It’s all change in local search
So as you may have seen this morning, Google Places has come to an abrupt end. Well that is what the major outlets would have you believe, but from what I have seen, it has finally evolved into something that will be of more use to both businesses and customers alike; in the form of Google+ Local Pages. These listings are not dissimilar to Facebook Places and as such, they integrate straight into the Google+ profile of the business. But wait I hear you cry, most businesses aren’t on Google+, and you are not wrong, they’re not but they will be now if they have any sense!
Was that the main point of the entire process? Making sure that people are using Google+? I think we can take a educated guess and agree that it will have been a major factor in the change. But for now, we will overlook the shameless attempt to grow users and look at what it can actually do for you.
Well, basically all Google+ Local Pages are now completely indexed. Yep there is going to be a serious amount of SEO value up for grabs with these Pages and you’re going to need to make the most of it. It will be interesting to see the different approaches to Google+ Local Pages and what works the best. For now it is a guessing game and we will have to wait and see how strict Google are with spam and low quality listings.
Another very interesting development is making the whole thing mobile and changing the review system to Zagat, the reviews will become far more detailed with a ranking system up to 30 and split between different categories. It should make for a far better user experience. As they are now indexed, it makes sense that the more reviews there are, the more SEO value the page has. Google’s obsession with freshness plays into the hands of the involved user.
You are also now able to see what reviews your friends have left in a very similar way to Foursquare. The change is so large, it needs to be covered by 2 videos, check them out below.