Internet giant Google has recently launched a new Google Maps feature known as Place Pages. The main aim of these pages will be to include as much information about places (businesses or cities) in one spot. For example, if I search for “The Point Albert Park” on Google Maps, and I go to the ‘more info’ link for its listing (it’s a popular restaurant in Melbourne, Victoria), I will get reviews, photos, the map listing, directions, street view, and more.
This feature will allow businesses to have their own page at Google. As a business owner, you can submit specific categories you want to include in your own listings, which can be claimed through Google’s Local Business Center. You need to make sure you claim your listing and do what you can to incorporate the right, relevant information on it.
Every new development comes with its share of pros and cons. There is a huge possibility that such business pages may show up in natural search listings in regular Google web searches. And, searchers might actually want to click on these links instead of the business’ site itself. Secondly, Google will allow the listing of sponsored ads on these pages. There is a chance they could end up showing ads for competitors.
Business pages can also include user-generated content. This means, if someone is leaving negative reviews and feedback about your business and it is showing up on your page, you will have a big trouble in controlling and managing your online reputation.
These issues are being addressed and a solution, which will not hurt search engine optimization or Internet marketing campaigns, is being looked for. Whether or not businesses will benefit from this feature remains to be seen.
It will definitely prove to be a positive development for a number of small businesses that do not generate too much of online traffic through their websites. These business pages are also expected to help small business owners provide potential customers the information they need, which could eventually lead to sales.