November 28, 2014

What Google+ Local Pages Means to Your Business

If you’re a small business owner who prides themselves on keeping up with all the local search blogs, you may now be overwhelmed with all the news regarding Google+ Local pages and the effect it will have on how you market your business online. If you’re not big on reading blogs, than you may not even know that your business’ online landscape totally changed last week and you could be left out in the cold.

Either way, fear not! Just keep reading to understand all the essentials regarding the new Google+ Local pages; we’ll break it down together.

Google+

First off, What are Google Local+ Pages?

In case you missed it, last week Google announced a new way to help people discover and share local businesses with Google+. The new way comes in the form of new Google Local+ pages. These are new business profile listings which will replace your Google Place page and integrate with Google’s new social network, Google+. Users can access these pages through Search, Maps, or through the new Local tab within Google+.

 

If you check out any of these new format pages, you’ll notice they are considerably more user-friendly, dynamic, and easier to interact with than pre-existing Google Place pages. I’ve heard many experts describe  Local+ pages as more attractive and easier-to-use Facebook brand pages and I wouldn’t completely disagree. There are certainly similarities.  Regardless of how you look at them, your Local+ page is your new Google business profile for your company, housing all important business information.

They pages also make use of Google’s acquisition of Zagat from last year, replacing star ratings with more complete 30-point Zagat scores and recommendations to give users a better way to evaluate and select local businesses. You’re also able to see who in your Google+ Circles has been to the restaurant so that you can find reviews and ratings directly from them.

 

When a user looks up your business on Google, this page is what they will find.  The pages are designed to give business owners a much more social way to interact with consumers, in a way that Place pages simply did not allow.

So my Place Page is gone?

Yes. You should notice that your Google Place page has already been converted to a Local+ page. Google says that to date, 80 million Google Places pages worldwide have already been merged to this new platform. If your page has not been merged yet, it’s coming. So prepare yourself.

Worth noting: According to Google, you will still continue to manage your information (basic information, make updates, respond to reviews, etc) in Google Places for Business. That is still your main console.

What does this mean for my Google+ Business Page? I had one of those, too!

For the time being, you now have two Google+ pages that you’ll need to manage and worry about. However, the time when you’ll be able to merge your Google+ Business page with your Google Local+ page is coming. In fact, to give you a sense of what it will look like, you can view the listings for select companies below. These are folks Google has worked with to upgrade their listings early so that we could all see what it would look like:

So while you may have two pages today, Google is working to give business owners the options to merge.  Once this happens, you’ll have a one-stop Google portal for your business on the Web. This is arguably what many SMBs have been waiting for – one place to manage information, posts, reviews, etc.

Speaking of reviews…will they be moved to my new Local+ page?

Sort of. Google will be moving over the reviews on your Place page to your Local+ page, however, unless the user who left the review goes through Google’s verification process, all of your reviews will now show up as being from “A Google User”.  Not the best true cue. However, if the user does go through the quick verification process (which Google will prompt them to do), than the reviews will be tied to their Google+ account. Going forward, in order for anyone to leave a review of your business, they must do so from their Google+ account.

What are the SEO implications?

Okay, so you may not have been wondering about that, but you should. Because this change will impact your visibility on the Web. Unlike the older Google Place Pages, your Local+ business profile WILL be indexed and show up in the search results. That means you will have to think about how you’re going to optimize your Local+ page for search to gain higher visibility.

The merger of Google+ with Google Place Pages signifies a major change in the handling of local search and how small business owners will have to adjust their attention and marketing efforts. For other accounts of what these Local+ pages mean to your business, you may want to check out insight from these experts:

And, as always, when things change again (which they will), we’ll update you. ;)

Google+ Photo via Shutterstock

More in: 18 Comments ▼

Lisa Barone


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

18 Reactions

  1. Great post. I think business owners are afraid all the work they put into Google Places just vanished. You help to calm those fears. Thanks for the post.

  2. It amazes me how hard Google is pushing people into Google+. If they keep up this rate I’ll end up sending my emails through Google+ instead of Gmail.

  3. Just when you thought that you had done everything to optimize your site! I had honestly held off on Google+ because of the perceived low benefit. It’s getting to be more of a challenge for small business owners/operators to manage across the social media space – looks like another opportunity out there for an enterprising person.

  4. Thanks Lisa for blogging about Google+ local pages as I haven’t explored the platform that much and I might be missing big time. It’s quite a challenge to learn a new social network and to start from scratch. I wonder if you get more engaged users there than the usual sites like Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook.

  5. Lisa–
    What does Google Local mean if you’re NOT a restaurant or store? Like my home office for Egg? Obviously no one will be checking in here, but I still want a presence for search benefit.

  6. Google+ has always provided a SEO benefit to businesses so the merger of Google Places and Plus will just make it stronger. Having visibility on the web is very important for local businesses. I’m excited to see how this progresses.

  7. Thanks for sharing this. I have not done anything on Google+ because I know of only ONE person that actually uses the platform. Looks like Google is still beating the dead horse, hoping to revive it. I guess it’s time to put a page for my business there. Headed there now!

  8. All you need to know about Google profiles:

    Google Places: It has a pretty neat interface (much neater than Google Plus). If you are a business catering to a local audience (aiming to appear in Local Listings), and Posting as a Business is not very important to you, then you can go for this. If your business is verified, Google would eventually upgrade your account to a Google Plus Local account.

    Google Plus Local: If you want to appear in Local Listings (address is important for your business), and you want to post socially as a business and engage with your followers, Google Plus Local is what you want.

    Now, if you already have a local listing (Google Places), and you create and verify your Local Business (from Google Plus Local page), the listings get merged with the Page, thus enabling the functionalities of both Places and Local.

    Google is also auto-upgrading some verified Google Places accounts to Google Local Pages; if it doesn’t happen for you automatically, and you have a verified business, you might see the upgrade option in your dashboard.

    Google Plus: If your business address and locations are not very important to you, and social interaction is your main aim, Google Plus Page (other than Local) is the way to go.

    No, if Google hasn’t upgraded your verified Google Places account to a Google+ Local Page account, you have an option to make the merge yourself. However, before doing that you have to make sure that your Places for Business account fits the following criteria:

    a) You have verified the local business.

    b) Your Places for Business email address must have a Google Plus profile.

    c) Your Page must be in a Category eligible for Google Plus

    If you fulfill these criteria, your dashboard would have a call to upgrade to G+ Local Page. If you see it, click on the button and you are set. If you don’t, wait while Google does it for all the older profiles.

    For more information on this, read this post – http://www.leadsquared.com/google-places-for-business-and-google-local/#sthash.BMIAyVBv.dpuf

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>



Compare your business to the industry - Try our new tool


X