Google Places is No More, Long Live Google+ Local!

Jun 4, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  19 Comments

Things are changing pretty fast now. Google continues to make one move after another – launch of Google Plus, quicker algorithmic updates, roll out of Panda and Penguin. You can stay tuned as more exciting pieces of news come your way. However, here’s one that should attract the eyeballs of all local business owners. Yes, Google’s newest move is the launch of Google+ Local.

If you thought Google+ (the search giant’s social network) won’t stick, you need to think again. Though Google Places is not closed completely yet, millions of these pages have been converted into Google+ local pages. According to Google, this step is taken to improve how people discover and share local business information within Google+. Google, therefore, makes this effort to help local businesses leverage the potential of the Google Plus community.

Now, isn’t that a sensational change?

What one can really wonder is how this dramatic transition of Google Places pages to Google+ is going to impact business owners who have products or services to sell locally.

As Google Places pages are replaced with Google+ Local pages, Google Plus now features a new local listing tab (towards the left of your Google+ page) for businesses. That means your local business pages will become more socialized with the launch of Google+ Local.

The Newly Added ‘Local Listing Tab’

Here’s how it happens –

Connect your local business with millions of Google+ users
Let people find your business via Google search, maps, mobile and Google+
Make it easy for customers to recommend your business

Now, users can use different ways to find a local business. The recent transition of Google Places pages to Google+ Local widely increases the visibility of your company information by making Google Plus a new search destination with all its highly user-friendly features and functionalities. Imagine what happens when all the social features of Google+ are implemented into your business pages. This will certainly add new life to your business by making it more interactive for both existing and prospective customers.

SEM Group’s G+ Local Page

Definitely, the benefits that you have now as a local business owner far outweigh those that Google.com provides at the SERP level.

One of the best things about this roll out by Google is that it changes the way reviews were done until now. Since all the reviews will now be linked back to the reviewer’s Google+ page, there will be no anonymity. And it will highly discourage those that intentionally leave fake negative reviews on company’s business pages. Additionally, it will create a tough situation for companies that indulge in leaving bogus or non-legitimate reviews on their pages.

In the midst of all these changes taking place, business owners also need to pay careful attention to how it changes the local SEO requirements. You should be informed that all the Google+ Local pages will be indexed. Whether it’s about creating more Google+ votes and social signals or optimizing your local pages for increased visibility in Google search results, this transition also creates more opportunities for doing SEO.

What to Do Next!
Now that Google Places pages are moved to Google+, local businesses that aren’t yet familiar with how this social network works need to increase their knowledge and learn more about the same. Eventually, all the social functionalities of Google+ (i.e. hangouts, sharing, voting, and circles) will be added to your local business pages. That’s why it’s really vital that you become well-versed with all that Google+ has to offer.

How do you see this transition? Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.

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Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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  • Ivin says:

    I think it sucks. I still see my listing on Google places, but it will be influenced by social activity, right? They just want us to spend more time on their platform. That’s all this is about…

    • Obaidul says:

      Definitely, one of the key ideas behind this transition is to compel more and more business owners to join Google+. Love it or loathe it, you can never ignore Google Plus. At the same time, it provides businesses with an excellent opportunity to benefit from the ever-growing Google+ community.

      Thanks for your comment, Ivin.

  • Brodie Giancarlo says:

    Definitely its a great launching of Google+. Now the local business pages will get more success and traffics by Google+ Local. Thanks for informing us about this great news.

  • Estelle says:

    Google always keeps changing its component. From my view I think each change means an upgrade which results in a better support for us.

    -Estelle

    • Obaidul says:

      That’s exactly what makes Google an invincible competitor. I think there’s a lot that we can learn from Google’s business strategies.

      Thanks for commenting, Estelle!

  • Michael says:

    Google is transforming and there transforming fast, I’m not a big fan of google+ but we’ll see how it works out for the local search. On CNBC this mourning they were saying apple announced that they have been working on mapping software and are going to takeover for all the iPhones, supposedly most of the google maps traffic is received via the iPhone, not sure if it will affect googles profits but it will definitely affect there market share, especially if I am able to share searches across my computer and iPhone, Google Needs to Watch Out!

  • Obaidul says:

    Initially, nobody believed that Google+ will make it this far. Considering the speed at which things are changing, you can never say what happens next. I think it’s wise to go with the flow until it’s really too late to make a move.

    Thanks for sharing the info, Michael!

  • Hendarto says:

    Google continuing improve their algo and everytime Mr. G making new improvements it will affected to the search engine result. Some blogger have been scared on this situation but some of them still have a strong confident that their website will not been slapped by Mr. G…and G+ could be a powerful weapon for most IMers and it will be more specific target when it’s transforming being locally.

  • Elena Anne says:

    With the popularity of Facebook and Twitter, it seems hard to believe that Google Plus will stick. I do not feel it has been advertised well, since I do not know much about it. Although I agree that Google is committed to always improving their products. They seem to know a lot about the community they are serving.

    • Obaidul says:

      Thanks for your visit, Elena!

    • Gerald Weber says:

      Elena,

      This article is not just about Google+

      Google Places (now Google+ local) has been and will continue to be vital for local bricks and mortar businesses.

      These listing show up most of the time above the organic listing when someone is searching for products and services locally.

      This is the lifeblood for many local bricks and mortar businesses. So it won’t be ignored by SMBs. The main difference now is that there will be a social aspect to local maps listings and it’s very likely that “social signals” will eventually become a ranking signals for local as well.

  • Ileane says:

    These changes will be really great for local business owners who have websites. I hope that enough of them get educated about how to use this feature of Google+ local to their advantage. I’m glad you are spreading the word. Thanks for the tips on how to set things up.

  • This what makes Google+ be the most competitor of Facebook. Google+ turning the best.

  • Freelancer says:

    Great Post, I really enjoyed reading.
    and I will Surely apply it.
    Thanks Admin.

  • Gaining local exposure for your business is a must nowadays especially that more and more businesses started to market themselves online. I believe that using Google plus local for your business gives you that edge in the market because it is simply one of the services offered by the top search engine of today, GOOGLE.

  • Robert says:

    I am user of Google places and in my area there are so many businesses listed in Google places in the same field like me. I rank higly in organic search but results in Google places never stick, they keep changing. What has one got to do to rank highly in Google places and now Google + local?