Local business owners know how vital it is tohave an online business listing. When wasthe last time you pulled out an archaic yellowpages phone book to look up an address orphone number? More often than not, you’re“Googling” that information on the computeror a smart phone.
In an effort to streamline their products,Google has made Google Places a part of itsGoogle Plus social media platform. Insteadof logging in at two separate sites, you canmanage your local business page in oneplace.
All the business pages created at GooglePlaces were seamlessly integrated intoGoogle Plus Local. Of course, ownersalways have the option of editing theinformation found on their local pages butyou don’t have to recreate the page fromscratch.
While Google of course wants more peopleto use their Google Plus platform, peoplecan still access your Google Plus Localbusiness listing from any of its otherproducts, such as search, maps and mobile.They can also use their Google Plus circlesas a source of reviews for local businesses.
One big change that experts believe will help withcompany branding is the new layout and additionalphoto areas on the new Google Plus Local pages.Businesses can upload one large photo to show onthe right side of the page but also have the option ofuploading 5 other photos which appear along the topof the page. If you have a hotel property or othermerchandise you want to highlight, having thosephotos front and center is a useful feature.
Another key feature of Google Places was the Zagatreviews. Zagat is a world-renowned companyknown for their customer-generated restaurantreviews and happily this feature is now a part ofGoogle Plus Local. To read Zagat and Google userreviews of any restaurants in your area, simply loginto Google Plus Local, search by restaurant name orlocation and click the link that says “Reviews”under the name (you’ll also see how many reviewswere submitted for that restaurant).
Google users can also review other localbusinesses, such as florists, dentists, jewelrystores and hardware stores. In the right cornerof each business’ listing you’ll see a smallpencil icon. Click here to leave a reviewwhich is viewable to all of your circles.
With the integration of Google Places andGoogle Plus, it’s now easier to manage yourbusiness listing and online reputation. Simplylogin to one place, easily edit your businessprofile if you move or make any changes to yourhours, and, most importantly, read the customerreviews.
Hopefully you’ll see mostly good reviews butoccasionally there will be some poor reviews. If yousee multiple bad reviews, it’s time to address theproblem and make some changes. Don’t alwaysassume the customer is out to get you by posting abad review. The only way to improve your businessis to recognize a problem, make changes to fix theproblem and to treat your customers well.