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Original Date Posted: Jun 25, 2012
By: Blair Ball

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80 Million Google Place Pages worldwide were automatically converted to Google+ Local Pages today.

  • Google+ Local Pages will be indexed.
  • The new “Local” tab is now within Google+ on the left hand column.
  • All Google Place pages have now been replaced with Google+ Local.
  • Integration of Google+ Local pages across Google services (Search, Maps, Mobile).
  • Integration of a circles filter to find reviews/recommendations from friends, family, colleagues.
  • Free availability of Zagat reviews integrated into Google’s numerous categories.
  • Google’s star rating system is being replaced by Zagat’s 30-point rating scale.
  • Google+ becomes another local search destination within Google.
  • Google has returned to a two-search-box approach with Google+ Local.

 

Multiple Search Options

Users will be able to discover Google+ Local in multiple ways:

1. Search on Google.com

2. Search on Google Maps

3. Search on Mobile Apps

4. Search on Google+

I conducted a search in the town I live, Germantown for the word BBQ in Google+ Local. Here is an image of what the search results returned.

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Google+ Local Pages are now much more social. The integration is much more eye appealing. Google commits to many more features to come to support local businesses. This new change will allow small businesses to engage more, develop more followers and be able to message them.

Review Verbiage

Think carefully about your review since everything will be “Public”.

http://scorememphis1.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/googleplusreviewverbiage.png?w=300&h=174

Google+ Local Review

Scoring Guide

http://scorememphis1.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/googleplusscoringguide.png?w=268&h=300

http://scorememphis1.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/googlepluslocalscore.png?w=449&h=514

You can sort by the following:

http://scorememphis1.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/googleplus-sort-by.png?w=232&h=152

Local businesses will have to be on top of their game since these reviews will be revealed to the public.

Mobile

Android has a leg up on the Apple iPhone, with Android smartphones starting to show up in the Google+ app. Google has submitted app updates to Apple for review and approval. Rumor has it that Apple will be rolling out their own version of Maps in June.

TAKEAWAY

Google is the king of search. 3 Billion+ searches are conducted on Google daily. Google+ Local is a big POSITIVE for businesses. One of the big issues I saw in looking at Local Businesses is, the lack of good Photos. Good Photos are a must in today’s visual Social Media World.

No photos-BAD, Poor Photos-BAD. Strive to create compelling content with good photographs. I suspect with Google owning YouTube, that at some point Video will be integrated into this as well.

As a business owner:

  • For now you should continue to manage your information in Google Places.
  • You’ll still be able to update and verify your listing data.
  • You’ll still be able to respond to reviews.

Those business owners waiting to get into the Social Media Game are getting left behind. Now is the time for business owners to recognize the power behind this change for their businesses. SEO is a huge potential here, since Google+ Local Pages will be indexed.

What’s your takeaway with these new Google+ Local changes for business?

Learn ALL about these changes and more about Google+ at our upcoming workshop on Thursday June 7th, at the Collierville Chamber of Commerce.