You will no longer find the Places search menu option in Google’s More Dropdown. This option has been around for years, ever since Google began providing blended (Organic + Places) "Red Bubble" listings (A, B, C, etc.) back in 2010.
Google appears to be re-branding the “old” Places Listing as we have known and loved them, to become a part of Google Plus.
Currently all you will see in relation to “Places” today is either the 3 Pack (A, B, C) or the 7 Pack (A, B, C, D, E, F, G) on a Web search. The Google Maps Menu Choice is still intact.
The image above is CURRENTLY how these blended listings are displaying from most of the Google Servers. But... we are also seeing a new display that is being touted as the Local Carousel Display that looks very, very different. This display isn't available on every Local Search, or even on every Google Server at the moment, but we anticipate this is where Google is going to go with their local listing results. IE: The old 3 and 7 pack. At the moment, we are seeing this for SOME Restaurant and Lodging location searches.
I recently wrote an article for the upcoming PAII NOW Magazine titled: "The Stark Reality of Online Reviews". I completed and submitted this article to PAII on April 1, 2013. In this article I wrote: "We are now seeing Google using these reviews [Google+ Reviews] and ratings as part of their search results and we expect to see these reviews and ratings continue to impact your Google placement on into the future. Google’s mission has always been to position “quality” sites higher in their search results for the surfing public. So it only makes sense that Google is going to want to show businesses with higher review and rating scores than those with low ones, right?"
Let's take a look at the Local Carousel Display in a bit more detail.
Humm - The Ratings Filter, when used by your guests, is going to filter out properties that...
A) Do NOT have 10 Google+ Reviews (and)
B) Do NOT have a high enough Zagat Score to sustain higher filtering levels
So, what does all this mean for Innkeepers and your Bottom Line? - - - Because we all know, all you have to do is to take a quick look at your Google Analytics to KNOW that Google is typically your NUMBER #1 referrer of traffic. In short, you need to make sure you are going to show up in the Local Carousel, and not just show up, but show up closer to #1 than to #18, and have the best possible G+ Zagat Score.
1) You need to establish a Google+ Profile for both YOU the owner, and for your BUSINESS
2) Your "old" Local Listing must be claimed (which are currently auto-merging with your G+ Business Profile when properly set-up)
3) You need to grow your Google+ Reviews at a natural speed (at least 10 to get a score that can be filtered)
4) Your Google+ Reviews MUST BE POSITIVE ones
5) You should have your Author and Publisher Tags set for best Organic Visibility
I fear that Innkeepers that are not staying on top of their online marketing, either by...
A) Paying a quality company to DO IT FOR THEM (or)
B) Participating in an Ongoing Educational Program where they learn how to DIY and actually DOING IT themselves.
...are going to fall so far behind the curve of all the constant Google changes that recovery may be difficult, if not impossible when they finally get around to addressing their lost traffic and revenue.
It is way past time for you to be doing the items on the checklist above.
If you know you need to be doing more, please, we encourage you to join Acorn University and find out how to keep your business going strong, and not be trampled by the ever changing, ever growing, Google machine.
Don't want to DIY? Call us at 877-226-7699 to find out how we can DO IT FOR YOU!