One of my clients kindly pointed out to me a tiny new addition to Google Places pages: the words “At a glance” next to the “descriptor snippets”:
Here’s how the “snippets” area looked before:
The “At a glance” is new only to the Places page itself. It’s not completely new to Google Places. For the last few months it’s appeared in the preview area that you see when you hover your mouse over a local-business search result:
Is the addition of “At a glance” to the Places page a big deal? Of course not. But it’s a nice baby-step toward greater usability of Google Places.
I’ve had a number of clients (and a whole bunch of other people) ask me what those random-looking “keywords” are on their Places pages. At least for now, I’ll still have to explain that Google culls the “keywords” from customer reviews, third-party sites and reviews (InsiderPages, CitySearch, etc.), and from your website.
I’ll also still have to explain that there’s no way to control directly what phrases wind up in the “At a glance” snippets—and that sometimes they can include nonsensical, unflattering, or downright ugly phrases.
Still, this little annotation at least will give customers and business owners a slightly better idea of what they’re looking at in this little sliver of the Places page. That’s always good.
I’m hopeful that Google will continue to add features to the “At a glance” area, and to improve the quality and relevance of the snippets themselves.
Jo Shaer says
Yay! Hammonds Candles sell lollipops – if only I could make that a backlink 😛
The At a glance feature is rather an oddity… I’m not sure whether a business would relish being called old fashioned with no other modifier.
But a good spot from you and your customer 🙂
Yes, I have actually been to Hammond’s Candies, and I can verify first-hand that there are lollipops on the premises.
I agree that a backlink would be sweet 🙂 (pardon the cheesy pun!)
“Odd” is a good way to describe the “At a glance” feature, as you say. Sometimes customers aren’t quite sure what to conclude about a business based on its AAG, because the “snippets” are such a mixed bag of positives and negatives, adjectives and nouns, etc.
Thanks for the RT, btw!
(I presume you started seeing AAG on Google Places pages in the UK in just the past couple of days…)
Would be interesting to find out how this feature could be influenced.
The “At a glance” snippets are drawn from two main sources, as far as I’ve been able to tell:
1. From customer reviews–both on your Places page and on third-party sites–and
2. From general info on your business on third-party sites–like your descriptions, and possibly any category, “keywords,” or “tags” fields on those sites
It’s possible that they’re also extracted to some degree from the content of your site, but I’m not as sure about that.
I also talk about this in another post I did recently: https://bit.ly/AkjeiL
The best thing to do (I’ve found) is to make sure your third-party listings are as filled-out as possible, and to get a bunch of reviews from your customers. Those are important steps to do anyway, and doing them should help you get some nice “At a glance” snippets.