From Places to Plus- What's Really Changed About Google Local

Google's change Places to Places Plus has affected business reviews, iOS and pictures next to local listings. Find out exactly what this means for your business.

From Places to Plus: What's Really Changed About Google Local?

Now that it's been over a month since Google Local got a + added to it, let's take a look at what this change has actually meant for business owners like you:

Reviews Not Showing Up

In a June 14th post on Google's Product Forums, a business owner expressed concern that while he was aware that two customers had recently reviewed his business, neither review had shown up on Google Places. Over the next day, two more people stated that they were experiencing the exact same problem. To top things off, on June 19th, a participant named nseidl said that one of his clients had gone from nearly 80 reviews to just 5! He added that since his client had two listings at two addresses, around 30 of the reviews were showing up for the second address.

iOS Issues

Two issues have been brought up in regards to how Google+ Local works with iOS. The first question was asked in the SEOmoz forum. A user named Journeyman said that it appeared to him that it was no longer possible to write a review from an iPhone or iPad. He asked if others had noticed that, as well as if anyone had found a solution. While it wasn't a direct answer to his question, The Cardinal Rule published a blog post about this same topic. They found that the ability to leave a review through Safari has been eliminated for now. They added that it's still possible to post a review through Google's Places iOS app.

Pictures Next to Local Listings

In an SEO Chat thread, a user named Dr. Marie said that her local listing had suddenly jumped to #1 for her local SERPs. Not only did it move to #1, but she also mentioned that while her local listing wasn't officially attached yet, she had an existing Google+ page that resulted in an author picture appearing next to her listing. The end result of both of these changes were that she received several calls from prospects "that will likely translate into tens of thousands of dollars."

Make Sure You Cover the Basics

As with any significant change that Google makes, it can take a lot of work to figure out the root of a specific problem. However, before you can start dealing with any advanced issues, you need to make sure that you have the basics covered. In the case of Google+ Local, that means ensuring your listing is rich with pictures, videos and plenty of descriptive text. Additionally, it's a good idea to take advantage of the new Google+ functionality to start using your page's stream to share with potential and current customers.

About The Author

Brian Waraksa

Brian Waraksa, founder of Raxa Design in Houston, Texas has been in marketing and small business branding since 2002. He writes the Raxa Design blog on issues affecting small business marketing and corporate brands.

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