In the ever changing landscape of the internet we are always seeing changes. The challenge most of us face is analyzing what these changes mean and how will it affect the ranking of your site and how do we harness these changes for the greatest benefit. Google has made a new update to Google Places, your search results will now show a “grey pinned” result as opposed to the red pin markers you all are used to. The change may seem subtle to first glance but there are some new great features that have been added with this latest Google Places update and more rumored to come like a spam filter for reviews.
The new grey pin 7 pack will take up more vertical space on your computer screen. Google keeps pushing to move organic results further down the page putting a greater focus on places listings. Which makes it that much more crucial to optimize your google places listing. The map will now take on a rectangular shape which will display the same geographical area but will also increase the visible geographic area as you make your screen larger. The pins will all appear grey until you mouse over the listing making the pin red as well as revealing the the right of the listing a gray rectangular box with 2 right arrows that once you mouse over will provide you with an overview of the business.
Owner Verified listings will be the new shinning stars in the updated Google Places. The more information provided in your listing the more that google can scrape from the places listing for their algorithm generated snippet of your business including a thumbnail of your home page, 5 photos, reviews, hours of service etc. The hidden places content is coming to surface in many results. However with the new changes it is harder to get to the actual places page as you are getting directed towards the website.
The new changes are also putting a new focus on adwords. The rectangular map allows 20% to 25% more ad’s to be displayed on the right hand side, making use of that precious space above the fold. There is also a differentiation on the map for adwords express ad’s the map now displays a blue marker for any adwords express ad that is shown on that page, giving it a definitive distinction between all the red markers on the map.