Google Places is Now Google Plus:
If you haven’t noticed Google has now moved Google Places pages to Google Plus Local pages. What does it mean to the local small business owner? At this time not much. Although, aesthetically the landing page is much nicer, and if you’ve added pictures you can create a much more professional look.
This is a market share move by Google Plus. It creates a unique selling proposition, offering something that is not available on Facebook, and the ‘local tab’ is a nice feature for those playing in Google Plus.
A quick rundown on some of the changes of Google Places Google Plus:
- The substitution of the new Google+ Local pages for Google Places pages
- The appearance of a “Local” tab on Google+ (For those on Google +)
- The integration and free availability of Zagat reviews (With this reviews now on the 30 pt. scale)
- The integration of Google+ Local pages across Google properties (search, maps, mobile)
- Integration of a circles filter to find reviews/recommendations from friends/family/colleagues
If you are not logged into Google, you see a bar inviting you to register for or log into Google Plus. You also see an invitation to manage the page, if you are the Google account holder with original access to the Places listing. You also see options to give the business a rating, while reviews that were posted in the Places listing are still visible.
Local Search Tab-what it is:
Here is what the Google Plus user will see. If they click the new “Local” tab in Google+ you’re taken to a personalized local home (discovery) page, which offers a mix of popular, social and recommended content. There are several variables that go into the content that appears on this page.
So when I search for “Burgers in Medford” this is what I see:
By adding Zagat rather than being asked to rate businesses along a 1 to 5 point star system, users will now be asked to fill out a more structured form (food, service, atmosphere/decor) and leave additional comments. Instead of most businesses falling in at 3.5 stars there will be bigger differences with the 1-30 rating.
This is what I see when clicking on Jaspers Cafe. (Being a big fan of theirs they easily deserve a 26 out of 30.)
Summary For Local Business Owners:
There are a lot of battles going on in the on-line world between Facebook, Google and Apple. It does create a conundrum for business owners. Where should their focus be? How much of their time is this worth, or how much of their budget they should use to pay someone to do this for them? The answer is different for all of you, but the one thing that is the same is that some attention does need to be spent on local search. It’s important today and only going to become more important each month and year.
Regarding the change from Google Places to Google Plus if you are a business owner, you should continue to manage your information in Google Places for Business. You’ll still be able to verify your basic listing data, make updates, and respond to reviews. Regarding mobile search and Apple having Siri work with Yelp to create a search algorithm you can read a bit more about that here.
We’re always available for a free 30 minute conference call consultation that you can sign up on your time.
- 30 Days After The Switch From Google Places To Google+ Local, 2X Sales… (prweb.com)
- RIP Google Places – Google+ Integrates Zagat (socialmediatoday.com)