Google+ Local and Zagat

六月 28, 2012 by  Filed under: SEO 
 

Google decided to get rid of Google Places and integrate business listings with their rapidly growing social media network, Google+. So Google Places is now referred to as Google+ Local. In essence, it’s basically the same as Google Places, but with a friendlier user interface and a few extra add-ons and capabilities.

Some of the changes include the ability for businesses to interact with users on a more personal level. End users also have the option to only search for Google+ Local businesses. Another noteworthy claim is that users can filter local results to be more appropriate to their needs based on recommendations, reviews, +1s, and +1s from friends and family.

Google+ was an automatic update, so if you already created a Google Places listing for your business, then there is no need to worry. Your account will automatically be switched over as well as all your contact information and pictures.

What about my reviews from Google Places? Will they be carried over as well?

Reviews will be a carried over but since it is now linked to public Google+ profile, they will show up as being posted by an anonymous user unless/until the original individual who gave the review goes through a brief process to verify it.

Another important change to note is how the scoring system for reviews works. The 5 star scoring system is gone and a new scoring system developed by Zagat is being implemented. For a long time, Zagat has been the go to site for restaurant reviews. Recently, Google bought Zagat and will be using their scoring method to rate Google+ Local listings.

Zagat’s scoring system is a 30 point scoring system where each user can rate a business on a scale of 0-3. The scores are then averaged and multiplied by 10 to give the new score for your business. There are different categories you can be reviewed in, resulting in multiple different scores such as food, service, atmosphere, cost, ect. If there are not enough reviews in multiple categories you will just be given one overall zagat score.

This new scoring system can be a bit scary when looked at in further detail. While 4 out of 5 is a pretty decent score for any business, when transferred over to the 30 point system, it’s a whole other story. A 4 out 5 is an 80% and 4 out 5 would correlate to a 20 out 30 or a 66.7% on Zagat. Quite a big difference, so it is important to be aware of this and really make your business stand out from the competition.

Google+ Local, for the time being, exists independently of Google+ Business Pages, so just because you have a Google+ Business page does not mean you already have a Google+ Local page. So you will need to create a Google+ Local account if you did not already have a “Places” account. Until Google further updates their social media network, there is unfortunately two Google+ accounts to manage.

The overall goal of this new system is to make local businesses more accessible and viewable to social networkers in that area and for friends to recommend a business to one of their friends and so on.

Google has also decided to take into account reviews and your new “Zagat” style scores when indexing pages. So now your Google+ Local listing is extremely important and should be one of your top priorities for achieving good SEO with high ranking.

With these changes, it is important to keep track of your reviews and Zagat scores, and it would be a good incentive to encourage and reward customers for leaving reviews.

10 Pound Gorilla is a full service web, marketing and design firm that can help you from start to finish. Offering web design, social media consultancy, SEO and much more, we can help our clients from start to finish.

Article Source:
http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ben_J_Schmidt

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