If you do not already know, I am a big fan of Google’s Local Business Listing, now called Google Places. For local businesses, it can be the most effective way to get new business and it is free from Google. Google wants you to embellish your Google Place, but Google has control of it, not you, the business owner. It is the wild west on the internet and you need to keep vigilant (keep reading my blog) so that you can take advantage of those changes.
Google’s control is highlighted by the latest change of your Local Business Listing – The addition of “Nearby Places you might like”. This feature could have both positive and negative effects on your business.
Google’s Nearby Places could give your established customers the idea to go to a competitor, or you could be the competitor and steal their customer.
So what has Google done? In the middle of your Local Business Listing Google has placed a section that list other business that may be of interest to someone who is looking at your business. As an example I am going to look at Upholstery in Carlsbad.
Round 1 – Fanco’s Upholstery gets the attention
In the example, Francos Upholstery is the top of the list of Google local places for the search Upholstery near Carlsbad, CA. Learn more about how to get on the top of Google Places here.
It is on the top so most people will click on it to find out more… It is clear Franco’s owners are taking an active participation in embellishing their local business listing, they have a review and have created a coupon
But look what is below that – My favorite Upholstery store, La Costa Upholstery, with 15 reviews and a 5 star rating. My guess is most people will click on La Costa Upholstery at this point.
Round 2 – La Costa Upholstery steals attention
So now let’s look at La Costa Upholstery’s situation with the roles reversed. La Costa Upholstery does not have a coupon (They need to work on that), but if you look at the competitors in Nearby places (including Franco’s Upholstery) you would not click on any of them (Maybe We-R-Fabrics).
So Google addition of Nearby places should help La Costa Upholstery and hurt Franco’s Upholstery.
So what does Google say about Nearby Places?
Here is Google’s description of what they are doing in Nearby Places in a local business listing:
You’ll notice that we do not limit these suggestions to places sharing any specific characteristic; instead, we use a broad set of signals to come up with what are hopefully the most interesting suggestions. We’re still working on refining these signals, so bear with us if your serendipitous discovery of a new place is even more unexpected than you’d anticipated.
The reality is that most of the businesses listed in this section of your Google Places are going to be competitors to your business. Like all things on the internet, Google Places is going to continue to change, so you need to keep vigilant of those changes and benefit from those changes and make your competitors suffer.
What is a Local Business to do?
Given that you are not in control, what can you do? The answer is to push the Nearby Places section as far down your page as possible. This means adding content, pictures, video and REVIEWS. Here is the complete Local Business listing for La Costa Upholstery. You have to read a lot of very positive info about La Costa Upholstery before you see the competition in Nearby Places.
Round 3 – La Costa Upholstery keeps attention and get the phone call from the customer.
What are your first impressions of “Nearby places you may like?” Tell us if you you share our concern by leaving a comment below.