Your Google Places Listing
Most of you with mobile smart phones will have noticed the simple but fiendishly clever Places app on your phone. It is basically the Google search concept but made hugely powerful for the mobile "untethered" world we now live in. If you search on your web browser at your computer Google struggles to know exactly where you are based on your internet connection as that might be miles away, so the idea of local results is tricky on a PC. You can now tell Google your location (in my case that is Shrewsbury in the UK) on the Google search page and then if type in say "accountant" you should get the Google "7 pack" of local results from your area.
Now imagine that concept on the move with your mobile. If you are in your car and driving down the road with your smartphone the GPS device in the phone will be receiving location updates continuously and the results for searches you do with the places app will also change depend on your location. You can even drive into a street having typed in "pub" and see the pubs in view appear on the Places listing on your phone – assuming they have created a Google Place page.
One thing that was interesting was that I did this test for a client of ours and they were located 3 miles away from my location and they were #1 on the places listing. On driving further (BTW I was in the passenger seat) a competitor came into the listing that was actually now closer however my customer remained at #1. It is therefore interesting to see that actual distance from where you are is not necessarily the deciding factor in who gets top billing.
This has potentially huge ramifications for small businesses that want to spread their wings into different areas of their towns and counties but fear they are too far away to compete. Now the big question is how do you outrank – well that is for another post.
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