Google continues to push their social network Google Plus, this time making a major change in the local market. It has been rumored for a while that Google might do away with Google Places Pages and make something similar on Google Plus. Now they have finally done it, Google Places is no more, and now we have Google Plus Local. There are a few changes that you should be aware of to keep on top of your online reputation management.
Luckily for everyone if you already had a Google Places Page it will automatically convert to a Google Plus Local Page. Google has also slightly changed the look of the page, making it feel a bit more like a profile. Best of all they actually made the “write a review” button big and visible.
Google has made it mandatory to have a G+ account now to write a review, this could make it slightly harder to get reviews but at the same time you could leverage this by asking people to +1 you when they make their new account. The other good thing about this is that there won’t be annoying anonymous reviews, if someone has something bad to say they’ll have to man up and say it to your face so to speak. Any previous reviews that were brought over from Google Places are likely to be from “A Google User” so if you want to get a name to go along with it that user would have to create a Google account.
Google has also done away with the star rating and instead they are rating with a weird scoring system on a scale of 0-30. People reviewing your company only get a choice between 0-3 however and then once you have 10 reviews Google takes your average score and multiplies it by 10. This doesn’t seem particularly intuitive to me, especially when compared to the 0-5 star system which is pretty universally recognized and accepted. Hopefully Google will figure out that their new system is kind of stupid and go back to the old one.
So what do you have to do to get going with Google Plus Local now? Well surprise, surprise it involves you creating a Google + account if you don’t already have one. Just find your local listing create an account or login. On the left side there should be a bunch of options for Home, Profile, Explore, etc. One of those options should say local which is where you need to go. At the top search for your business and you’ll have your Google Plus Local page. Be patient with the new page at first, there are bound to be bugs and hiccups at first.
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