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Google Places Pages in Flux

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Since the major change to Google Places last week, several features of your Places account have vanished.

Some places accounts are missing descriptions and some are missing the store hours. The missing description was a bug and should be fixed, hopefully by the time you read this. We've already seen the store hours starting to show up again.

It seems like all of the places pages are missing the Payment Terms and Additional Details part of the Places page. The Additional Details area of your account is where we always recommended adding the brands that you carry, jewelry services, credentials, and other random keyword phrases like "diamond wedding rings."

These changes are certainly disruptive to the users who have come to expect these details. We see these changes as to detrimental so we went searching through many online forums and official Google help channels to find out what is happening.

According to what we've read, these are all changes to Google Places based on new improvements. In the Google blog
Let's move now to some tips and tricks for your Places account. We assume you are managing your places account by now. If not, you should refer to
http://www.jwag.biz/nugget for our library of tips and Places directions.

This first idea should really boost your local rankings. Change the name of your store from "Smith Jewelers" (for example) to "Jewelry Store and Engagement Rings - Smith Jewelers."

Every Google Places page is ranked using the same SEO rules as any other page on the internet. Your store name is used as the title of your Places Page; so when you add keyword phrases to your store name you are also increasing the SEO value of your Place.

You should use whatever keyword phrase is most important for you. If you specialize in custom jewelry then you could use "Custom Jewelry Design - Smith Jewelers." With this example we left off the "jewelry store" phrase, which you could too, just as long as you have "jeweler" listed in the Category field of your listing.

You have the option for 5 categories. Google seems to prefer you to use their standardized category names instead of making up your own. We think they have created a fast mobile search feature for popular phrases, so it's best for you to use their suggested phrases. They will suggest them as you type.

The built-in Google categories for retail jewelry stores are:
Jeweler
Jewelry Designer
Watch Store
Watch Repair Service
Jewelry Engraver
Jewelry Appraiser

Select a few of these as your first categories and then add in your own. You are limited to 5 categories. As we said, the categories will help to organize you into a search bucket, but they will also show up on your Places page.

Your description field is limited to 200 characters so you have to keep that very streamlined, like a Tweet. Write out what you want to say fully then just try to cut filler words out to trim it down to 200 characters. Stay away from ALL CAPS and keyword stuffing. Instead, you should simply say who you are, perhaps with your mission statement.

For now, we don't know what you should do with the Additional Details area of your profile. If you have information filled it just leave it there. It can't hurt. We have to wait and see what new changes Google has in store as we leap forward toward inevitable Google+ integration.
AT: 07/26/2011 01:19:53 PM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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