Google PlacesGoogle made a recent change announcing that Google Places would no longer be called Google Places.  In addition to its new name – Google Plus Local – the business listing powerhouse will also change locales, to be housed in Google’s relatively new social networking platform, Google Plus. This article will help make sense of it all.

Google Plus Local pages still have much of the same functionality of the previous Google Places format, only they are more advanced and provide both businesses and customers with more communication options.  Want to get in the know when it comes to this exciting new business frontier?  Here is a guide to understanding the new Google Places (a.k.a. Google Plus Local):

Social networking via Google Plus Local.  Because Google Plus Local is fully integrated into the Google Plus social networking platform, businesses now have the opportunity to interact with their customers on a large scale via their Google Plus Local pages.  You can post updates, send and receive private messages, develop a following, organize your following into categories (or “circles”), and even leave reviews for other businesses using your Google Plus Local profile.  These advanced social networking features carry a broad range of exciting opportunities for connecting with your customers in powerful new ways.

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Google Plus Local reviews.  Google Plus completely revolutionizes the way customers leave reviews for your business. First of all, customers who want to leave reviews must be logged into their Google Plus accounts.  This means that there are no longer anonymous reviews, which carries two very important benefits: 1) malicious and spammy reviewers will be deterred from leaving reviews, and 2) you will know exactly who left what review, and you can respond to them directly, through their Google Plus profiles.  The second great thing about Google Plus Local reviews is that, in place of the previous 0 to 5 star rating scale, there is now a 30-point rating scale that requires reviewers to break down their ratings into specific aspects of your business (customer service, food, and décor, for example).  This gives you a great advantage when it comes to interpreting and applying reviewer data for the betterment of your business.

Reach.  It used to be that Google Places listings were only shown on Google Search results pages.  Now, your Google Plus Local listing will show up when web surfers search Google.com, Google Maps, and Google Plus, as well as when people access Google through mobile apps.

Your Google Places page can be one of  the strongest marketing tools you have in your arsenal, as long as you know  how  to use it to its fullest potential.  For  that reason, it is important that you invest some time and energy into getting it just right, and from the get-go.  Having a complete, accurate, and optimized Google Places listing can mean the difference between reaping some major rewards from your Internet marketing efforts and going completely unnoticed.  So, how  do you make sure your Google Places page is speaking well on behalf  of your business?  Here are five most important components of your Google Places listing:

5 Most Important Components of your Google Places Listing

1.Keyword-rich business description.  Your business description  should be concise, informative, and easy to read and understand.  However, it should also be optimized for search engine spiders, so that your Places page sits as high in search engine return rankings as possible.  Do some thorough  keyword research to find  strong keyword phrases that can maximize your page’s SEO, and then place those  keywords strategically throughout your business description, being careful not to cram them in nonsensically.

2. Product and service keywords.  As previously mentioned, keywords are important when completing your business description.  However, you should also be specific about products and services you offer, and use strong keywords when describing them.

3. Accurate and thorough business information.

You should take the time to fill in every single space when it comes to completing your business listing.  Don’t leave anything blank, and be as concise and accurate as possible.  In order to rank high in Google search results, your site should have a score of 100 percent, which requires that you input something into each available line in your listing (including the ones that are indicated as optional).

4. Photos and videos.

Studies show that people surfing the web are more responsive to images than they are to plain text.  Google Places allows you to upload a large number of  photos and videos.  Take advantage of this by uploading the maximum allow.

5. Positive customer reviews.

Your Google Places listing includes a customer review section.  Encourage your satisfied customers to write a short testament about your business and ask them to post them on your Google Places page, for all to see.

Take advantage of everything Google Plus has to offer your business by enlisting the help of competent professionals like us, SEO-Alien.com.  We can be reached by phone, at 863-221-1764, or use our contact us page.

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