Let’s take a quick look at Google+ Places and also learn how this can be an effective tool to get your business found online.
A Little Background
If you own a business that caters to local traffic, you’re probably familiar with Google Places. Google+ Local is pretty much the exact same thing, just upgraded with some new options and they’re trying to get more involvement with Google+. This will be a benefit to you because users will be able to read reviews on your site from anyone and if a friend was there, they’ll see that as a notification on the page.
Back in May of 2012, Google started to phase out Google Places with Google+ Local in an attempt to further the use of their social network Google+. The goal is simple. They want to socialize search. With all the fancy programming and bean bag offices that Google has, at the end of the day, they have one job, to deliver the most relevant traffic to users. By providing social feedback to users, it increased the relevancy of search by a large margin.
Google and other SEO pros are predicting that this is going to be an important part of your total SEO campaign. The idea of localizing your SEO traffic is tough to do, but with the direction you can get results that you’ll be happy with.
Some of the Features
Map Interface: Updated for the new rollout of Google+ Places, the map interface allows for easier searching in an area. You can provide broader topics to search for, then scroll over the map to find a place that sounds good. Where this comes in handy is when you ask “Where is a chinese place” and 30 of them pop up. You can then scroll over them and get a pop-up of the place to quickly compare the basic info to help make your choice.
Zagats Ratings: Remember this Chris Farley & Adam Sandler sketch? Sadly, Google+ Local won’t read it to you like an overbearing fat lady, but you’ll get a good idea of what you’re getting in to before you step foot in the door.
Imagine coming to a city you’ve never been to and pulling out your phone or laptop and finding all this great info about a place you’ve never heard of. You’re able to read reviews from Zagats alongside reviews from every day people. Giving you a great idea of what you can expect. Personally I don’t give a lot of credit to the ratings from Zagats. I think you get better reports from every day people.
Circle Ratings: I literally have a friend that ate an aluminum can at one point. So I take what my friends saw with a grain of salt. That being said, you can also see which of your friends have reviewed a place based on them either liking or reviewing the location. Comes in pretty handy when you’re talking about service providers and bars. I like the fact that you can easily see if someone has been to a specific mechanic or plumber. I’m able to pick up the phone and get a great idea of who I might be working with.
Updated Customization: Google has also upgraded the user experience by creating a page with much more customization with more photos and a cover page. Clickable map for directions, a more robust content section allows for people to include more information and details about the listing.
This is all fine and good, but what’s this have to do with me?
Depending on what your business is, this might be an excellent tool for you to use. Granted, this isn’t the solution for every business, but if you’re a restaurant, service provider, mechanic, bar, entertainment venue, or something that your location is based on how people decide to use you, this will be a vital part of your online strategy.
Setting up the accounts is relatively simple and most people can have it done in just a few hours. If you think you might need some help getting this put together, feel free to give me a call and I’d be happy to either talk you through it or do it for you. My number is listed to the side.
Thanks for reading!