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The importance of Google Places

For most local businesses, Google Places  (now Google My Business) was seen as something ‘you could do’, but due to the pace of smartphone development, it is fast becoming ‘something you must do’.

The faster search feature on Google Maps and the new ‘filter by ratings’ button will mean many businesses with bad a reputation will be ignored. Keeping an eye on your reviews has never been so important.

Google Maps lists the following information (in order of prominence):

  1. Name of Business
  2. Address
  3. Picture
  4. Reviews

You can filter the results by distance and ratings. Once into your listing, the app shows some contact buttons below the first set of details which link directly to your Google Places info.

Under the contact buttons are more in-depth reviews which are rated with stars and colours.

The first question to ask yourself is ‘what are people saying about my business?’. All reviews come from a variety of sources but these are the main ones:

  1. qype.co.uk
  2. tripadvisor.com
  3. restaurant-guide.com
  4. trustedplaces
  5. touchlocal

Many of these sites allow you to register your business and then contest any reviews that are unfounded and damaging. We are sure that the first defamation case involving a Google Places review cannot be far away, so businesses and users beware.

On a programming note, Google has opened up a new API for Google Places. Developers building apps that include a “check-in at this place” feature can use the Places API to search across all the places a user might check in for basic information, such as business name, address, phone number and other descriptive information.

This information will be editable by the business owner and no caching of data is allowed, so apps will have to ping Google Places regularly for real-time data.

You can provide up-to-date information on any location that your customer may be visiting, which makes for a very interesting location-based world.

If you would like us to help with your listings, or you have any thoughts on location-based interfaces for your web experience please drop us a line.

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