Last Wednesday Google merged Google Places with Google+ creating Google+ Local. Google’s announcement on Google and Your Business Blog states “The first thing you’ll notice is the new layout and design for the listing for your business. All your basic business information is still available. And by streamlining the layout and putting more focus on photos and reviews, we hope to help you highlight what makes your business truly unique.” They also talk about the integration of the Zagat review system and more changes to come for business. Included are a few businesses that have their Google+ Local page fully upgraded to give you a sense of what’s coming.
So, what changed?
The biggest change is that Google+ Local has a whole new look. Photos are at the top of the page and your business information stands out. All of the information that was on your Place page transferred over to the new Google+ Local page. You are still able to manage your information via your dashboard. Here are some more changes:
- Your verified Google Places listing will not display a checkmark on Google+ Local. Vanessa, Community Manager at Google, said they are working on this.
- You can no longer upload videos or use the “share an update” feature.
- Google+ Local is now using the Zagat scoring system – you will no longer see the star system. Here’s more on how the Google+ Local scores are determined.
- In order for customers to leave a review, they need to have a Google+ account
- If you have a Google+ account and a Google+ Local account they need to be managed separately. This will change in the future.
- Google+ Local does not have access to all of the Social features of Google+ –- yet. In the coming months Google will be making updates to Google+ local making it easier for local businesses to take full advantage of Google+’s features, especially for those who have already verified your Google Place pages.
This video is great – it helped with concerns I have had since the announcement and many of my questions.
Source: Vanessa Schneider’s Google+ post on Google and Your Business Forum Wrap-up
Hosted by Vanessa Schneider, Google Places community manager (aka vanessagene), with special guest Jade Wang, Google+ Local community manager (aka jadewang).
0:01 Intro: This week’s episode’s all about Google+ Local
00:13 Meet Jade, the Google+ Local community manager
00:34 So what happened this week? New design, new scoring system, what hasn’t changed, and more
2:14 Common questions we’ve been seeing from you guys
2:29 How do I combine my Google+ page and new local Google+ listing?
3:27 What’s the difference between a Google+ page and a local Google+ page?
4:29 What should I as a business owner do?
4:50 Should I create a Google+ page?
5:54 How’s this all eventually going to work?
6:49 Has verification changed at all?
7:17 Has ranking changed?
7:42 Do my customers need a Google+ account to leave a review?
8:06 Should I be worried about this?
8:59 How can I share my feedback about the changes?
9:41 How to flag a review as inappropriate?
Google+ Local updates will be posted on the elSue blog and changes will be implemented on our website.
We are excited about Google+Local and looking forward to Google providing all the social functionality that Google+ offers such as Hangouts, Circles and more allowing businesses to communicate with customers and promote their products and services online. For more information on Google+ checkout this post by elSue on Search Engine People.
In the meantime, please leave us your questions or comments.