Over 80,000,000 Google Places local business listings have, in one day, been changed over to the new Google Plus Local. While this will undoubtedly cause much confusion among local business owners still trying to get a handle on the “old” Google Places, it will actually benefit businesses that take advantage of the newest features of Google+ Local.
First there will be a new Local Tab within Google Plus itself. This will mean much more visibility for businesses right off the bat since Google+ is now one of the undisputed major social media giants, surpassed only (temporarily) by Facebook. This means those business owners that take full advantage of their Google Plus Local business page will have a considerable advantage over the majority of companies that sit and do nothing for the first year or so. That was the case when Google Places was introduced.
With the new Zagat’s expressive 30-point scoring scale and Zagat’s summaries of user reviews, a business can now get personalized recommendations and reviews. This replaces the often anonymous ratings that plagued Google Places. Only those with a valid Google+ account will be able to leave reviews. This means less vindictive and false complaints that were becoming more and more commonplace with the old system.
Further, visitors will now be able to filter the reviews to see what all their friends and family in the circles will think of the business.
Now all Google properties will be integrated including Google mobile and Google Maps. Not to mention the most widely used search engine in the world. That is what Places had going for it and now G+ Local will take the reins.
Here’s a screenshot of the new Google Plus Local Zagat 30-point rating scale:
The new Google Plus Local will be a more social experience for the average web surfer, allowing richer interaction and an all around better end user experience that Google has always sought in its search empire. Those businesses that jump on board now will see incredible benefits, in terms of connecting with local consumers, in a way never before imagined…