How effective is Google places?

There has been a small little question that has been nagging at the back of our mind for a little while now. The question that has been bugging us is how effective Google places is exactly.

At times we can term google places the lazy man way of SEO. Because using google places is a easy way to get to the of google search results. We have tested this in fact. One of our site was ranked 1st on Google places for a few important keywords. We removed the site from Google places and it falls to 9th of the search result.

Anyway back to the question. How effective is google places really?

Google places used to be very effective. Not only is the result shown first, the title text and description is all shown on the SERPs result. However, today the title text and description have all been removed. Google tends to show random text as your title text (mostly company name). I have done searches on the net but have yet to been able to find out exactly where does google place determine what to show. Description is totally removed from Google results. This does negatively affect CTR since both are neither compelling (USP) or have a proper call to action.

On the plus side, Google does have those niffty little call buttons when you do your search on iphone. This we believe is useful if your company is dealing with emergency services such as towing service where users whom need you immediately would press the call button. Having said that, we wonder how effective it is if say you are a cosmetic surgeon. Maybe it encourages the user to call and enquire? We do feel honestly that the user would want more information and the lack of proper title text and description does lower the CTR from SERP.

Anyway, we are monitering result on the test page and would post it up once we have enough data.

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