Google+ local

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At the beginning of June 2012, Google Maps changed all their Google Place pages into Google Plus Local profiles.

This is an overview of the changes and what they mean for local businesses and retail networks.

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Google+ local

  1. 1. Google+ LocalWhat’s changed?
  2. 2. Google announces Google+Local• Google has announced that Google Business Places would cease to exist in its current form. Up until now, claiming and managing a Google Place page has been an imperative for successfully marketing a local business online.• As of 1 June 2012, Google Places has been replaced by Google+ Local, an extension of Google’s social networking site.What is Google Plus?• Google+ was launched in September 2011, and mimics some of Facebook’s features while helping users communicate specifically with different audience through the use of ‘Circles’. User engagement figures were watched with interest from marketers and brands alike, but take-up to date has been slow and focussed mainly around tech-savvy early adopters.
  3. 3. EMO’s view on Google Plusand Google Plus Local• Up until now, our position for local businesses has been that generally, Google+ hasn’t achieved critical mass yet and so isn’t a marketing priority. EMO has recommended that local businesses don’t invest in active engagement on Google+, but in some cases we have recommended the creation of basic user profiles to positively affect natural search and help users to find a business.• We’re still not recommending that all local businesses jump straight into Google+• But, now the same attention required for Google Places needs to be applied to Google+ Local (claim and manage your reputation). You only need a Google account to do this, not a Google+ profile.• Currently Google+ Local pages don’t give business owners the ability to publish content or be followed. But these features are coming and we do expect that in the future Google will move towards incentivising businesses to engage in relationship building through Google+. We’ll be keeping a close eye on what happens.
  4. 4. There are 3 key changes1. People using Google Maps to search will see a different pageThe data (contact details, locations and the like) is still exactly the same, but it’ssimply displayed in a different format.2. Users can look for local businesses in a different way through the Google+ Local tabIf Google+ users choose to, they can search for local businesses through Google+.The main benefit for users here is the new hierarchy of search results – whichpromotes businesses with reviews from people you know over businesses without
  5. 5. There are 3 key changes3. Reviews are changing dramaticallyBefore, reviews could be left by anyone (even anonymously) and required a rating ona 5 star scale, ensuring that businesses with lots of reviews usually had an average of3.5 stars and some businesses suffered from review spam and no way to contactpeople who had left poor reviews.Now a logged in Google account is needed before a review can be left. The format ofreviews is also different – no more 5 stars, now it’s anything up to a 30 point spreadbased on Zagat’s comprehensive restaurant rating scale.Different categories of businesses are associated with ‘labels’ eg Attraction, and thisallows Google to show the most relevant questions to the business (in this caseAppeal, Facilities, and Service).
  6. 6. What’s not changing: Yet1. Rankings appear to be mainly the sameInitially many pundits suspected that this change would also mean a change in thealgorithm that dictates which entry appears in a search. While some extremelymarginal changes were reported, the research has now shown that the local searchrankings remain the same.We expect that both number of reviews and rating averages will affect rankings in thefuture.2. Old reviews remain the same on Google+ LocalImportantly, there is some talk that old reviews won’t migrate to the new Google+pages, but our research shows that no reviews have been removed yet.
  7. 7. The Good news for localbusinesses• Businesses can review other businesses as a business, so your B2B networking could get a lot more meaningful.• People who leave reviews are encouraged to share their comments with their Circles, so expect more people to see your reviews (both good and bad of course!)• Google+ Local pages are still only editable through the Google Business Centre, but we expect that (like with Google+) soon more than one person will be able to administer a Google+ Local page.
  8. 8. Google+ LocalHow your business needsto respond
  9. 9. Scenario 1 What you had What you should doI had a Google Plus profile Currently, you can’t merge the two.I had a claimed Google Places Step1: Review your Google+ page Local page and make sure all What you have now the information and images have transferred across correctly.You have two Google+ presences – one with Google+ features and Step 2: Fill your email address in one that just looks like a here to be notified of feature Google+ page changes. Optional: Ask for early access to
  10. 10. Scenario 2 What you had What you should doI didn’t have a Google Places page Make sure your Google+ profile is set up as a ‘Local Business orI did have a Google+ profile Place’ if relevant What you have now This will ensure that your business is shown in Google+ LocalYou still only have a Google+ search results. profile
  11. 11. Scenario 3 What you had What you should doI only had a Google Places page, Step 1: Set up a personal Google+ but it wasn’t claimed profile to administer the page once it’s claimed What you have now Step 2: Claim your Google+ Local profile (it works the same asStill nothing except an unmanaged before) page that probably doesn’t benefit your business.
  12. 12. Scenario 4 What you had What you should doI only had a Google Places page Step1: Review your Google+ that was claimed Local page and make sure all the information and images have transferred across correctly. What you have now Step 2: Fill your email address inYour Google Places page has here to be notified of feature been converted into a Google+ changes. Local page
  13. 13. Google+ LocalFAQs
  14. 14. FAQ• When’s it happening in the UK?Unlike past changes, there is no inter-continental delay so the change has already taken effect.• How is the claiming process different?It hasn’t changed – yet.• Will I have to revalidate my claim?If you want to make significant changes to your Google+ Local page, yes. For basicedits, no.• But my business isn’t a restaurant, why is the Zagat scoring being used?Other business verticals (eg retail stores) will have different ‘labels’ and have lesscomprehensive scoring.
  15. 15. FAQ• Am I going to start being notified about people interacting with my page?No – if you’ve claimed your page you’ll be notified when people leave reviews, butcurrently there are no other ways that people can communicate with your businessunless you have a full G+ Local page.• Am I going to be forced to manage a new Social profile?We’re not sure. Currently, no, but Google have indicated that ‘hosting hangouts,sharing photos ... We’ll soon extend these social experiences to more local Google+pages in the weeks and months ahead’ so this may happen.
  16. 16. For questions orhelp contact EMO@emolocalsocial@emo.uk.com

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