Google has done away with Google Places in favor of Google+ Local. The thinking behind this change is fueled by a desire to move closer to a true socially fueled ecosystem where Google+ plays a prominent role. We can talk about the huge SEO ramifications of this move but want to offer you a handy guide in the form a blog post with the 411 on the relatively new Google+ Local.
Google+ Local helps users discover and share places. The integration of Zagat‘s expressive 30-point scoring system gives individuals detailed insight into businesses before an actual visit, and Zagat summaries of user reviews help users decide where they want to go.
With Google+ Local, users can:
- Get place recommendations based on their circles, past reviews, and location
- Publish reviews and photos of their favorite places
- Read Zagat summaries of user reviews for a place
- View the local Google+ page for a business to see reviews, photos, and other useful information
- Find reviews from people they know and trust highlighted in search results
The move now requires that local businesses make a special effort to optimize their Google presence and it starts with brands embracing Google+ for business and the power the social tool has for building relationships with customers.