Dec
21

Google refines local search with Place Search tool

Google further honed its local search Thursday, introducing Place Search, a new program that organizes information around specific locations so users “can more easily make comparisons and decide where to go,” and should snip about two seconds off such searches.

“Say you’re looking for that great barbecue restaurant with live music,” writes Jackie Bavaro, Google product manager, on the company’s blog. With Place Search, checking barbecue joints in the city of Austin, you get the result shown above, marked with red pins.

“Each one is a unique restaurant with relevant information and links from across the web,” Bavaro wrote. “I can see that Stubb’s has live music, and I can click citysearch.com, tripadvisor.com and other sites to read reviews. In the past, the same search would return links with information about Stubb’s in different parts of the results page … Now information is grouped conveniently to make it easier to digest and compare.”

SearchEngineWatch.com noted that Place Search is “dramatically redrawing the search marketing landscape. It’s more critical than ever for businesses to implement a local search, online review, and search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to achieve prominent visibility in the results Google displays for location specific searches.”

Place Search results “will begin appearing automatically on Google when we predict you’re looking for local information,” Bavaro said. Users will also see a new link for “Places” in the left-hand panel of the search results page “so you can switch to these results whenever you want.”

Place Search dynamically connects “hundreds of millions of websites with more than 50 million real-world locations,” she said.

“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. Instead of doing eight or 10 searches, often you’ll get to the sites you’re looking for with just one search. In our testing Place Search saves people an average of two seconds on searches for local information.”

Place Search is being rolled out now, and should be available worldwide “in more than 40 languages in the next few days,” Bavaro wrote. Google’s goal — besides making advertisers happy — is “to help you feel like a local everywhere you go.”

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