A recent change to the way Google lists local businesses is set to transform the online marketing landscape – for the better. Gone is the familiar Google Places listing to be replaced with the more social ‘ Google+ Local ’ format.
While still in the transition process, the plan is to merge Google’s social media platform, Google+ (which continues to grow at a pace) with Google Places, to create Google+ Local Pages. The result
being that all searches conducted via Google Search and Google Maps will also include Google+ Local Page results.
Add to this the Google+ recommendation feature (called Zagat) and you have a very powerful way to market your business at a local level.
Zagat scores will be used to rate businesses on Google+ Local. The Zagat scoring system has effectively replaced the 5-star rating shown on Google Places with feedback based on a broader
So what will these far reaching changes mean for the average local business?
- Google+ Pages provide more interactive features making it easier to connect with customers on a social level.
- All local businesses can be rated by customers using the Zagat scoring system, not just hospitality businesses like hotels and restaurants.
- Your Google+ feedback will undoubtedly have a bearing on your Google Search Engine rankings.
- A programme to consistently obtain positive customer feedback will be vital.
- Online Reputation Management will become critical for local businesses in every sector – both to help highlight positive comments and just as importantly, promptly react to negative feedback.
Undoubtedly, there is no better way to market your business than through customer recommendations – Google+ Local provides this opportunity. With almost certainly more innovative
changes to come, resting on your laurels could mean being left behind your more proactive competitors.
If you would like help claiming your Google+ Local presence or your online reputation management, get in touch by calling WSI-eMarketing on 01454 261111
What impact has the change to Google+ Local had on your old Google Places listing? Have you started encouraging your customers to leave feedback via the new Zagat rating system yet? We’d love you to share your experiences here….