Tuesday, 06 November 2012 07:41

Google Local Search Goes Social

In May, Google began a process that will result in the full integration of the Google Places local search listings and business Google Plus pages. According to the Google, the initial changes were a design upgrade and a new link. Simple changes maybe, but it’s now more important than ever that businesses with a strong local customer base dive in and work on their local search strategy.

Currently, the older Google Places page and the new Google Plus page differ in that the Google Plus page contains all of the social features from Google Plus: hangouts, sharing to circles, video uploads, and a new link to “Local”. Click through the new “Local” link and you will find a variety of nearby businesses, their reviews and a new scoring system courtesy of Google’s recent purchase of Zagat. The Google Places page just has a new look, no social features. You are still able to manage reviews, business information, access stats and Adwords Express from the Google Places listing until the integration is complete.

So far Google has not announced when the final integration from Google Places to Google Plus will take place but there are a few steps you can take to make sure the integration goes as smoothly as possible for your business:

  • Ensure that all Google Places business information is up-to-date and correct.

  • If you don’t already have one, create a Google Plus account under the same Gmail as your Google Places account, then create a Google Plus page for your business. Be sure to choose the Local Category so future merging happens easily.

  • Gain more opportunity online by building and promoting your Google Plus page.

  • Continue to build your business by encouraging customer reviews on Google -- your customers will now need a Google Plus account.

Contact Fig Advertising + Marketing for help with building and growing your online local search strategy. Stay tuned to the Google Plus Business Blog for more information on this important social media integration.