There are several powerful features that have been introduced with the new Google+ Local pages and all are aimed at making life easier for business owners when it comes to enhancing their online presence. Not only that, but these features make it simple for users to rate businesses, recommend businesses, and find businesses who have what they are looking for.
- 1 Google+ Local Features
- 1.1 Google+ Local Tab
- 1.2 Zagat’s Google+ Local Scores
- 1.3 Google+ Local Business Focus
Google+ Local Features
Here’s more information about how you can get involved with Google+ local to grow your business and an overview of some of its features:
Google+ Local Tab
Google+ now offers a “Local” tab on sidebar. This tab will take users to the Google+ Local platform, which is where they can search for local businesses. When they click on a listing, they will be taken to that business’ Google+ Local page where they will have access to information such as photos, Zagat scores and summaries, reviews, and contact information.
The New Zagat Scoring System
Google acquired Zagat in September 2011, which allowed them to bring more than 35,000 reviews and scores across 100 countries to the Google+ community. The latest “Local” effort is a year in the making, according to Google.
Now, users can make smart decisions when it comes to choosing local businesses. Zagat provides a summary of user reviews and an extensive scoring system that helps consumers make decisions based on several factors.
Each and every Google+ Local page will have Zagat scores and summaries. The scores appearing on the pages will be based on a scale of 30 points, which represents average scores of individual scores by different reviewers. There is a summary at the top of the pages, which is an aggregation of highlights collected from different reviews by users.
Zagat’s Google+ Local Scores
All scores in Google+ Local are determined by user reviews; these individual user ratings are based on a point scale from 0-3:
- 3 = Excellent
- 2 = Very Good
- 1 = Good
- 0 = Poor to Fair
These ratings are then averaged and multiplied by 10 to get an average score:
- 26-30 = Extraordinary to Perfect
- 21-25 = Very Good to Excellent
- 16-20 = Good to Very Good
- 10-15 = Fair to Good
- 0-9 = Poor to Fair
One of the most powerful features of Google+ Local is its built-in customer review and new Zagat scoring system; traditional advertising methods such as the Yellow Pages book can’t come close to offering consumers with helpful information such as this.
This technology helps consumers make the best decisions when it comes to choosing local businesses. For instance, a restaurant may have excellent food, but their service is not good. So you may see that the Zagat score is 26 for “Food” and “8 for Service.” Depending on why the user may be looking for a restaurant, the scoring system will help them make the best choice.
For businesses that depend heavily on pictures to market their products and services, the deal just got better with Google+ Local pages. Google+ Local allows users to post larger images with a much more visual approach. It is therefore easier to showcase your business and rest assured that your audience sees your business just as you would like them to see it.
Ranking and Indexing
Search engines will index all the Google+ Local pages, which is a new door to more opportunities for many businesses because Google Places pages were never indexed. Businesses with multiple locations and/or optimized pages will enjoy the benefits of this feature.
Google+ Local Pages are now inherently social and the rankings on Google are now using social signals. So this means that any review on Google+ Local will work positively towards a higher ranking on the Google search engine.
This makes Google+ Local a vital part of every business’s online marketing campaign. For those businesses that want to really capitalize on this amazing tool, the more socialization, the better.
The main reason Google merged/replaced Google Places with Google+ Local is to give businesses a chance to utilize social content, which is more effective than just showing users the business name, address, and phone number. Instead, users can interact with businesses on a more personal level and vice versa.
Google+ Local Plus 1’s
Visitors are now able to +1 local business pages. This is an important feature because it affects the appearance of your page in search results. When someone gives your business page a +1, your page will appear in different Google products to the user’s friends. Google has simply turned word of mouth into a digital powerhouse. Everyone knows that there is no stronger marketing method than your customers’ word of mouth.
Google+ Local Map Integration
Google has also included maps in Google+ Local pages. This will allow your customers to familiarize themselves with the location of your business and make it easy for them to find your physical store upon demand.
Google+ Local Find Local Businesses
Now, Google+ users can find businesses who offer products and services in a particular area right within the Google+ Local console. Once they are logged in to Google+, they will have two search boxes at the top of the screen. They will enter what they’re looking for (hotel, book store, auto repair shop, etc.) in the first box.
In the second box, they will enter the desired location for the product or service. They can enter the city name, zip code, state, or even the street intersections. These searches will bring up a list of businesses for them to view and Google+ will make recommendations for places it thinks they will like based on their reviews and suggestions from top viewers.
Get Recommendations and Reviews from People They Know and Trust
Google+ Local Business Focus
Google+ Local focuses on enhancing the business experience by centralizing opinions, recommendations and reviews from each user’s Google+ Circles. This means that any search conducted via Google maps, organic search and Google+ Local pages will incorporate results from the user’s Google+ Circle connections.
For example if a user searches for “Mexican food,” they will also see a Mexican restaurant that has been recommended by a friend in their circle.
The results might include a friend’s rave review of the Baja-style taco stand in your neighborhood – that will probably end up being lunch for today.
This is good because people trust the opinions of friends, family or other close sources; in life, these are the people we usually go to when looking for suggestions when it comes to finding the best products and services.
One major difference in Google+ Local from Google Places is that now consumers are required to have a Google+ account in order to leave reviews for businesses. This is to bring more credibility to the reviews being left as well as to streamline the whole social factor of this new listing center
From the new “Local” tab on the left-hand side of Google+, users can search for specific places or browse ones that fit the products or services they are seeking. When the results come up, users will see businesses that Google+ recommends based on reviews and opinions of the people who are in this users’ Circle, along with other factors.
Easily Review Their Favorite Local Businesses
Today, most people love to go online to tell the world about businesses that they love; this includes writing detailed reviews regarding their experiences with these businesses. Google+ Local makes it extremely easy for them to give their opinions about businesses online.
When businesses have a lot of great reviews attached to their local listing pages, consumers automatically flock to those listings simply because they believe and trust what other people say. Therefore, if your business has a lot of glowing reviews, you can expect to see great results from your Google+ Local listing over time.
On the other hand, people also like to tell the world about bad experiences with businesses. This is to be expected in most cases, but should not scare you. As long as the good reviews outweigh the bad ones, your business will continue to grow via proper online exposure.
To review businesses, users are now required to have a Google+ account so their name is attributed to the review. Also, any reviews that were transferred over to Google+ Local from Google Places will show up as “A Google User” until they create a Google+ account.
It may be a good idea to let your customers know this piece of information when requesting them to go online to leave a review for your business. This way, they will know what to expect and will want to learn more about this exciting new platform.
Google+ Local Goes Across Multiple Search Products
Google+ Local is also integrated across other products that users already use every day, such as Google Maps, Organic Search, and Mobile Maps search. For instance, if they are looking for a place on Organic Search, Maps, or Mobile, your Google+ Local page will show up there as well.