Google Plus Local Pages What You Need To Know

goople plus localGoogle announced today that Google Places and Google Plus have now been merged. The new name is going to be Google Plus Local Pages (that’s a mouthful).

For sometime now Google has been forcing Google Plus down peoples mouths trying to catch up with Facebook in the social arena, and this looks like their latest attempt at getting people to use it more.

This has been on the cards for a while, but as it’s 23:11 here in the UK I’ll keep it brief.

“Static Places now give way to more dynamic Google+ Local pages. Google’s star ratings are also being replaced by the Zagat 30-point rating scale (for user reviews as well).”

For more in depth article with nice fancy images and stuff, check out Greg Sterling’s article over at SearchEngineLand.

Anyway, I’ll cut to the chase…what does this mean for you Mr Google Plus Local Places page owner?

Main points:

  • It seems the rankings haven’t been shaken up ‘yet’, so if you ranked well before, you should still rank well…for now.
  • Google have added Zagat’s 30-point scale/score to the new pages and will replace the old star ratings. The  score will show up in Google’s normal search results and on Google maps and mobile searches.
  • It used to be worthless building links to your Google Places page, but since are are now indexing Google Plus Local Pages, if you do get people linking to them you could see a boost in rankings.
  • You can still manage your Google places page as before by logging into your Google places account
  • The fundamentals haven’t changed with regards to increasing your local visibility but you’ll probably find reviews carrying more weight and also plus one’s

So there you have my ‘real’ quick synopsis. Google are really going after the data which the likes of Facebook (no pun intended) have already got on people.

Let’s face it, Google are not a search engine company anymore and haven’t been for many years. They’re an Ad agency because that’s where all their revenue comes from. And the more data they have on you, the more precise they can target their ads – Simples.

So in short don’t panic, keep an eye on your rankings and login to your new Google Plus Local Pages thingy to check it out.

Some more resources for you to read are:

https://support.google.com/local/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2623007

http://blumenthals.com/blog/2012/05/30/google-places-pages-are-no-more-but-what-has-changed/

 UPDATE:

After playing around a little more with Google Plus Local, I’m beginning to like it. They’ve definitely took note of Facebook’s layout and features that’s for sure. Not a bad thing though really.

One of the most useful features I’ve found so far is you can have additional administrators for your pages. This is a great step in the right direction for consultants like myself who manage multiple account.

Gone now are the days of having to log out of my Google account and into a clients to amend their places page. I can now changed things around from within my own Google account – a great feature.

 

 

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