The owners of local business review sites, like Yelp.com and CitySearch.com, aren’t happy with Google. They do not like the way data in “Google Places” is shown above their data in search returns. “Google Places” is Google’s equivalent of a local business directory.
Recently, Google made an adjustment to Google Places. Now it takes up more space than ever on a search engine results page. For example, a search in Google on the phrase “NYC criminal defense attorney” yields a page full of Google content. In the image below, the Google Places results are highlighted in yellow. They are surrounded on the top and side by Google paid ads.
Google stands to gain advertising dollars by featuring local businesses this way. Businesses can buy tags for $25/month in order to gain visibility in Google Places.
Google holds almost 70% of the search engine market. Many companies feel that Google abuses its dominant position in the search engine market. The European Union is currently conducting an antitrust investigation.
Regardless of the outcome, Google currently has a stronghold on local business results that lawyers can’t ignore. Setting up a profile in Google Places is more important now, than ever.