Matt Cutts touched upon the addition to Google Maps powered collapsible maps Plus Box integrated within Google’s organic search results over the weekend, and I read it over without really thinking too much about it.
That is, not until I saw them in action. Upon making some weekend plans I was performing some searches on Google for Kotobuki, a DC area restaurant which was recommended to me by a friend, and Glen Echo Park, a US National Park in the same area.
So, I performed a quick Google search for ‘Kotobuki‘ and not only was I amazed to see the restaurant as #1 for the term (which I believe means small flying spirit or small flying tree, but I have not read the characters yet) but its listing was accompanied by the collapsible Google Maps Plus Box that Matt had mentioned:
Click on the ‘plus’ mark next to the address and… SUGOI KATA! A Google map embedded in the search resutls!
One click on the map, or on the directions link then takes me to Google Maps where I can search the area or gather directions for my drive into the city. Address and phone number are also included.
This is, in my honest opinion, one of the simplest and most useful local and mapping applications that I’ve ever seen in search results. Why so?
I did not perform a local search, and my intent was to check out the restaurant information and menu, but Google then directed me to the local mapping and course plotting tool, in an inobtrusive way, which I elected to take action in.
The Plus Box is one Google application which should not be overlooked and may change the way people search locally, leading to further adoption of the search mapping & local offering by all of the major search engines.
As a followup search I looked for information on Glen Echo Park and saw the Google Maps information again, this time in the second search result:
This time I opened the mapping tool to see that Glen Echo and Kotobuki are in the same exact area:
Being that Glen Echo is a National Park and not a business, it is exciting to see that this tool is open to multiple local destinations such as libraries, places of worship, sporting events locations and other popular locales.
Now if Google would of recommended driving directions from one location to the next or a multi-pinned map with both destinations, that would have been amazing.
I expect the Google Maps Plus Box to change the way people search locally on Google and if you want to make sure that your business (and its correct information) is included in this new service, I highly recommend submitting your business to the Google Local Business Center.
More information on Google and Assigning Geographic Locations to Web Pages from Bill Slawski and if you’re interested in having a professional Local Search Optimization firm making sure your business is taking advantage of all of the new local offerings, please feel free to contact me.