2 months ago Google Places became part of Google+ as Google+ Local. Now the dust has settled here is the lowdown of what that means for you, the business owner.
Do I need to recreate my Google Places page?
No, Google have automatically migrated your Google Places page and you can still use Google Places to manage your business listing.
Is Google Places now part of my Google+ page?
Unfortunately not. Google+ Pages and Google+ Local Pages are different. So if you want to appear for your locality, you need a Google+ Local Page too. So, if you already have a Google+ Page (and if you haven’t, add it to your to do list) the migration will have created a separate Google+ Local page for you.
However, Google are looking to merge them so watch this space.
Why have Google made the change?
Google has been trying to establish its place in social interaction and this move will help them encourage local, social interaction. It’s all about making Google+ central to everything Google.
How will this benefit me?
The old Google Places was a great method for achieving high results with the search engine results pages (SERPs) for location searches relevant to your business. As the mobile platform becomes more and more prominent, this achievement isn’t as beneficial as mobile users aren’t searching in the traditional way.
The new Google+ Local will allow you to benefit from the ever growing mobile market. Using a phone’s GPS, users will be presented with local results including reviews, click to call options and quite possibly relevant special offers.
What do I need to do differently?
From a managing your placement point of view, there is little change for the time being – watch this space for updates.
However, from a user’s point of view, it will soon be easier for (logged in) Google+ users to post reviews about your brand. In many ways this is great but it does mean you will need to keep an eye on your Google+ Local page to make sure you’re up to speed with what’s being said about you so you can respond as you feel the need to – and it’s always worthwhile keeping an eye on your competition’s reviews too.