Google has changed Google Places to Google Plus Local pages. All businesses that were used to seeing a link to their Google Places listing in search results will now be seeing a link to “Google + page” (or a link saying “x number of reviews”).
As we reported on 30 May, Google kicked off the changes by integrating a Local tab into the Google Plus interface. A key new feature of Google Plus Local is the integration of the Zagat scoring system. Zagat was a darling of the dotcom boom at the end of the 90s when talk of mobile internet was in its infancy and the idea of being able to find and review restaurants using mobile devices was an exciting new idea.
Zagat is now enjoying a resurgence of brand awareness now that Google has adopted it internationally. The scoring system allows web users to give a quality score to a business, which is then converted to points.
If you have been lovingly crafting your Google Places listing over the past few months, you will now find it’s all changed, as your business has become a Google Plus Local page, and you will need to log in again to familiarise yourself with the interface and the features.
Here’s an example of how it looks, using the Google Plus Local page of Landcruise Motorhome Hire.
If you are not logged into Google, you see a bar inviting you to register for or log into Google Plus. You also see an invitation to manage the page, if you are the Google account holder with original access to the Places listing. You also see options to give the business a rating, while reviews that were posted in the Places listing are still visible.
The page is set up very much like the original Google Maps screen, but using the Google Plus interface and now with more of a Checkatrade feel.
Google has also said that business will appear depending on recommendations from your own circles. In other words, if someone in one of your Google Plus Circles recommends a specific plumber in Bromley, you are likely to see that same business high up in results when you go looking for a plumber in Bromley.
The whole approach to SEO for local businesses changes a little. Watch this space as we bring you more insights and updates as Google adds more features.