If you haven’t heard, we’ve recently said goodbye to Google Places and hello to Google Plus Local.
At Turn the Page, we’ve anticipated this merge for months assuming that Google+ would become more relevant for local search. The time has come and we are busy making the most of these changes for our clients.
Local Search- Now More Social
Google’s goal of creating a single web experience for users has taken its next step. Google has now integrated Google Plus Local into its networking site to allow users to share information about local shops and restaurants.
With social networking being a huge part of our lives and our businesses, people look to online resources when making a decision. We often seek the opinions of our friends and family as well as the reviews of others before making a purchase. The new “Local” tab on a Google+ page allows users to search for local restaurants, hotels and more with a full integration of reviews, ratings, and comments.
Converting Your Listing
In order for your business to take advantage of Google+ Local, it will need a verified G+ page. A Google places listing will not merge without it. If your business has this in place, the conversion should have been painless.
So is this beneficial? We think so. A consumer now has several ways to find you- Google Search, Google Maps, Google+ Search or in Mobile Apps- and now will have a very consistent experience.
Users then receive a much more engaging experience with reviews and several sources of information. Not only is it more visually interesting than Places was, but it is inviting to social interactions as well.
For a user, by choosing the Local tab, they are given a few options. They can simply browse the home page content for local businesses or they can conduct a search similar to a Google.com search. Two search boxes are visible allowing a category search as well as a location. Of course, Google knows your location, but in case you wanted to conduct a not so local search.
Zagat > Yelp ?
Integrated into this new local tab is Google’s Zagat which includes reviews, rating and comments from friends. Rather than a business being rated on a 1-5 star scale, Zagat allows users to fill out a more comprehensive review.
This helps to separate components such as food, service and atmosphere instead of being forced to factor them all into one. Zagat’s more complex scoring system prevents scores from converging and allows for a much more accurate review.
Changes to Mobile
Android devices have already seen these changes in Google Maps for Mobile. Still pending is app updates to iOS. However, Apple users may never see this based on predictions of its own Maps replacing Google Maps for the iPhone this summer.
Overall, these changes in Google+ Local and the integration of Zagat reviews provide a more useful local search experience for consumers. We are also excited about the large degree of social and recommended content that Google+ Local and Zagat have to offer.
For more information about getting your business active on Google+ Local, contact Turn the Page Online Marketing.