June 08, 2012 16:20
Google Places is now Google+ Local

Google Places is now Google+ Local

As you probably already know, Google is one of the biggest players on the web, and having your business indexed by Google should be a top priority to achieve good Search Engine Optimization. One way to do this is to make sure your business is listed under Google’s “directory.” Up until recently, businesses could create their listing under Google Places.
However, Google decided to get rid of Google Places and integrate business listings with their rapidly growing social media network, Google+. So Google Places is now referred to as Google+ Local. In essence, it’s basically the same as Google Places, but with a friendlier user interface and a few extra add-ons and capabilities.
Some of the changes include the ability for businesses to interact with users on a more personal level. End users also have the option to only search for Google+ Local businesses. Another noteworthy claim is that users can filter local results to be more appropriate to their needs based on recommendations, reviews, +1s, and +1s from friends and family.

Google+ was an automatic update, so if you already created a Google Places listing for your business, then there is no need to worry. Your account will automatically be switched over as well as all your contact information and pictures.
What about my reviews from Google Places? Will they be carried over as well?

Reviews will be a carried over but since it is now linked to public Google+ profile, they will show up as being posted by an anonymous user unless/until the original individual who gave the review goes through a brief process to verify it.

Another important change to note is how the scoring system for reviews works. The 5 star scoring system is gone and a new scoring system developed by Zagat is being implemented. For a long time, Zagat has been the go to site for restaurant reviews. Recently, Google bought Zagat and will be using their scoring method to rate Google+ Local listings.
Zagat’s scoring system is a 30 point scoring system where each user can rate a business on a scale of 0-3. The scores are then averaged and multiplied by 10 to give the new score for your business. There are different categories you can be reviewed in, resulting in multiple different scores such as food, service, atmosphere, cost, ect. If there are not enough reviews in multiple categories you will just be given one overall zagat score.
This new scoring system can be a bit scary when looked at in further detail. While 4 out of 5 is a pretty decent score for any business, when transferred over to the 30 point system, it’s a whole other story. A 4 out 5 is an 80% and 4 out 5 would correlate to a 20 out 30 or a 66.7% on Zagat. Quite a big difference, so it is important to be aware of this and really make your business stand out from the competition.

Google+ Local, for the time being, exists independently of Google+ Business Pages, so just because you have a Google+ Business page does not mean you already have a Google+ Local page. So you will need to create a Google+ Local account if you did not already have a “Places” account. Until Google further updates their social media network, there is unfortunately two Google+ accounts to manage.

The overall goal of this new system is to make local businesses more accessible and viewable to social networkers in that area and for friends to recommend a business to one of their friends and so on.

Google has also decided to take into account reviews and your new "Zagat" style scores when indexing pages. So now your Google+ Local listing is extremely important and should be one of your top priorities for achieving good SEO with high ranking.

In response to these changes, 10 Pound Gorilla is rewarding those whose +1 us and write reviews on our Google+1 page.

For every review you leave on our Google+1 page, you will receive a $25 credit towards work with a limit of up to $150. And Just for +1(ing) us on our website, you’ll receive a $10 credit! Just simply click the +1 at the top of this page, www.10poundgorilla.com, under the menu.

We have 2 offices and a Google+ Local page for each one, so if you leave a review for both (2 reviews) you’ll get 2 credits.

You can visit our Google+ Local pages here (Winter Park Office) and here (Golden Office)

About The Author

Ben Schmidt with 10 Pound Gorilla

Ben is the newest edition to our team and is jack of all trades at handling design, coding, project management, and blogging.

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