Google has decided to change what use to be called the “Google Local Business Center” to what is now called Google Places. In a recent press release form Google, they indicated this is to better connect Google Place Pages with local business information.
Along with this announcement Google also indicated the release of additional features including:
- Service Areas – If you travel to serve customers, you can now show which geographic areas you serve. And if you run a business without a storefront or office location, you can now make your address private.
- Enhanced Listings ($25 per month) – Initially being rolled out to select cites: Houston and San Jose (CA), Chicago, San Diego, Seattle, Boulder and San Francisco.
- Customized QR Codes – Unique codes that can be place on business cards and other marketing materials. These codes can be scanned by certain smartphones and the Google Place Page for that business will be displayed on the mobile device.
- Business Photos – Free interior photograph of any business
- Favorite Places
- Coupons and “Real Time Updates”
- New and improved Help Center
All of these changes continue to show the importance Google is placing on Local Search Marketing for local businesses.