All this week we are taking a look at a few new features Google has begun to roll out over the past few weeks, and how you can use them to enhance your search engine marketing. Previously we looked at Google Instant Preview. Today we will look at a new feature available as a part of Google’s local search database, Google Places:

Google Places Tags

Google Places provides a free local search listing for your business where you can provide details about your business, including location, contact information, customer reviews, hours, pictures, menus, coupons, and even video. Once created, your listing will appear in search results and Google Maps whenever a user searches around your location for your business or business category.

With more and more people going to search engines first to find local information, having a strong local search presence online has become just as important (or even more important) than being listed in the phone book.

This past summer, Google introduced Tags for Google Places listings. Just as buying an ad in the Yellow Pages can help your business stand out among the competition, Tags are unique sponsored listings that visually stand out among others by highlighting them with a yellow sales tag, and emphasizing key information for your customers (coupons, limited deals, videos, etc). Tags cost a flat rate of $25 per month and can be activated (or deactivated) at any time.

Local search is important for any small business, and we recommend you claim a Google Places listing if you have not already. Buying a Google Tag will not improve your ranking within local search listings, but is can help you stand out among the crowd.

Watch the video below for more information on the importance of  local search listings and what you can do with Google Places.