When Google launched Google+ and Google+ business pages, everyone felt it was inevitable that all things Google would eventually be merging eventually and now we can see our predictions were right.
Last week, Google announced that they had converted all Google Places pages into a Google+ Local page; this change affects about 80 million Place pages. One of the changes that has come along is the use of Zagat ratings in place of the star ratings we are used to seeing. This allows users to rate each business on different factors rather than giving one score for the whole experience.
These pages will also be integrated through all of Google’s products including search, maps, and mobile. This will result in a more user friendly experience that yields the same page no matter how you find it. Google has also added a more social experience with this change, allowing businesses to share updates and encourage interaction with the page. While the updates are available right now, Google plans on slowly rolling out more features in the coming months.
When logging into Google+ now, users will be able to see a local tab. When clicked on, the page offers suggestions on local businesses in the area that is tailored to each user. Essentially, no two people in the same city will see the same listings. The local tab will allow you to click on each business to find out more and interact with the map to find directions if you want to try it out.
One big plus to all of these changes is that the Google+ Local pages will be indexed by the search engines unlike the Google Pages that were previously in place. This will allow each business owner to take full advantage of the search engine power Google+ has provided. While all pages have been converted whether they were claimed or not, it will benefit business owners even more to claim pages and add keywords into their description sections.
Another addition to look for in the future will be the ability to display all locations of the business on the same page. While it hasn’t been implemented yet, it is something that Google is working on and will be a handy feature for those with more than one location.
Among other changes, the main points to take notice of are:
- Google Places Pages have been replaced with Google+ Local pages
- Addition of a Local Tab within Google+
- Star ratings have been replaced with Zagat rating
- Integration of Google+ local pages with maps, search, mobile, etc throughout Google
- Circle filter that gives you the ability to view reviews made by your circle members
- Search engine indexing to help boost your search engine results
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