Attention Small Business Owners: Google Places becomes Google Local
We have spoke extensively about the benefit of Google Places for your small business. Google has made a huge change this week in the way your local profile appears in local search terms and a few ways you used to manage the page. Google has made it clear that the changes are not complete and in some ways not ideal in they way they want them. While it does leave some wondering what is next, here are the changes that affect you right now and what can be done about it.
1) When a customer leaves a review, no longer is their name displayed unless they are a Google+ user. Now it will say, “A Google User” instead of importing their name from their Gmail or Google account. This makes it harder to communicate with customers and find out who they are so you can thank them or work to rectify a negative review.
2) Gone are the popular star ratings that were displayed in organic local search packs. A new rating system that can be very confusing to new users and people searching for a local business is in place. Now a 30 point scoring system is in place. Each score earns a business 10 points but users can also select zero points to represent a bad experience with the business. The scores are averaged out to give the business a supposed more equal and fair representation of the services provided.
3) Users are no longer able to upload video to their profile which was a huge benefit to increase interaction that led to offline purchases.
4) Anyone can now upload pictures to your Google Local profile. This makes it more necessary then ever to be active in your listing and check it almost daily for negative or damaging pictures that anyone can upload of your business.
5) Zagat ratings are now imported to your profile. Google acquired the popular rating service last September and is now using this service to affect your reviews. Make sure your restaurant profile is optimized and correct on this site asap.
Take the time now to review these changes and view your new Google Local profile to see how the changes affected your business. Especially important is the Zagat profile if you are a restaurant owner and set up a Google+ business page as Google Local seems to be heading in the direction of merger and management with these two Google services.
About the author
Shane has been in the restaurant business his entire life. Working as a cook in fine dinning, owning multiple pizza parlors around Boston and as a one time owner of the oldest bar in Boston, The Red Hat. Now he uses his experience to write marketing guides and articles and act as customer support liason, all in the name of helping his fellow small business owners succeed.