In Google’s article entitled “Helping people discover and share local businesses with Google+“, they explain this latest release as a change “to improve the way people discover new businesses, rediscover places they love, and share them with their friends across the web.” This change means that if you had a static Google Places page before yesterday, you now have a Google+ Local page. They converted all of them.
What is different about Google+ Local Pages compared to Google Places?
Well, for one thing, Google has introduced Zagat reviews for each Google+ Local page. This includes the ratings that have been collected by Zagat, as well as reviews written my past patrons. You will also see what people in your Circles are saying about the business.
There is a new icon on the left side navigation column of Google+. This new Local icon takes you to a page that shows your location, reviews of places near you by people in you circles, as well as some search options, including a separate box for location.
It is obvious that Google is building more and more into Google+, with no end in sight for how far they will go into integrating it into search. This is another big step in their never-ending quest to make Google search more “human”.
What I find strange is that they have two ways to write a review for the Place Page. One is through the Zagat review method, and the other is the old Google method. Not sure why you would want to do both. I’m guessing that one of them will go away, or at least it will be merged into the other.
What does this mean for your business?
- Your potential customers can find you a lot easier now, assuming they have Google+ profiles
- You Facebook page for your business just became less relevant.
- Your customers have a place where they can leave feedback and reviews about your business, and their friends will all see it. Assuming that you have good reviews, I would expect more referrals from friends of your customers.
- Your location and reviews will now appear in Google search results.
- It is now easier to find places that are close to you. I personally really like that. I like to work with people and business that are close to where I am. I guess it’s all about a sense of community.
If you don’t have a Google+ account set up for you and your business, we suggest you do it now. If you do have a Google+ Page for your business, they say to hold tight for more information on getting it linked to the new Google+ Local pages. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like the idea of having to manage so many Google+ Pages, especially for just one location. It sure would be nice if the Google+ Page and Google+ Local Page were combined into one Page. We’ll see what they have up their sleeve…
Oh, and if you find your business up there, go ahead and claim it. There’s a button on the page for that, which takes you through some steps to prove that you are the owner/manager of the business.
Go here to read Google’s Blog Post about this change.