Google Places is Out, Google+ Local is In: Some Initial Thoughts and Useful Sources for More Info.
It is finally here! Google has officially announced that the Google Places product will be merging with Google+ to become Google+ Local. We here at Energy Circle Pro as well as many others in the local internet marketing game have been eagerly awaiting this development as it should usher in a lot of positive changes in the local internet marketing world.
As we have repeatedly informed readers of the Energy Circle PRO blog, a strong Google Places presence has, until now, been an integral component of a strong search presence for home performance and energy auditors. We've also argued that Google+ would, at some point in the future, likely be a similarly important channel for directing leads to your business. It looks like that time is now.
We will have more information about this topic soon, but for now, we’ve collected some of our favorite reporting around this major update:
- A good, general Q&A style overview of the Places/Plus merge with some pretty technical info (from Blumenthal's).
- A "live blog" type post chronicling new discoveries as the Plus-Places merge was taking place (from David Mihm).
- A good overview of how the new Plus-Places product fits into the bigger Local Search picture (from Search Engine Land).
- A word from Google on the merge (from Google and Your Business).
From what we have gathered, the main thing to understand right now is that this is primarily an interface change. The things that mattered before - profile completeness, proper categorization, positive reviews, etc - still matter, they just look very different than they did a couple days ago. That being said, we’re sure that future changes to how the Google+ Local system functions are in the works and coming soon.
Bottom line, if you haven’t set up a Google+ page for your business, you need to get out there and get that done ASAP.
To give you an idea of the interface, here's an example of a Home Performance Google+ Local page: