Another Look at Google Place Pages

By Greg Sterling

When I wrote my original post on Google Place Pages I was under incredible time pressure. But I wanted to take another look at what Google has done, because it’s potentially quite significant – although less significant than if Google were indexing these pages in search results (more on that below).

Here’s a search for SOMA, San Francisco — a neighborhood:

Picture 52

Click the map and then “more info” and you arrive at the new page — being created for every business, landmark/POI, neighborhood and city:

Picture 53

The new SOMA Place Page:

Picture 54

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What’s there:

  • Ads for things related to SOMA (although Bing really isn’t)
  • Related maps that can offer a lot of value (created often by users, e.g., “Ben’s Guide to San Francisco“)
  • Popular places (being indexed here may be significant for certain venues and attractions)
  • Video and images
  • Street View

That these pages are engaging and create highly targeted ad inventory should be obvious. They each have a URL but Google told me they won’t be indexed (but see Mike B’s post). That’s probably a political decision to keep people from screaming that Google’s favoring its own properties. The only way then to get to these pages is to click on “more info.” Thus there somewhat buried. But people will probably discover them given the visibility and volumes of searches on Google Maps.

The big departure for Google, beyond the new format, is the creation of these pages for neighborhoods, landmarks and cities. Formerly information was mostly available for business locations. The addition of places and POIs makes these pages a potentially great discovery tool for travel and tourism. Indeed, Hitwise categorizes Google Maps under Travel.

Here’s a comparable page for a local business:

Picture 58

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My belief is that increasing numbers of local businesses will claim these pages because they will be visible and widely consulted by consumers (notwithstanding my “buried” remark above). And again they’ll have their own URL so local businesses can link to them.

Imagine if Google were to index these pages in search results; their impact would be huge. But Google is saying it’s not going to. These pages aren’t yet available for mobile devices but some version of them will be in time.

What do you think the impact of these changes will be, if any, on:

  • Small busnesses
  • Consumer behavior
  • Locally targeted AdWords
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