Alerts on Place Pages? I Want More From Google

Filed in Google, Local Search, MY BEST POSTS by Matt McGee on January 14, 2010 2 Comments

Picture 1Here’s the latest addition to Google’s Local Business Center: a tool to add alerts/updates to your Google Maps Place Page. The widget you see here is only available to businesses that have claimed their listing in the Local Business Center; this update window appears in the upper right of the “View Reports” page. It lets you place a 160-character alert on your place page, and if you use it, your alert will expire after 30 days.

Google’s announcement positions this a tool for business owners to post daily specials or upcoming events. My wife, the real estate agent, doesn’t offer daily specials and rarely hosts open houses (they’re not very effective), so I had to think how we’ll use this. I found something Google doesn’t mention in today’s announcement: The alert box won’t accept HTML code, but it will turn a URL into an active link. So you could use it similarly to how you use Facebook or Twitter.

cari screenshot

This is all fine and good, but when it comes to Google, I tend to want more.

What I Wish Google Would Do to Place Pages

Here are seven things I’d love to see Google do with its Local Business Center and Place Pages.

  1. Follow the lead of Citysearch and let business owners pull in their Twitter updates for display right on the Place Page. (I’m betting that Google’s already working on this.)
  2. A lot of businesses are on Facebook these days via “Fan Pages,” so let the business owner post one of those Fan Page widgets you see on web sites everywhere.
  3. Even though some of the content will overlap with what’s already on a place page, let business owners pull in data from their Yelp profile page. Let them post a Yelp badge/widget on their place page.
  4. In addition, let businesses add links to their Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Flickr and other social profiles.
  5. On that note, let business owners pull in photos from Flickr, like you already can on on a Google profile. Photographers and bakeries and other local businesses with a highly visual element to their business would love this.
  6. Let business owners pull in content from their event listings on, Zvents, and similar sites. Nightclubs and event-based businesses would love this.
  7. Of course, do all this while still keeping the Local Business Center easy to use and without cluttering up the Place Page.

In a nutshell, I want Google to turn Place Pages into a local business owner’s online headquarters. Make it the one page the business owner wants all of its prospects and customers to find, see, and use.

I’m not asking too much, am I?

Comments (2)

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  1. Paul Dumas says:

    I like your list of things that you’d like to see Google do, but my wish list is simpler – let a business owner choose what feeds show on their listing. The biggest complaint I get from my small business customers is that aside from the Maps listing itself, they have no control over where Google pulls additional information.

    It would be great to be able to choose. If Twitter is your thing, then choose it. If MerchantCircle is your marketing choice du jour, then port that. The choice would allow the small business owner to utilize their Google Maps listing to put forth a branding image consistent with what the business is doing across a focused spectrum.

  2. JK says:

    Great post and great ideas. I imagine that Google will only ever allow Google features to appear on the Places page so Facebook etc. probably won’t feed in. This is inconvenient and also fragmenting a business’s content online by forcing business owners to replicate material across all of the features online, e.g. on Yell, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Google.

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