Google Places Descriptor Snippets

One of the changes in the rollout of the new Places Page last month was the inclusion of short descriptor snippets high on the page between the review count and the business description. The descriptor snippets, besides recently changing from a light grey to black in color, have seemed to improve somewhat over the last month. In the case of Barbara Oliver, the strange phrase “couldn’t have” has been replaced with the more appropriate “felt comfortable”. Note the inclusion though of the oddly spelled “jewelery”.

The phrases seem to have a variety of sources including a Place’s review corpus, in bound links and web page content. The algo that drives the process is not yet known but it is possible that it uses the techniques that Bill Slawski detailed for Google’s recently approved patent Keywords associated with document categories.

The results displayed, while often accurate, can, can still on occasion show unusual results. I thought that this screen shot captured some of those obviously weird results. Where exactly do you think these come from?

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Places Descriptor Snippets by

13 thoughts on “Google Places Descriptor Snippets”

  1. Besides those confusing things you highlighted, what is up with the “No Photo” image?

    I have several clients that are experiencing this as well for their main image and several of their other images. It used to be fine.

    I would suggest an update to the Haiku classic:

    Yesterday it worked.
    Today it is not working.
    Google is like that.


    1. Well if you look at the image I captured during my “capture the flag” exercise you will see that the owner uploaded image might have been construed “inapprorpiate” and removed.

      The Haiku is great but unlikely to achieve “classic” status. 🙂

  2. Mike: I’d like to follow up on the “quick cash” descriptor snippet associated with Google. I know you have some in’s there and speak to some googlers every so often.

    Can you check on where the quick cash option is available? I’d like some of that. I need to purchase some luxury hotel type robes. Mine are a bit tattered…….OR…..

    Does quick cash refer to how google makes money from SMB’s through Adwords and Adwords Express???? hm…Quick and Express seem to imply the same thing!!!!!! What do you think??? 😀

  3. This is great! It really demonstrates to the local business community that you can’t just optimize your GP listings alone. To truly shine in your industry, a small biz owner must have a comprehensive campaign in place, from GP, citation, reviews, website SEO, Social media, video marketing, etc. This way you have the best chance possible of controling what G scrapes from across the web. Thanks Mike!

  4. The descriptive terms are still definitely in a beta stage, but I still wonder why Google keeps pushing them in front more and more. They are now appearing everywhere except on the organic SERP itself. I suppose that’d happen as well in the next few months if they successfully improve the process of promoting the “keyword candidates” into actual keywords.

  5. @Earl
    The quick cash struck me as strange as well… it turns out that it IS a google feature highlighted in their Adsense help files. Amazing though that with all of the things that they do, this is the one that gets highlighted. It does point up the somewhat arbitrary nature of the system.

    Yes, a comprehensive approach is the only way to go and it provides many benefits


    Google’s motto “release early, reiterate often” is coming into play… they obviously think that they are “good enough”.

  6. Mike

    It’s no secret where those descriptions are coming from (well sort of) Google told us about them back in July!

    “These phrases come from sources all across the web, such as reviews, web pages and other online references, and they can help people quickly identify the characteristics that make a particular place unique. ”

    It would sure be nice to have a better understanding of exactly HOW they are choosing the terms that they are choosing to show!

  7. @Ken

    Yes, that is the question. I am studying the patent now but…


    Thanks for the URL… that was what I had hoped to link in my comment above but managed to mangle…. It is interesting that page buried in the help files would be the one that surfaces as opposed to all of the other pages on Google’s site…

  8. Home run on this one Mike. I made the same conclusions as Bill Slawski has recently theorized, months ago, but not knowing about the patent. I was noticing other sites with a url mirroring the keywords they want to rank for – that had zero PR and had never ranked before – with zero anchor text in the links pointing to their home pages or child pages, ranking for keywords that were peppered in citations. So it appears this is the key. It seems that regular SEO is not as important as manipulating the algo with a fake name, corresponding url and massive third party citations. Of course, when blended is turned on, that does not happen. But it is all random now, so the only certainty is paying 30 bucks a click?

  9. Love your blog, i wonder how long does it takes to get those snippets? How old the listing has to be? Mine obviously still doesn’t have it, checked competitors and most of them have it. Do have reviews and lots of citations that google didn’t even pick up yet. Example have 10 reviews on insider pages and kudzu, google shows only 1 each…

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