Google Plus is a new rapidly growing social platform.
Its Google answer to Facebook. With more than 250 Million Google Plus users the community is growing rapidly.
This latest social platform is integrated with maps and Google Places. Which means customers are searching Google +to find, review and rate your business. With the newly integrated Zagat rating system, the old reviews are being removed. Customers will be able to rate your business using multiple criteria.
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Google Plus Local Takes Over Google Places
Local business owners know how vital it is to have an online business listing. When was the last time you pulled out an archaic yellow pages phone book to look up an address or phone number? More often than not, you’re “Googling” that information on the computer or a smart phone.
In an effort to streamline their products, Google has made Google Places a part of its Google Plus social media platform. Instead of logging in at two separate sites, you can manage your local business page in one place.
All the business pages created at Google Places were seamlessly integrated into Google Plus Local. Of course, owners always have the option of editing the information found on their local pages but you don’t have to recreate the page from scratch.
Google Plus Local Upgrades
While Google of course wants more people to use their Google Plus platform, people can still access your Google Plus Local business listing from any of its other products, such as search, maps and mobile. They can also use their Google Plus circles as a source of reviews for local businesses.
One big change that experts believe will help with company branding is the new layout and additional photo areas on the new Google Plus Local pages. Businesses can upload one large photo to show on the right side of the page but also have the option of uploading 5 other photos which appear along the top of the page. If you have a hotel property or other merchandise you want to highlight, having those photos front and center is a useful feature.
Another key feature of Google Places was the Zagat reviews. Zagat is a world-renowned company known for their customer-generated restaurant reviews and happily this feature is now a part of Google Plus Local. To read Zagat and Google user reviews of any restaurants in your area, simply login to Google Plus Local, search by restaurant name or location and click the link that says “Reviews” under the name (you’ll also see how many reviews were submitted for that restaurant).
Google users can also review other local businesses, such as florists, dentists, jewelry stores and hardware stores. In the right corner of each business’ listing you’ll see a small pencil icon. Click here to leave a review which is viewable to all of your circles.
Managing Your Google Plus Local Listing
With the integration of Google Places and Google Plus, it’s now easier to manage your business listing and online reputation. Simply login to one place, easily edit your business profile if you move or make any changes to your hours, and, most importantly, read the customer reviews.
Hopefully you’ll see mostly good reviews but occasionally there will be some poor reviews. If you see multiple bad reviews, it’s time to address the problem and make some changes. Don’t always assume the customer is out to get you by posting a bad review. The only way to improve your business is to recognize a problem, make changes to fix the problem and to treat your customers well.