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Google Plus Local LogoLocal businesses that wish to develop a strong web presence understand the importance of having a fully developed Google Places listing.  What you may not know is that Google recently completely changed the face of Google Places.  As a matter of fact, it is no longer Google Places.  It is now Google Plus Local – a drastic overhaul of the previous Google Places platform.
While it is only natural for businesses to stress over sudden changes that force a very swift response (and an even faster learning curve), the good news is that Google Plus Local has the power to completely revolutionize the way you are used to interacting with customers via Google Places.
You might be surprised to find that the more you learn about Google Plus Local, the more excited you are to use it, and this is your perfect starting point for learning more.

What’s New in Google Plus Local

Google Plus Local is a major upgrade from the previous yellow-pages concept of Google Places.  In order to claim your Google Plus Local page, you must first create a Google Plus account.
Social Networking. When you create your account you are automatically linked in to the entire Google Plus social network – a vast community of businesses, customers, and potential customers that you can interact with in a variety of ways, from posts to private messages.

Google Plus Local has a new review format.

One of the primary focuses of Google Plus Local is customer reviews; however, Google Plus Local reviews are more advanced than what you might be used to.  Fortunately for you, they also come with some great advantages.

  • Reviewers must use Google Plus accounts. Customers who leave reviews on your page must be logged in to their Google Plus accounts; this means there are no more anonymous reviews, which in turn means you are less likely to receive malicious or spam reviews.  You can also communicate with reviewers directly.
  • User ratings.  Additionally, reviewers will have the opportunity to rate your business more thoroughly and accurately, using the new Zagat scale (as opposed to the previous 5-star scale).  The Zagat scale asks that customers rate your business from 0 to 3, in a number of categories related to your business, in order to calculate an overall rating of 0 to 30.  This system is much more telling for potential customers, and much more revealing for businesses looking to improve.

What happens to your previous Google Places listing?  
Google makes the process of switching over to Google Plus fast and simple, by allowing you to transfer your Google Places listing information over to your Google Plus Local account.
We’re busy setting up Google Places Local for businesses across the country, so if you have a question or need a hand, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line or setup a free consultation. We’re always happy to help you take advantage of everything Google Plus has to offer your business.