What’s Going on with Google Places Lately?

Monday, September 19, 2011
Phil Britton

It seems that changes in Google Places occur daily. Since changes are quick, it is imperative to filter what really matters and what will be the impact. Here is a CliffsNotes version of  a few key happenings that should help you catch up.

  • “This place is permanently closed. Not true?” – this is a Google “known issue”, one that they are taking steps to resolve; the problem was made very public in a New York Times article which outlines some specific examples of the issue.
  • Not all fields that have displayed on my listing in the past are appearing on my current listings. The official word from Google is that although some fields are not displayed, they do play a role in determining the relevance of a listing.

“Just because we’re not showing it, doesn’t mean it’s not helpful for us to have — it helps our system ensure that your organic listing appears and ranks appropriately on Google and Google Maps when potential customers perform searches related to your service.” Vanessa Schneider, Community Manager, Google Places

  • Google is no longer displaying third party review content. Next to a listing that has reviews, the listing will show stars and read “Google Reviews”.  On the listing detail page it will show the review count from other sources, but without a star rating. The review space will continue to evolve, especially with the recent Google acquisition of Zagat.

Last week on Google’s Small Business blog they announced they would be accepting questions and ideas about Google Places for two weeks. Users have taken advantage of this window of transparency and have already submitted over 180 ideas. To contribute ideas and vote for the ideas Google should pursue click here. It will be interesting to see which ideas are chosen and how Google pursues them.

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