Google has redefined its local search results by introducing Google+ Local to replace the current Google Places system. The move, announced on Wednesday, further integrates the Google+ network into everyday search, joining the +1 feature as Google attempts to grow the social media site’s profile. The roll-out has already started occurring in Australia.
The addition of Zagat is the biggest change to search results. Google bought Zagat at the end of last year for an undisclosed fee, with its intentions to utilise the review site to bolster local search results now evident. Zagat scores now show on all Google+ Local listings, providing a more comprehensive review and opinion guide for searchers. Zagat uses a 30-point rating scale for its reviews – far more in-depth than the previous 5-star Google rating system.
Another cool feature of the new Google+ Local is the prominence of recommendations and reviews from people you are connected with on Google+. If anyone from your circles leaves a review on a certain business, it will be given prominence in your search results, providing you with a recommendation from someone you know and trust!
The new look is much cleaner and more interactive, making it easier for users to conduct local search more efficiently.
Google has outlined that its new local search function will be rolled out fairly rapidly, so you can anticipate it will take full effect in Australia very soon. Search Engine Land reported that around 80 million Google Places pages had been transferred to Google+ Local as of yesterday, with roi.com.au’s own Google Places page one of those shifted over.
Unlike other Google product roll-outs which are reserved for the US before being extended to other countries, Google+ Local has taken effect throughout the globe from the outset.
Business owners can still manage their local listings through Google Places, but with more updates set to take place in the coming months, a complete move to Google+ Local isn’t too far around the corner.
If you haven’t yet created a Google+ account for your business, now is the time to do so.
Optimisation of your local SEO pages has always been an roi.com.au speciality, and the new Google+ Local pages are no different. If you do not yet have a Google+ account, or would like to enquire about how we can assist you to get ahead of your competition using the new Google+ Local format, contact us today.
Posted on May 31, 2012