Google likes change, and they have recently combined and integrated Google Places Pages with Google+ creating one single new product called Google+ Local. You might want to read that again.
If your business has social and local elements to it you will want to pay particular attention to the new changes and additions and how they might influence or affect your search marketing activities.
If your business has a strong local focus you will still continue benefit from the visibility of a having Google Map or blended listing appearing in the search results.
This is what a new Google+ Local Page looks like:
There is now an even bigger emphasis on getting business reviews and feedback in Google+ Local. You want to be aware of what people are writing about your business and even start to encourage people to leave you positive reviews. Did you have a Google Place page previously? Have you claimed it?
Here’s an example review left by someone for the Broadway Cinema:
Notice the new rating system here.
This improved rating system is powered by Zagat (whom Google purchased last year) that allows people to leave more tailored feedback depending on the type of business or service being reviewed. This ensures that people can convey more relevant and appropriate insight and information rather than a generic lumped-into-one star rating.
As your business page is now part of Google+ there will be greater potential for socialising the activity around what your business does. In fact, Google also want you to upload photos surrounding what you do! See the “Upload public photo” button shown here and this will be of particular interest to business who fall under Local + Social.
Local + Social business examples:
Hairdressers, dance teachers, sandwich/coffee shops, clubs, nightclubs, bars, pubs and restaurants…
Local businesses without the social element:
Car dealers, garages, estate agents, driving instructors, butchers, computer repair, satellite installers, painters & decorators, electricians, plumbers, manufacturers and industrial companies…
Both groups will want to be using Google+ Local for different reasons, but the common factor both have is the visibility and the potential extra traffic this will bring to businesses respective pages and websites from the Google search engine.
- Google Place Pages have now become Google+ Local Pages—they look and work slightly differently!
- Google have automatically converted many existing Google Places pages into the new Google+ Local format. However we still recommend you check and confirm this specifically for your own listings.
- There is a new button within Google+ to access Google+ Local content
- User reviews are more prominent than before encouraging people to leave and write about their experience with using local businesses including uploading photos.
- You still presently claim, verify and edit your Google Places Google+ Local page the same way as before. i.e. www.google.co.uk/places/
Remind me… what are the benefits of having a Google+ Local page?
- Google+ Local is a great way to socially validate your products or services with reviews from real people. User reviews are generally perceived as being more trustworthy than what a business says about itself.
- Your business has the potential to appear within the Google Local search results when people search or “Google” for a product or service you provide.
- People can also find your Google+ Local page through searching from the Google+ social network, Google Maps and through mobile search (Smart phones, tablets or hand-held devices).
- Your Google+ Local page will also drive people people to your website.
Here’s a demo from Google of an overview of a new Google+ Local page.