Google Places is Gone…It’s Time to Get Over it and Move On
A nice article by Maximize Social Media LLC
Yep. You read that right. Google Places is gone. Poof! Vanished. Non-existent. Nowhere to be found. Does that mean your trusted social media management firm (us) bet the farm on the wrong technology? Did we make a huge mistake? Are our clients all washed up with nowhere to go? Far from it! Keep reading to find out why the sudden and shocking demise of Google Places is the best news yet for local social search and how your business can benefit from the upcoming changes!
Where Did Google Places Go?
Before we get into the specifics about why this isn’t the end of the world (far from it!), let’s spend a few minutes answering questions; every local social search provider has been fielding calls from concerned business owners wondering where Google Places has gone and what it means. Rest assured. It will be okay! The short answer is that Google Places was “doomed” the minute Google+ and Google+ Pages went live. It was only a matter of time before Google Places was fully integrated into what is now known as Google+ Local. All 80 million + pages and counting to be exact. Contrary to popular opinion, it’s absolutely nothing to be concerned about… especially if you have been doing business with a reputable social media management firm that specializes in local social search (like yours truly!).
Who Should be Worried?
Great. So Google Places is indeed gone but it has been replaced by the far superior Google+ Local. Our clients have long known about the incredible benefits to be derived from local social search but what about others? Is there any reason to worry about the loss of Google Places? Yes and no. If your business has never moved beyond the basics then the loss of Google Places could be a bit confusing at first. On the other hand, it may simply be a strong “wake up” call that it’s time to get with the new program!
The changes represents big benefits for business users. Google Places was static whereas Google+ Local is highly dynamic including full integration with Zagat reviews (an exceptional opportunity for local providers!), seamless embedding between Google+ Local combined with Google search, Maps and mobile. Easy to implement reviews from friends/family and peers via Google Circles and perhaps best of all…incredible social media marketing and SEO opportunities!
Consumers and clients will also be delighted by the ease of searching for viable reviews, contact information, directions and other pertinent facts even while on the go. It’s now possible to search by “friends” or other contacts, atmosphere, food ratings for restaurants, top reviewers, people like you and/or your own circles, distance/destination and much more. Google+ Local also integrates tightly with maps, photographs and enhanced social interaction via Facebook or Twitter.
Google+ Local not only goes beyond the basics but provides exceptional enhancements to the user experience including a personalized local discovery page that provides a mix of popular, social and suggested content unique to each viewer. What does this mean in plain language? Two viewers from the same town performing the same search will not necessarily see the exact same results – instead, each is customized to include the most pertinent information, data and resources as discovered by their social media connections, prior interest areas, location and other pre-determined parameters. It’s more robust and more likely to be well received by viewers…and therefore of tremendous interest to business owners.
Mobile that Makes Sense
Google+ Local is also designed with mobile in mind. Although not the most mature technology, Google is pushing for a mobile marketplace that provides instant access to all the features desired most. Maps, reviews and more create a compelling destination directory for clients and prospective customers on the go.
And Speaking of….
Speaking of directories and other such ideas, one of the pure strokes of genius which make this a “must have” for small business owners is the fact that Google+ Local pages are indexed. What this means for business owners is two-fold; first, enhanced interaction with clients…like it or not…combined with the need to use and understand how to use Google+ Local for maximum impact. Experts agree, SEO implications are beyond belief but only for those that actually take advantage of all that Google+ Local has to offer. Is Google+ Local Social Search right for you? Chances are a resounding “yes” but to be sure, take a few moments to find out more. We think you will be pleasantly surprised by the advanced SEO and social media marketing opportunities!