Google recently began replacing Google Places pages with the new Google+ Local pages. The move is seen as Google’s attempt to compete with Facebook Pages and escalate the use of social media marketing. What’s at stake for your business ?
- If you have a Google Places page, all of your basic information should have been switched to the new design.
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If you already have a Google+ business page, you should maintain it. Be aware, though, that more changes are on the way. Google will eventually merge your Google+ business page with your local page presence.
- If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to update your Google profile. You’ll need to expand your web presence by posting content regularly to Google+ Local Pages.
- To see what the change looks like, go into Google+ and look for the new “Local” tab in the left hand sidebar. You can search for specific places or browse through categories.
Click on a listing and you’ll get the Google+ Local page, which features location and contact information, photos, reviews, and Zagat scores/summaries.
- Why Zagat ratings? Google feels that the rating, based on a 30 point scale, can express more differentiation and nuance. Scores for factors such as food, service and atmosphere now replace the old 5-star rating.
- Reviews and recommendations from your Google+ Circles will show up in your searches.
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For example, if you search for Thai restaurants, you will likely see reviews from friends who recommend a particular place.
As you can see, business owners are faced with greater demands to learn to use Google+ to their advantage. The good news is that there is a lot of potential SEO in this change since the new Google+ Local pages will be indexed. So take the time to learn Google+ or ignore it at your own peril!