Local consumers today spend a great deal online trying to find local businesses who have what they need or want – this includes food, entertainment, banking, shopping, auto repair, hair care, massages, lawn care, and the list goes on and on.
According to Google, one in five searches includes a “location,” which prompted them to create a solution that will help businesses attract new local customers.
Today, that solution is Google+ Local, which is a portal of business profile listing pages that replaced what was once known as the popular “Google Places.”
In an attempt to make local search more effective and interesting, Google created Google+ Local by integrating Google Places with their new social network, Google+ (also known as Google Plus or G+).
Similar to Facebook pages, Google+ has already gained massive popularity in the social networking arena due to the fact that it is owned by the largest and most powerful online search engine; Google itself. Therefore, Google+ Local is expected to receive the same level of success as it creates a unique, yet effective way for small businesses to gain local online exposure.
Google+ Local pages allow business owners to market to local consumers by letting them know where they are located as well as providing them with other important information about their companies.
Just as the Yellow Pages book lists services and products according to their locations, Google+ Local does the same thing, but it’s done electronically which makes it even more powerful. In fact, it delivers extremely targeted results based on search phrases that consumers enter into the search engines when looking for local products and services.
As a small business owner, you are probably always hunting for inexpensive ways to put your business in front of your local consumers. Since consumers today spend a great deal of time online researching businesses, an online presence is no longer an option – it’s a must. A Google+ Local Page is one way to accomplish this goal by helping you establish a strong online presence geared specifically to your local consumers.
If you are familiar with Google Places, you have probably noticed that the listing pages don’t look quite the same. Your previous Google Places page has likely been migrated over to Google+ Local already by Google. If this is the case, consumers are now directed to your Google+ Local page instead of your previous Google Places page and you’re wondering if there’s anything you should do on your end.
The following changes have occurred as a result of the Google pages transition:
- Google Places pages are now Google+ Local pages
- A “Local” tab has been added to Google+ so users can easily search for and recommend specific Google+ Local pages
- The Zagat review and scoring system has replaced Google’s old five-star system
- Google+ Local pages integrate with Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Mobile Maps