Google is always in the headlines. This time its not about an algorithm update that sent shockwaves through the SEO community but Googles latest decision to integrate Google Places into its social network, Google+.
Google Places was a great way for companies to access local searches. With millions of companies already signed into the service, Google Places is already well established and liked by many. However, Google has decided to take things up a notch by integrating Google Places into Google+.
So, whats the difference? Well, Google Places is all about encouraging local searches by allowing businesses that depend on local clients to get their information on the internet. Not only did the average Google Places page of a company contain company information but also their updates and events as well.
What you can expect from Google+ Local is total social network integration for your current location or chosen search area. A potential customer will be able to take a look at reviews and recommendations from their Google+ network and with the integration of Zagat, reviews are already available for restaurants. In future enhancements, Google intends to add reviews for all types of businesses alongside the ever popular Google Maps features for a complete user experience. As a consumer, you will have the ability to find local businesses and even check your own friends and relatives reviews on them before you decide whether to pay a visit or not.
For businesses, this is a great opportunity to give more meaning to local searches. Rather than settling for a random click that may or may not make you money, a strong Google+ Local presence will be influential in generating more visits which could create bigger business opportunities for you. Of course, Google+ Local pages are much more dynamic and are perfect to keep your regular customers, as well as potential new ones, informed about your latest updates and any stellar reviews you have been awarded from your customers or critics.
So, what about SEO?
SEO is among the main concerns for many businesses out there. There has been a great deal of talk on how social networking is a good way to ensure constant traffic to your website. Now, Google has changed up a gear by allowing businesses to make use of Google+ to direct traffic with greater emphasis for local searches.