Last week, quite a few Minnesotans went out to Seattle’s SMX Advanced conference and I had a message for two of them:
The biggest thing everyone came back with was to really engage, be social and be transparent. They all stressed that search engines are going to be using social more in their data and factors – not huge news and there’s a lot more, but not for this post.
So, Google is indeed partially doing this. Yesterday, their Places team announced they are now using descriptive terms in local search results. I really like the hyper-local potential. More on that below.
This means they are now including terms that appear to be words others use to describe businesses on different local and social sites.
Here’s a Google Places screenshot for the standard “pizza” keyword. The area was for north downtown/St. Anthony Main/UofM in Minneapolis.
Here’s the hyper-local and conversion potential that I love. If you’re in the area, you already know that Pizza Nea uses unique ingredients like sea salt and prosciutto, Mesa Pizza has popular vegetarian and mac and cheese options and Punch is known for their wood fired ovens and basil for their Margherita pies.
Visitors to the area can now see this before they get there. and this is hyper-local at its finest.
There are many more examples. This one is for the phrase “music school” near downtown Minneapolis.
If you’re in music education, you know that Suzuki is a method of musical training for kids as young as preschool age. If someone is specifically looking for this, this is a great chance for a conversion.
Loosely related, here’s an example of what shows up for a south Minneapolis search for “piano lessons”.
Guess what type of music classes they specialize in? Early childhood.
How about a bike rental in Minneapolis?
It’s well-known that for a couple years, Minneapolis has had a slick public bicycle rental system that you can use with a credit card. Bixi is the bicycle solution behind the system. Visitors can now know this.
How about a diner? There’s a well-known one in St. Paul.
Mickey’s Diner happens to be known for their Mulligan Stew and Potatoes O’Brien. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and was used in scenes from the movie “Mighty Ducks”.
Here’s a diner in Rochester and it’s my favorite example.
See the “hole in the wall” description? This place is indeed a hole in the wall and in the very best way possible. Locals already know this and visitors can read their ratings and reviews. This place is really hard to beat!
These descriptive terms aren’t always as relevant as the above. Here’s one for a St. Paul attorney.
Gonzaga University? Seems like an irrelevant descriptive term. Although, according to Avvo he graduated from the Gonzaga University School of Law in 1978.
Side note, Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA is pretty.
I tried a slightly longer search in “personal injury lawyer”. It didn’t show any descriptive terms. It did show the category of “personal injury attorney”. Note, your category and descriptive terms can both show. It just doesn’t in this example and many long-tail searches.
This new feature is brand new and I really hope it stays. I’ve read a couple posts that have showed flaws in these descriptions. I hope these are the extreme exceptions. Google has something really good here.
Enough about my thoughts. What are yours? Are you a local business owner or manager? If so, Google your company name and see how accurate these descriptions are for you. Let us know what you think.