Google+Places is gone. It is being replaced by Google+Plus Local. This is the latest move by Google+to integrate Google+Plus with more features that allow users to interact and network.Google+Plus was launched in 2011. It initially generated considerable optimism as a social network that could threaten social media leader Facebook. However, once broad-scale access to Google+Plus was available, usage statistics failed to match the pre-launch hype.
By integrating local search and reviews, Google+hopes to allow user interaction in ways that Facebook does not. Google+Plus Local will also interface with Zagat, providing a more complete restaurant review platform. Google+says about the site that users will “discover great places through reviews and photos from people in their network.”
Now that the change has occurred, here are two things you need to do if you had a business listed on Google+Places. First, you need to check out your site and clean it up, if necessary. When Google+moved you from Places to Plus Local, they didn’t do so without creating a bit of a mess. Go to your Plus account and make sure the information is accurate. Check the pictures to ensure they are the ones you want in your profile.
Second, check your reviews. Google’s purchase and interface with Zagat is going to allow for a more formal rating system. Visitors can now rate your business on a point scale. How this will work out for service workers like plumbers and contractors remains to be seen. The reviews that came over from your previous page may be quite a mess now. It is the business owners’ responsibility to clean their own sites. When you sign into Google + you need to find your page and tell Google+if you want all your photos and reviews from the Places page moved and attributed to you. The alternative is to keep them private. The reviews you received before Plus will now show up as anonymous.
It’s hard to tell, but it seems like Google+is going to put a greater emphasis on reviews as it pertains to SEO. If this is the case, search optimized reviews may be the next step in SEO. One year ago Google+introduced descriptive terms in local search results. Since then Google+Maps search results in the U.S. have included phrases which are most frequently used to describe those places. According to Google “Whether you’re looking for local businesses in your neighborhood or in another city, these descriptive terms can help you find the places right for you.” Being cognizant of keywords in the description of your business has always been important. Now they may be important in the reviews your establishment gets as well.
You can expect more changes in the months and years ahead. As both Facebook and Google+continue to meld social networking and search together, the importance of keeping your online information accurate and up to date will only increase. Now is the time to get in there and claim, trim, embellish and otherwise take control of your Google+ Local page.
Source by J A Moffitt