I saw this posted somewhere online and was shocked at the notion that this question even was asked. It’s almost like asking why is Google important to driving traffic to your site?
Anyways, just as a refresher, Google Places is Google’s answer to the Yellow Pages. You don’t even have to have a web site to get listed, and you can dominate the top positions for service related businesses. Perfect example – type in any US city + plumber and you’ll see the search results. There are many listings provided by Google Places (The icons that are labeled “A”, “B”, “C”, etc).
As part of Google’s World Domination plan, part of this will be accomplished by trying to replace YP.com and all other listing services (since you have to pay for premium listings on those sites). Google Places allow you to upload images, photos, coupons and services your company provides.
So how does a listing go from obscurity to the “A” ranking?
You know it: Reviews.
Only a few years ago, Google and Yelp had a great relationship. Yelp is one of the better sites in regards to real people commenting about their experiences with restaurants and local businesses. When Google pushed Yelp to change it’s data feed to make it easier for Google to parse, Yelp told them “No”, and Google dropped Yelp as a site that was used as part of the ranking algorithm for having a site with top listings for their Google Places Page.
So what is that replacement? I know you already knew the answer. Google Reviews.
Now they are weighing the reviews left by other Google users as an important factor in ranking your Google Places listing. Fair or not, it’s Google’s game, and they are making the rules. Those who use Yelp are reluctant to also leave the same review twice, just under different services, so many small business owners have lost their rankings because they spent so much time getting those Yelp reviews to now see that they have vanished in helping them get ranked.
Yet again, Google has changed what it wants and while it’s good for business (for seo’s at least) it’s a pain in the arse for everyone else who now has to go out and start earning those reviews.
Lucky for all you readers, I have a Google Places service that can help you out. Contact us today and we can get you on the path to those coveted top spots in the Google Places listings.