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by Stephen Logan on 14th June 2011
If you have seen a few extra words crop up in your Google Maps listing, you’re not hallucinating. The latest in a long series of tweaks has seen the search engine integrate descriptive keywords into the SERPs listing.
This new feature, which is simply a number of descriptive words or phrases, is designed to make a business stand out. Therefore it will look to highlight the terms that best describe an individual company, rather than the more generalised keywords you can expect to see in SERPs.
So for instance, a florist may simply have a listing with their business name and a customer review. However now, in the UK and US at least, they could also have “tropical plant importer”, “wedding bouquets” or “beautiful arrangements” added. So if a customer is searching on Google and is particularly looking for someone who can provide a wedding bouquet in their area, they may be more likely to visit.
There is no single source for these keywords. Instead Google pools information from reviews, websites and “other online references” – at least that’s what is being reported on the Small Business Blog.
WebProNews raised a very interesting point, which essentially relates to the potential use of negative keywords. For instance, if the term “dead flowers” was used repeatedly in describing the previously mentioned hypothetical florist, would this appear within the listing? Whilst that may be accurate in terms of what people are saying, it certainly wouldn’t do the business any favours.
Crowd-sourcing information from the wider web is certainly a great way of finding information that is relevant to the searcher and avoiding well worn SEO-style phrases that a site owner might employ. It’s unlikely to have a huge impact on the overall click through rate of a listing and only appears to impact Maps listings (therefore shouldn’t affect your rankings elsewhere). However, it should help to improve the quality of clicks that you receive and assist in making your listing stand out where it’s needed most.
As with any Google roll-out though, there are still a fair few questions that need to be answered, and no doubt there will be a good number of businesses that aren’t entirely happy with it. Fortunately this is only a subtle update, but of course, as it is Google, it’s something that you should certainly be watching out for.