The Internet never stays the same. It is constantly evolving, changing and adapting. The same can be said of search engine giant, Google.
Have you noticed that your Google Places page looks different yet? If not, spend a few minutes looking at the changes.
In its latest attempt to catch up with social media rival Facebook, Google has recently made some new changes converting approximately 80 million Places pages into 80 million Google+ Local pages.
This is a move toward integrating its search engine, social networking, maps and business directory features. Jen Fitzpatrick, a VP of engineering at Google explains; “With one listing, your business can now be found across Google search, maps, mobile and Google+, and your customers can easily recommend your business to their friends, or tell the world about it with a review”.
So it is Goodbye Google Places and hello Google Plus Local pages.
If your business currently has a Google Places page then there is no need to worry. Google has already integrated all existing Google Places into the new Google Plus Local layout.
You can still access these pages through regular Google search or maps, but that information is now available on a new tab within Google+ called ‘Local’ which is in the sidebar of Google+.
This is the home of all your important business information, including address, phone numbers, hours of operation, photos, videos and reviews.
How Does It Work?
Google+ Local has been designed to enable people to discover and share information about local businesses, stores and restaurants. It has combined Google Places and the Zagat review and scoring system, more about this in a moment, and created a more social and interactive way to share and research information about local businesses.
Some of these changes can be daunting as you need to make sure that your business account has been converted over properly. If not, you could be losing a lot of business as a result of not using the Google+ local listing.
If you have not listed your business yet, you need to do this as soon as possible or get an expert to do this for you. To illustrate how important this is, take a few minutes to search for similar products or services that you provide on Google and see how many of your competitors are listed. They are stealing business away from you.
By setting up and regularly updating your Google Plus Local profile, your business will be at the forefront of Google searches, ahead of your competitors. As a result, users will be able to leave feedback in the form of a review as well as being able to recommend your business to their friends, family and colleagues all with a click of a button.
Not only will your business details such as how to contact and locate you be displayed but also all of the reviews and discussions about your business will now show up on your companies Google Plus Local profile.
So if you are a local business who is curious about these new changes to your old Google Places page or you have not listed your business on Google+ Local Pages then here is a quick tour round the new changes.
The Google+ Local Tab
Users now search for specific places or browse through various categories of business listings such as restaurants, clothing stores, real estate agents etc. by using the new ‘Local’ tab which is located on the left hand sidebar of Google+.
When they click on a particular listing, it will take the customer to the Google+ Local page of that business or company. Here they will see features such as location, contact information, photos. Reviews and Zagat scores.
Google+ Local and Zagat Scores Explained
Google bought the Zagat review company last year and now features the Zagat summaries and scores on every Google+ Local page.
Zagat uses a 30- point scale and displays the average of all of the individual scores given by the reviews of the business or company broken down into categories. This is all compiled into one summary at the top of the page.
On every page you will see individual scores from 0 – 3 next to the user’s reviews:
3 = excellent 2 = very good 1 = good 0 = poor to fair
Now Is the Perfect Time to Get on Board Google Plus Local
If you haven’t already done so, fill out your Google+ Local page: Take advantage of the great opportunity to advertise your business free on Google+ Local pages and Google maps by filling out your profile page.
Add photos, videos, your logo, testimonials and a description of your business. This will help potential customers to understand your business and what it offers. This will increase your sales by attracting new customers.
Increase your Google+ Local search engine ranking: Every time a customer writes a review for your business on Google+ Local, your business will then appear higher on their followers Local search results. Your aim is to get lots of people to write positive reviews for your business to gain access to a wider range of potential customers.
This will significantly increase your online visibility by getting your business to appear higher on Google+ Local searches.
Provide Great customer service: Providing great customer service is now more important than ever because customers are much more likely to write a review about your business on the social media sites.
This means you need to be prepared to offer great customer service in all aspects of your business to gain positive reviews on your Google+ Local page.
Now you can see why it is the perfect time to take advantage of this great online opportunity by creating a Google+ Local page for your business which will increase your online presence and attract new customers.
Our business specialises in creating top ranking Google+ Local pages and we can give your business the online boost it needs to send more targeted customers to your site. Our contact details are on page 3 of this magazine.