Google+ Local Replaces Google Places
Surprisingly, Google has made another major change. No, it’s not a panda from venice or a farmer or even a penguin. Google Places will become Google+ Local. Google+ Local is now simply a tab on your Google+ profile. Google launched Google+ in June of 2011 and acquired Zagat in September 2011. Google+ Local is the integration of Zagat into search results. You can find reviews from friends, scores and Zagat reviews at plus.google.com/local.
Update Your Google+ Page Today!
It is very important for businesses to update,claim or create a Google+ Local page right away. Google has already begun showing these new pages in search results and their is a good chance you may need to fix something on your page. Many of the pages are in the wrong category which will hurt their visibility in search results. Many pages have no photos and simply display a picture of a map of the location. Many pages have no reviews or citations. Most pages have limited or incorrect information listed. Millions of pages were created and are still unclaimed. Most business owners probably don’t even know their Google+ Local Score.
Huge Opportunity For Local Businesses
The huge opportunity for businesses right now is to take advantage of the massive change that Google has forced on the internet in the last couple of years. Mobile local search is a driving force in advertising and Google has created a free way for any business to participate in the incredible infrastructure that has already been built. Most businesses should have a website, a mobile website and probably a Facebook Fan Page at the least, but the most important thing a business can do to get more customers online over the next year is focus on their Google+ Local page. Google knows that mobile local search and mobile marketing is a the most powerful trend in history and they want to own as much of it as possible. Android and Google+ Local give them a powerful force. Google has billions of users and in order to keep them happy they have spent the last couple of years cleaning up the internet, or at least their search results. As they say, “Google’s primary objective is to provide safe, relevant experiences for our users.” Accurate data is key. Google Places and now Google+ Local allows them to provide a “safe, relevant experience” because they have more control. Right now an opportunity exists because millions of Google+ Local pages have very little and or inaccurate data right now and simply by updating their information, making sure they are in the proper category and have a few photos a business can improve search visibility and most importantly, this is an easy opportunity to stand out from your competition. The restaurant, bar or real estate agent or dentist that has a picture is going to look a lot more appealing than the one that just shows a boring picture of a map. Businesses that take advantage of this opportunity now will certainly get a head start on their competition. Mobile local search is a growing phenomenon worldwide and leveraged properly can lead to more customers, customers that buy more often and customers that buy more widgets.
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