Move over facebook and twitter, google’s new google+ local enhances opportunities for business customer engagement
Move Over Facebook and Twitter, Google’s New Google+ LocalEnhances Opportunities for Business-Customer Engagement
Google has made the long-awaitedmove to replace Google Places with a more evolved offering. This comes in the form of Google+ Local, making available all the information that was before with Google Places, only now there isgreater functionality in the feature.
Users can get to the information through several different entry points. This move looks to be a big one for Google, Google+, and the local directory part of Google’s offerings as the review process of establishments has been changedas well converging with Zagat to get reviews and ratings.
Above all else, though, as Google is the dominant search engine and thus dominant place for local searching, this development willhave a large impact on local search going forward.
Preliminarily, it looks like the integration of Places with + was a smart move given the end result inthe quality of content and the value provided to users in the multi- faceted and redesigned feature.
Taking a closer look, the New Google Local can be accessed through a standard Googlesearch, Google+, Google Maps, andthrough Mobile apps that have the functionality as well.
This allows multiple ways for the user to get the information based on the way they search for localinformation, if they are doing it on their desk or laptop, a mobile device, and whether or not they are signed up for Google+.
The standard Google and Google Maps searches will yield results that do look different than the previous, older searches. Resultswill display listings in a sleeker lookwith the Zagat ratings integrated as well.
This is how many people will experience the new Localfeature, namely all those not currently on Google+.
Local Via Mobile This is important for mobile searching as many search for local information on their mobile devices, particularly their smartphones.
The new Local feature will bequickly available in the Google Maps for Mobile and in the Google+ app for Android-run smartphones.
For iPhone users, Google hasreportedly sent in updates for theGoogle Map app for their iOS, but even when accepted, it probably won’t be available for too long given Apple’s expected rollout of their own Map functionality.
So, iPhone users will get the Local experience using the Places(probably soon to be renamed) and Google+ apps, all according tocoverage from Search Engine Land. This way, the resulting presence from the local search engine optimization that companies engage in can be seen on the smartphone as well.
Accessing Local through Google+, Where the Interaction Is The Google+ access point is represented in the Google+ Local icon on the left side of the page when signed into Google+.
Searches for businesses related to aspecific keyword and location result on the left side of the Google+ SERP with a Google Maps image of the region with all the pinsdropped on the various locations of the listed businesses on the right.
Once clicked, the user is taken to the individual pages of the businesses. These pages are clean and attractive, they integrate photos well and potentially best of all is that the Zagat ratinginformation is displayed (also in the + SERP as well).
Google abandoned their own 5-starrating system to instead utilize the 30 point Zagat rating scale thatallows for category specific ratings for food, décor, service, and others, as opposed to fitting all of this into a unified 5-star rating.
This offers great value for the websearching user as the entire archiveof all Zagat ratings from their rangeof categories are available – free of charge.
An additional point is that the results in Google+ can be filtered through different categories with“From top reviewers,” “People like you,” “Just for you,” and “Your circle.”
All these deliver specialized ordersfor the listings giving you improvedresults to get what is believed to bethe most relevant results – for you.
All this information is nicely presented and very helpful forusers, but what makes the offeringessential and potentially the most noteworthy to date in terms of local search is the fact that businesses can message their followers akin to activity on Facebook and Twitter.
The ability to interact withcustomers in this way coupled withthe likelihood that searchers will be utilizing the Google+ Local access point to get the most information for their local searches makesGoogle+ Local the platform for local companies to engage with their current and potential future customers.
As a result, businesses should belooking no further than Google+Local for their local optimization and online marketing needs, posting information to engage with their customers.