Have you checked into places on Google Maps recently? If so, you may have noticed that Google now prompts you to enter information about the place you are visiting.
The reason for these questions is that Google wants to know ‘attributes’ of the business. Attributes consist of descriptive content including, services of the business, accepted payment methods, parking availability or other details that may not apply to all businesses. Attributes are extremely important because they can influence if a user decides to visit a business.
So why is Google mining these local business attributes? Google wants to become the go-to destination for rich, descriptive content about locations, but it’s not the only one. For example, if you publish a review on trip advisor or yelp you will be asked similar questions regarding the attributes of the business.
Many of these publishers use incentivizing programs including Google’s Local Guides, TripAdvisor’s Badge Collections, and Yelp’s Elite Squad. These programs encourage having complete, accurate information about businesses locations. Having publishers with complete accurate information makes then more useful and being more useful means attracting more visitors, which makes each publisher more valuable to the business.
Many businesses believe the most important aspect when it comes to location data is identities such as name, address and phone number. It is true that you need this information to be consistent and accurate to even have your business considered when searching, but identities solve only half of the search challenge. Identities ensure visibility but you need attributes to turn searches into an actual business.
Attributes have become more and more important over the years with the changing landscape of search. As mobile search has rapidly accelerated the purchase decision, attributes become more important. Micro Moments or times when consumers use mobile devices to make quick decisions about what to do where to go or what to buy, are influenced by attributes. Attributes encourage the next moment or what happens after the consumer has discovered your business during the micro moment. This is why Google encouraged user to complete attributes about businesses when they check into a location on Google Maps.