Making the Change from Google Places to Google+Local
Recently, 80 million Google Places pages have been entirely replaced by the new Google+ Local pages. This is a dramatic change that may be causing some confusion for business owners. This new feature combines the social site Google+, with the features of restaurant review site Zagat. Google hopes to establish a more seamless experience.
What are the main changes?
- Google+ Local pages are substituted for Google Places pages.
- Google+ the social networking site now has a Local tab integrated.
- The reviews are based off of the format of Zagat.
- Google+ Local is integrated with Google programs such as search, Maps and mobile.
- Circles in Google+ can easily view recommendations from friends/family/colleagues.
Here are two screenshots showing the “old” Places look with star ratings and then the new search results utilizing the Zagat scale.
How does the new point system work?
Below is a screenshot showing the Scoring Guide that users will be filling out. For a clear picture of the business, users don’t have to read 1,000 reviews. Zagat summarizes millions of user’s reviews and turns them into averages. The new Zagat point system now utilizes a 30 point system which prevents everything from hovering around 3.5 stars and can express differentiation.
The users are asked about specific details including individual ratings about food, service, atmosphere etc. and can leave additional comments. Small clips of all the reviews are combined into a single summary that can be viewed.
Consistent Experience, Many Options
Users will have many ways to locate Google+ Local pages including through the search bar, Google Maps, mobile apps, or through their circles in Google+. This will also extend to smartphone platforms giving users access to a stronger search experience and greater recommendations.
Visually appealing presentation for Businesses
The presentation of information on the pages for Google+ Local is very visual and allows greater creativity for businesses. There also can be social interactions similar to the communication on Facebook and Twitter to create a social atmosphere. Red Mill Burgers utilizes their page to show large images representing their brand.
This transition brings major changes for both consumers and businesses. Google+ has become an important piece for businesses to utilize in terms of inbound marketing. If your business already has a strong Google Places page do not be concerned, the content will be transferred over to Google+ Local. Make sure all of your information is updated so that when users click to your page they are seeing current information and you are optimizing searchability.
For an example of a Google+Local Page, check out Mio Restaurant. https://plus.google.com/u/0/108089234525710405867/#108089234525710405867/posts