through the use of mobile marketing, search engine marketing  and social media strategies. Our integrated and comprehensive marketing solutions are used by leading companies in the travel, home services, retail, B2B, real estate, financial services and restaurant industries. Our proprietary technology platforms are designed to help clients achieve their digital marketing goals with minimal internal resources. Our offerings include SIM Partners' Local Search Platform, our Text Messaging and Mobile Marketing Platform, mobile application development for smart phones (including iPhone and Android), and our Ask-an-Expert social media application. For more information, visit