Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | 11:00 AM
It's been a busy and exciting time in Southeast Asia for everybody working with Google Maps! We've had the launch of Google Maps in Malaysia, Thailand, and now Singapore. We've launched Transit and Traffic in Singapore and Bangkok, and not least of all Street View in Singapore!
With all the new launches, one significant product improvement has slipped a bit under the radar for many of our business owners. Google Maps now provides Place Pages for every business listing on Maps. Place Pages combine all the information of a place into a single page - it is like a place having it's own homepage or a portal on Google Maps.
In this post, I'd like to give you an overview of Place Pages. We'll see what they are, how they work, and most importantly, how you can ensure that your business has an informative Place Page.
What are Place Pages?
Place Pages combine all the information Google receives from users, partners, Local Business Center claims, or web crawl into a single resource.
Users get to Place Pages by clicking "more info" on the list of Google Maps search results or in the map bubble for the listing.
What's in a Place Page?
The top of the Place Page contains basic information about the place: web address, postal address, phone numbers. Note the "Claim your business" link on the right-hand side - it allows you to take ownership of your information on Maps if you haven't done so already. If you are viewing a place in Singapore, note the recently launched Street View image under the small map on the right side of the page.
We have also enhanced the way you can interact with the content with links for directions, search, saving, and sending information. For example, using the "Save to..." link, you can easily add the place to a new My Map or one you have created before. Creating My Maps this way is even easier than before.
My typical trip planning involves saving the places I want to visit in a My Map and then accessing that from Google Maps for Mobile when I'm traveling - without even having to print out anything before I travel.
This information has always been available on Google Maps, but now it's just in a more convenient place. In addition to consolidating many existing functions on Maps, Place Pages also offers new features, such as the closest public transit options to your place and the routes your customers can use to reach it.
On the right hand side you have a smaller version of the map, which enables you to return to the full map view of all the listings you've searched for by clicking on it.
Further down below on the page, we display the results from our content providers that include additional details on the place. For example, restaurants might have menu information, opening hours, and accepted credit cards, as well as photos and videos related to their place. If you own a business, you should ensure that you provide as much information as possible in order to allow your potential customers to learn all they can about your services and products.
Place Pages may also contain user-contributed reviews from various sources. Personally, I like the review section for planning my trips around Southeast Asia: it combines the reviews from the most popular sites into a single section that is quick to browse through.
You will also see AdWords text ads on the right hand side. These ads are targeted towards the visitors on the Place Page and are closely-related to the content on the page. As an advertiser you can place targeted messaging for visitors here. You can learn more about advertising on Google Maps here. AdWords advertisers can also see how their ads perform on Place Pages by checking their AdWords Placement Performance Report.
Last but not least is the Related Maps section. These are maps other people have created using My Maps that are related to your search results.
That is a lot of information on a single page but there's always room for more. To get the full experience out of Place Pages, don't forget to claim or submit your business, sign up as provider for listings, or publish your own My Map.