It’s a new day for Google’s local search initiative. Google Places has been retired in favor of the more robust, more social, more local Google+ Local. The approximately 80 million Google Place pages have been converted into Google+ Local pages. Here’s what you can expect from the new social and local focused Google+ Local.
Those who have a Google+ account will now see a “Local” tab.
With the roll out of the Google+ Local pages the focus has truly become local. The addition of the “local” tab shows the renewed focus on the local experience allowing consumers to search locally. Google has also worked hard to make Google+ Local pages more visually inviting. Business owners will now be able to message followers and have social interactions with them just like they do now on Facebook and Twitter. This is the push to make Google+ Local a more social focused site. Upload photos, tag your friends, respond to posts, create a hangout, you can do it all on Google+ Local.
Enjoy a personalized local home page in Google+ Local.
When you click on your new “Local” tab in Google+ you will be taken to your personalized local home page where you will see a variety of recommended places near your home including restaurants, greenhouses, clothing stores, and places top reviewers recommend. You will also be able to see the places you have reviewed and checked-in at. Want to search for locations in a place you are visiting this weekend? No problem, just change your location at the top of the page.
Integration of Google+ Local pages across all Google properties.
Google has made it exceptionally easy to view Google+ Local pages by providing multiple access points via Google.com search results, Google Maps, mobile apps, and searches on Google+. This makes your Google+ Local page yet another destination point for consumers to gain information about your business.
Google+ Local Pages will be indexed.
Probably the biggest advantage business owners will see from the change of Google Places to Google+ Local is the fact that their Google+ Local pages will now be indexed in Google.com search results. This means you will want to claim your listing and begin managing your page to ensure you are in control of the information appearing on your Google+ Local page.
Google+ Local goes Mobile.
You can expect to see all these upgrades on your smart phone as well. All changes are available on Android handsets on the Places layer on Google Maps for Mobile and in the Google+ app. For those using the iPhone, the changes will be available upon Apple’s approval of Google’s app updates.
Ability to use your circles to filter reviews and recommendations.
Google+ users can now use their circles (friends, colleagues, family, etc.) to filter the reviews and recommendations they see in Google+ Local. This puts a truly local and personalized spin on the review process. It becomes a unique combination of Facebook and Yelp, where your friends can visit a store or restaurant and then tell you what they thought of the food, service, products or prices. This could become a powerful tool if business owners use it properly.
Integration of Zagat reviews.
Google purchased Zagat in September 2011 and is now using Zagat’s rating system and reviews to enhance the new Google+ Local pages. You can expect to see an advanced rating system that shows scores on Food, Décor, Service and Price. The new scoring system is based on Zagat’s 30 point system as opposed to Google’s old 5 point scale.
With all of these changes now in place, it is more important than ever that businesses are claiming and actively managing their Google+ Local page. Are you active on Google+ Local? Do you use social media to communicate with your customers? Do you have concerns about how your business is perceived on the internet?
Let Qiigo help you with social media management. Call (404) 496-6841 today.