Live Music is a pretty common search term I would imagine for anyone who is looking for something to do on a Friday night. Or, on the other side of the coin, it could be a search term used by a band or other entertainer looking for venues in an area to approach looking for gigs. In either case, I noticed something new today within Google search results that gives a new face to local music venues.
I did a search this morning for “live music” just to see what would come up. In the above image you see that live music is one of the categories of Google Places local directory listings that that have moved up to the top of the search results page. That same spot is the one occupied by Google Product Listing ads in some search results.
As you can see in the screenshot above the listings are featured prominently at the top of the search results. In addition they appear as red dots on the Google map inset on the page. Compare this to the way that local business listings used to show up (and still do for many businesses) in Google search results in the image below.
Obviously the new placement and design for local directory listings is more visually appealing. You also can’t do any better than front page, headline position. I think the main reason that Google is doing this is to free up more space in the web results section of search results.
The old style local directory listings ate up most of the available space in the web results section. By moving them to the top they opened all of that results real estate back up. In addition, the new style local directory listings feature a photo within each result and also prominently feature the Google+ rating of the business.
There is a user control feature on the top right side of the results slider that allows the person who made the query to filter the local, live music listing results by rating (2 stars. 3 stars, 4 stars). That is just one more incentive to solicit positive ratings from your fans or customers. I have advised bands to make use of local directory listings in the past, especially those who are looking for local gigs. It is one more way that you can enable discovery of you and your #music.
This development just kicks it up a notch. If you want a headline on Google search results fo a generic search term like “live music” this is a way to get it. Having a local directory listing is also good for your overall SEO strategy, especially as a locally oriented business (yes, a band is a business unless you play for free).
As this feature is enabled for other types of businesses the same will be true for them. Success on the Semantic Web requires a strategy in order to best capitalize on all of the opportunities for organic exposure that exist now. Local directory listings should be a part of that strategy for every local business.