Today Google introduced Google+ Local. This affectively puts an end to what we currently know as Google Places.
Below are some of the highlights from the recent announcement.
- Zagat Reviews – This was bound to happen after Google acquired Zagat in September, 2011
- Local tab – By going directly to https://plus.google.com/local, users will be taken to a new tab in Google+ dedicated to local listings. “From the new “Local” tab on the left-hand side of Google+, you can search for specific places or browse for ones that fit your mood.”
- Complete Integration – “Google+ Local is also integrated across other products you already use every day. If you’re looking for a place on Search or Maps, you get the same great local information there too.”
- Friend Recommendations – Increasing the emphasis of friends’ opinions, Google has integrated circles into these reviews. “And if you’re searching on Google or Google Maps for a great place to buy a gift for that same friend, your results might include a review from her about a boutique she shops at all the time.”
Google+ Local will be the central hub for all businesses on Google. Let me be clear on what I am NOT saying:
- I am not saying Google+ is an alternative to Facebook
- I am not saying people should or will migrate from Facebook to Google+
- I am not saying I expect my friends and family to come over to Google+
Those are different conversations and often get lumped into the same discussion. Google+ is often the mocked channel for social media “experts”. They are quick to point out how Google+ is a ghost town or Google+ is going to fail. Google+ is not Facebook and I hope its intention is not to be Facebook. That’s a battle it won’t win. However, Google+ is an essential part to any marketing campaign. It’s especially essential to any company that wants have a place in Google. It’s essential for anyone who wants to be found.
Google+ Local is much more enhanced than Google Places, with more functionality and a more social experience. Equally important Google+ Local is filled with SEO opportunity. As discussed previously, the social signals in search continue to be vital to a business.Tags: Google, google places, Google Plus, Local Search Engine Marketing, location, News, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, social search
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