The speculation around upcoming changes with Google Places had been circulating within the search community for quite some time now. Perhaps the not so recent launch of Google+ Local served as an indication that Google had bigger plans for an integration within its competitive Google+ social media network. For many local small businesses Google Places search serves as a lead generation hub in driving local traffic into their door. Did Google purposely flip the lights on Google Places Search?
During the past week or perhaps last few days Google seems to have omitted the Places selection previously available under the “More” search option in the SERPs traffic selection.
It’s no coincidence by any means and definitely not the first time Google pulled another one of its hat tricks on loyal John Q. Public. Is the elimination of Google Places an indicator to the finalized Google+ Local integration? How will this drastic change affect businesses around the globe?
For some time now Google has worked diligently upon development of a more cohesive approach to portraying businesses in its SERPs as part of its Google Business Listings/Google Places network. Perhaps Google+ Local pages as part of the Google+ social network are meant to completely replace Google Places. A great article on 10 Things SEOs & SMBs Should Know About New Google Places Dashboard over at Search Engine Land charts a realistic perspective on the new enhancements
I wouldn’t hold my breath on Places ever making a comeback under the “More” section. However there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully it arrives sooner rather than later though. Google continues to implement and roll-out various improvements to Google Places. As it stands no ETA has been disclosed on when this transition may be completed though.
What’s your thoughts on Google Places? Are you an active participant of the Google Places Network? How will this change affect lead generation for your brand?