If your business is among those that had a presence on Google Places, you may be surprised to find that Google Places no longer exists. On May 30 of this year, Google replaced Google Places with Google+ Local, a format designed to be more user-friendly, effective, and easier to navigate than the Google Places format. If your business had a presence on Google Places, your page was automatically converted to the Google+ Local format.
What’s new and/or improved with Google+ Local?
- Cleaner, crisper page layout
- “Starred” reviews replaced with Zagat scores
- Integration with other Google properties (i.e., Google Maps)
- Reviews and recommendations from user’s Google+ circles
- Pages designed to give business owners a more social way to interact with consumers
For the business owner, this transition will not be without its bumps and glitches. Even though your Places page was automatically converted to a Google+ Local page, it would be a good idea to check out your new page and make sure all your information is up to date. You can check your new Google+ Local page through your main console at Google Places for Business.
But what if you’ve resisted the temptation to have a Google Places page to begin with? The good news is, you won’t have to relearn how to administer your page. Simply join Google+ and create a Local page for your business.
How to claim your Google+ Local listing
- Go to https://plus.google.com/local and search for your business name or by your business phone number.
- (i.e. Website Hosting Company | Evansville, Indiana)
- Click on your business name to view the current listing
- On the listing page, click the “Edit business details” link in the right hand column
- On the next page, click the “If you own this place, claim it and edit it directly” link at the top of the page.
- From that point just follow the prompts from Google to verify listing ownership.
Benefits of a Google+ Local Listing
You may be wondering, however, why having a presence on Google+ matters. Google has developed its Google+ property as a social network, with the intention of competing with Facebook and to a lesser degree with other social media entities. Considering Google’s eminence as a search engine, the name recognition is helpful in this endeavor. And the new Google+ Local format is more dynamic than the Places format, enabling businesses to foster connections to their customers. Google+ benefits users by becoming another local search destination within Google, providing more in-depth content beyond the results provided in a Google.com search. If it benefits the user, the benefits will extend to the businesses listed with Google+, as well.
Of the many avenues available to business for marketing, the creation and maintenance of an online presence is among the most effective. While it may require a bit of commitment to keep this presence up-to-date, it is essential to the overall health and success of your business.