Google+ is a late comer to the social game, yet, it is a Google property and, as such, is empowered in Google search results. In addition, it is difficult to ignore a network of 170 million users, when the company claims hyper growth is right around the corner. Google considers it a social layer to what the company already has in place.
There is a lot of buzz about changes to Google+ Local that will make it even more important to your online marketing strategy. Last month, Google starting migrating Google Places pages to Google+ Local, which uses Zagat reviews to score local businesses. Query results in Google Maps and search results will now display Google+ Local pages, which give users a chance to review and share with their circles. Google has changed reviews from 5 stars to 3 stars, which is aligned with Zagat.
If you had a Google Places page you probably received an email about upcoming changes in May. You can continue to login to Places as normal, but you will have to “upgrade” to Google+ Local.
Google+ Local provides a number of benefits:
- The power of Google Search
- More accurate reviews and ratings
- New customer interaction with Circles
- You don’t need a personal Google+ page
- Customers who avoid Facebook
- Additional visibility
Google+ Local pages are visually more interesting and provide a wider variety of information about your business. Google has mentioned plans for additional features and integrations between Local and Google+ that are coming down the pipe.