If you’ve visited a business on Google Places lately, you may have noticed some significant changes, a giant background map for one. According to experts, Google is implementing a staged upgrade to Google Places, with the ultimate goal of replacing Google Places with Google+ Local. It began in May 2012, when Google’s local search results showed Google+ Local instead of Google Places. The continuing, painstakingly slow transition has been frustrating and confusing to both consumers and business owners.
Some businesses in the USA now have access to the new user interface for Google+ Local, but the product is not officially in use to the public at this time. Google says: “We are doing a gradual rollout that will start with a subset of new users in the U.S. Then, we will gradually make this service available to a larger group of both existing and new users in the weeks to come.” Google has announced, new users have access to the new Google+ Local dashboard.
Is Google+ Worth Your Time?
Google+ has 400M+ users and is growing. With Google’s overall plan extending years into the future, all businesses that market online should have a Google+ Local page.
Where is Your Business Information on Google?
If you had a Google Places listing, your information is not gone forever. To move your Google Places content over to Google+ Local, sign up for a free Google+ account. Then, log out of Google. Go to your Google+ Local business page and sign in. At that point, you can request to move your Places information to Local. You also have the option of keeping some of the old information private, including reviews and photos.
Testimonials and Reviews
Testimonials, photos, your logo, as well as your contact information are still important parts of Google+ Local. The “scoring” for consumer reviews is a bit different than previously, with Google’s integration of Zagat, a restaurant review scoring system. Scoring can range from 0 (poor to fair) to 3 (excellent). Google averages a business’ score, the multiplies the average by ten to get a higher average score without a decimal point.The result are scores that range from 0 (poor to fair) to 26-30 (extraordinary to perfection.) This scoring is a bit confusing without an explanation.
Benefits of Google+ Local
For those businesses interested in integrating Google+ into their social media marketing strategy, the new changes should receive a warm reception. Google+ Local business pages that are connected to a Google+ account now offer the capability of posting social messages, attributed to the actual business.
Google also promises faster edits to inaccuracies, when businesses make updates to their Google+ Local listing. Edits will still be moderated and checked by Google, but speedier results are the goal.
Businesses that do not have a physical address, like mobile pet groomers or consultants who office at home, can now acquire a Google+ Local business page, as well. This was not the case in the past.
What’s Next from Google?
Why all the changes? Google has bigger plans, including Google Glass, which could transform how humans use the Internet. For now, however, we all have to make do with the transitions Google’s making.
YouTube, owned by Google, has taken on a very Googlesque look as of late. Check out this page on Google+ videos to see the layout changes to YouTube and learn more about how Google+ works.
Get Help Now
If you have questions about Internet marketing, or you’d like to learn how Google’s advice regarding content marketing could benefit your dental practice, call Modern Dental Practice Marketing Consulting today at 972-781-8861. We build custom and template websites, on a WordPress CMS, and have a full staff of trained dental and SEO copywriters. Our SEO strategy follows Google’s guidelines and yields awesome results.