Hey, remember that new social network called Google+? You may or may not have paid any attention to Google’s attempt at social networking before, but if you have a business, you will now. Google+ Local has essentially replaced Google Places as the way Google lists your business. When people search for your business (or your type of business) they’ll be directed to your Google+ Local page now. What do you need to know about Google+ Local, and how do you get listed on it? Here are some answers.
What Happened to Google Places?
Google Places still exist for now, and you can still list your business with Google Places if you haven’t done so already. Google+ Local pages are created automatically from the information in Google Places listings. If you haven’t claimed your listing yet, now is the time. Search for your listing, and click “edit” or “claim my listing.” Or go to Google.com/Local and follow directions there. You’ll need to create a Google account if you haven’t already. Google Places aren’t gone, but they will eventually be replaced by Google+ Local.
What If Your Business Already Has a Google+ Page?
If you created a Google+ page for your business, you’re on top of your social networking. Your Google+ page is separate from your Google+ Local page, but eventually Google will merge the two. Right now you’ll have to manage your Google+ page and your Google+ Local page separately. Eventually your Google+ page will serve as your local listing AND the place where you engage with the people who are in your business’s circle. You’ll even be able to hold hangouts and use all the social features that are available for individual Google+ users.
How Will People Find Your Business?
When people perform a Google search for a business, they’ll find Google+ Local pages as their results. They’ll find the same information, just in a different place. They’ll be directed to your Google+ page (eventually – Google+ Local for now) instead. However, here’s where the major change comes in. The more active you are on Google+ Local, the higher your search ranking will be. You used to be able to count on your Google Places page showing up no matter what. Now you’ll need to pay a lot more attention to your Google+ Local page if you want to be among the top results every time.
What Does This Mean for Your Listing?
There are more things changing than just the location of your Google listing. In time you’ll decide for yourself how much you like (or dislike) your Google+ Local page. A big change is for reviews of your business. Your old reviews will stay, but only Google+ users can leave new reviews. This may cut down on fake or spam reviews because each review needs to be connected to a real person’s page. Also, reviewers will rate your business with Zagat’s 30-point system instead of the old 5-star system.
If your business hasn’t dabbled in Google+ yet, you’ll soon need to dive in head first with Google+ Local.
This and many other educational articles helping web professionals understand the challenges of the web and how to promote business concepts online have been prepared for you by Travis Lee thanks to SEOMap – the keyword strategy experts.