The day has come for the merging of Google Local and Google plus pages. 80+ million Google Places accounts were automatically converted into Google+ Local pages. Fear not, the guide for all the perks and changes you will need to know are conveniently below.
Changes associated with Google Local:
1. Google+ Local pages have been integrated for Google search, Google mobile, Google maps and G+.
2. The 5-star Google ratings are replaced by the Zagat 30 point score.
The Zagat 30point score allows searchers to get a better sense of the true rating of a restaurant instead of averaging the scores out to 3.5 stars. As most rating goes, it’s the people who ecstatically love a place, the people who had an extremely poor experience and then the avid raters. Leaving the average score to be somewhat useless. Below are the guidelines for Local Scores.
3. New “Local” tab in G+
There is a new “Local” tab on the left navigation bar of your G+ page which shows results for Local Restaurants. Not only does the Local tab utilize your current geographic location, it also categorizes surrounding restaurants on their cuisine type. It is quite similar to a restaurant having their own personal G+ profile page. An amazing aspect about G+ Local pages is that it gives businesses more diversity in what they wish to display in comparison to the small amount of information previously available in Google Places accounts.
Businesses are able to have a growing circle, communicate back and forth with customers and post multiple pictures much like the functionality of Facebook pages. But! Google Local pages don’t send a user to their (old) Google places account to rate their restaurant anymore. Now, the functionality is completely integrated by skipping a step and allowing users to rate all in one place.
4. Add restaurants to your G+ Circles!
When searching for businesses either through G+ or on the Google Search if you are signed into your account you can easily add restaurants of interest to your Circles. This is an amazing tool that allows you to almost “bookmark” your favorite restaurants and share them easily with friends. Not only can you bookmark them, but you can access your G+ account across your G+ apps on many platforms.
5. SEO Value of G+ Local Pages
This is undoubtedly the most exciting aspect to me. The Google Local page will be indexed! The content on your page will be valued and your social media interactions will have an affect relevant to your G+ Local page.
In the end as always, Google’s goal is to create high quality results for search queries. Yes, our search habits change with every altercation Google decides to make. Yes, they are probably hoping to increase the engagement on their G+ pages by increasing restaurant interactions with consumers and searchers. There is no choice but for G+ interactions to increase by taking 80+ million places accounts and making them G+ Local pages. They just got 80+ million more G+ accounts! With the keyword “restaurants” being searched an average of 68 million times a month, and “food” being search an average of 84 million times a month I think they will see some result changes in their G+ engagement.
If you would like to take the: Google Plus Local Tour