In the ever-changing landscape of local search, the latest transformation is Google Places becoming Google+. At the end of May 2012, Google automatically converted Google Place pages into the new, more dynamic Google+ local pages. And while there’s nothing you as a business are required to do, claiming your listing (if you haven’t already prior to the switch) can have some real benefits.
Check out the top four changes that can help your business get noticed:
- Expanded listing information and functionality, including a social aspect that allows you to get interactive with visitors. You can now gain followers and message them, similar to the way Facebook and Twitter work.
- New Local tab that allows users to immediately begin a search and even get recommendations of only local businesses. What’s more, the experience is personalized. Using several variables customized to the user, the content on the local homepage is tailored to each person.
- New rating system using Zagat has replaced the old star system. In addition, users leaving a review now complete a more structured form. The rating is based on specific categories rather than the old system, which was simply an overall rating with aspects like service, shipping, décor, etc. lumped into one. The form also includes space for additional comments so your customers can leave reviews in their own words.
- And what is probably the most exciting and beneficial new feature for your business – Google + local pages are now indexed! This means a boost in SEO, so it’s in your best interest to make sure your information is correct and to even add to it with images and links.
If you haven’t already, check out your Google+ local listing; and if you haven’t “claimed” it yet, it is strongly recommended that you do. Simply click on the “Manage this Page” link on the right-hand side of your page and follow the instructions. Add photos, information and get social with it!
The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it.