With the explosion of mobile phones and smartphones, suddenly local mobile search makes sense. Imagine you're in town and fancy a coffee - why not take out your smartphone and Google can show you where to get a coffee either in a listing or on a map. Right here, right now, without firing up your computer, or fumbling for a copy of Yellow Pages. They can even tell you which direction to walk in, and whether you need to turn around!
This is cute, but it is not only for mobile
Google has been changing the search results for everyone, not just mobile users, to make this process work better, and so any search with 'local intent' (think 'Sevenoaks Hotel') now usually features a local '3 pack' or '7 pack' - a special section with highlighted local businesses and including a map flag, reviews etc. These are derived from a directory called Google Places, and almost every business and location has their very own Google Places page.
There is an opportunity here
Google created these pages, millions of them, from various data sources and has amalgamated the data to create these Google Places pages. But Google went further and allowed business owners to claim and enhance the listings. By doing this you can get the best chance of being listed in the 3 or 7 pack for your best search phrases - and therefore get straight onto the first page of Google!
Claim your Google Places listing today!
If you haven't claimed your Google Places page then you need to do that now. Even if you have claimed your page, that it not the end of it. You still need to enhance the information on the page to stand the best chance of getting a first page listing for your most important search phrases.
blue spark can help you by organising all this for you. The process of claiming, updating and keeping the page up to date, and monitoring for changes.
This is a really important action point for most businesses in 2011, and if you are not doing something about this, then you are missing out!