Google take their next step towards integrating search with social by ensuring businesses get a social visit via local results.
For several years Google have been integrating Google Maps results into their search results, this has given users searching for businesses in a certain locale more relevant results and businesses in that locale a more prominent position in results. When users clicked on a business they would be taken to their Google Places page, a page which held brief information about the business, some photo’s, reviews and a link to their website.
This method has been successful, it has fed users relevant information, given them access to impartial reviews and helped them get information about a company they’ve been looking for. However, two days ago Google took a giant leap forward by automatically converting every Google Places page into a Google+ page (companies who already had a Google+ page now see traffic redirected to this page)!
You heard me correctly, every single company who had a Google Places listing has now had it imported into Google+ Local (a massive 80 million+ pages). , making this the ideal time to log in, claim your page and get your company truly up and running on Google+ ensuring you won’t get left behind in this massive social search overhaul.
What other changes have those crafty so and so’s at Google thrown in the hat?
A Google Local tab in all Google+ profiles, this is on all profiles personal or business.
Full integration of Zagat reviews.
Full integration of Google+ local pages across other Google products such as maps, mobile, and search
A User Experience
For users the experience is heightened by the fact that when they click through to the Google+ Local page, they will have an interactive experience. The reviews they see will be prioritised to show reviews written by people they know. They will also see how businesses score according to Zagat’s 30 point score system.
With the local tab being available from within Google+ users can search from their profile page without needing to go back to Google search or maps.
Users will be able to upload their own photographs and reviews for any business and these will show in public and ‘friends’ results.
All of this continues to point towards the fact that Google are endeavouring to give users the best and most relevant results to them. This means that as a business you need to be the best and most relevant option!
Engagement is key with social and as Google+ shows us social is becoming more important to search on a daily basis. If you haven’t updated your Google Places page in a while, then now is the time to do it. For now you can still update your page via Google Places for Business.
If you haven’t yet set up a Google+ page yet then what are you waiting for? Now is the time for action, get that page set up, get it looking good, get it looking better than any of your competitors pages, then the most important part of this story is….use it!
The key part of Google+ and the thing that is going to make businesses stand out from the crowd is how they use their pages, are then engaging their audience?
Google haven’t yet integrated the use of Google+ with Google+ Local but they are testing it with some companies, take a look at the accounts at the bottom of this Google Business Blog post to see some examples of how the Local pages are likely to end up.
This is going to be a fast moving area so keep your eyes peeled for more news on how Google+ Local is going to progress in the coming weeks and months.