Let’s say you are a business owner who was listed on the first page of Google Places for your corresponding local search phrase. For this example lets go with “Chicago Roofer”. All you had to do was claim your listing, add some photos and a brief description of your business, along with address, phone number and hours of operation and you were good to go. I won’t go into Google Places optimization but let’s say you were lucky and Google granted you a first page slot.
Now, with the change over to Google Plus Local, Google is essentially saying that you MUST become part of their Google Plus community. That’s not to say they will outright penalize your business listing for not joining, but if you want any kind of control over what your community sees about your business then it turns into an offer you can’t refuse. Turns out that Google Plus is now a requirement for businesses…
Use Google Plus? If you’re a business owner that wants some control on how your company appears on the most popular online map in the world, Google Maps, it’s now basically a requirement.
That’s because Google on Wednesday announced Google+ Local, the company’s latest effort to push its Google Plus social network onto the screens of Web users.
In one fell swoop, Google converted all of its previous online location listings for milions of businesses, called Google Places, into Google Plus Local pages. Google communicated this change to business owners through a post on its “Google and Your Business Blog”:
“With one listing, your business can now be found across Google search, maps, mobile and Google+, and your customers can easily recommend your business to their friends, or tell the world about it with a review,” wrote Jen Fitzpatrick, a VP of engineering at Google.