It was anticipated by many in the world of SEO and Social media, but now it is finally here; Google+ Local pages. Google+ and Google Pages for business, both introduced less than a year ago, have now merged together to form Google+ Local Pages.
Local search just got a lot more social
The 80 million pages of Google Places have now been replaced with new Google+ Local pages.
Marissa Mayer from Google says “It’s a dramatic change (for the better) though it will undoubtedly disorient some users and business owners.”
What is new and what will be changing
- The substitution of the new Google+ Local pages for Google places pages.
- The appearance of a ‘Local’ tab within Google+
- The integration and free availability of Zagat reviews
- The integration of Google+ local pages across properties such as Search, Maps and Mobile.
- The integration of circles filter to find reviews recommendations from friends, family and colleagues. With the merging of Google+ and Google Places, Google+ has become a new search destination within Google itself. You can visit your own Google+ page and search for a local Chinese restaurant. The results will be filtered according to your circles. Your results will show places in the area that your friends have reviewed or commented on. Soon it will also be filtered to where your friends have ‘checked in’.
Google’s star rating has been replaced by a Zagat rating, which is an in-depth rating to help give better reviews of businesses. It will focus on more aspects of the business with numerous rating scales as opposed to one scale of excellence. Customers will be able to rate a business out of 30.
The new local search is much more visually interesting. Businesses can now interact socially with customers similar to Facebook and Twitter. This is a view of what the new Local pages will look like on Google+.
Google+ is continually changing to make the experience for the user a better one. With the merging of Google+ and Google Places the user now benefits a lot more from their Google experience. Online users can now interact and, more importantly, search socially, giving Google+ the advantage over other social networking sites.
To conclude, local search just got a lot more social.