Google Places, Google Local and Google Maps are now called Google+ Local. Google+ Local pages are similar to the former Google Places pages, however they provide better options for communication with your customers.
So what do you need to know about Google+ Local? In addition to the Zagat review system that we mentioned in a previous blog post, here are three more important changes you need to be aware of to get the most out of Google+ Local (formerly known as Google Places).
- Reach. It used to be that Google Places listings were only shown on Google Search results pages. Now, your Google+ Local listing will show up when web surfers search Google.com, Google Maps, and Google+, as well as when people access Google through mobile apps.
- Social networking via Google+ Local. Because Google+ Local is fully integrated into the Google+ social networking platform, businesses now have the opportunity to interact with their customers on a large scale via their Google+ Local pages. You can post updates, send and receive private messages, develop a following, organize your following into “circles”), and even leave reviews for other businesses using your Google+ Local profile. These advanced social networking features carry a broad range of exciting opportunities for connecting with your customers in powerful new ways.
- Google+ Local reviews. Google+ changes the way customers leave reviews for your business. First of all, customers must be logged into their Google+ accounts to leave a review. This means that there are no longer anonymous reviews, that could potentially be malicious and spammy, you know exactly who left what review, and you can respond to them directly, through their Google+ profiles. Also, instead of the previous 0 to 5 star rating scale, there is now a 30-point rating scale that requires reviewers to break down their ratings into specific aspects of your business (customer service, food, and décor, for example). This gives you a great advantage when it comes to interpreting and applying reviewer data for improvements to your business.
To set up or enhance your current Google+ Local profile, contact a specialist at Bloom Digital Marketing.