Two weeks ago, Google shook up the local search landscape when it replaced Place Pages with Google+ Local Pages. Understandably, local business owners and their marketing surrogates are working fast optimize these new web properties, but there is a catch: Google’s not done…
While Google+ Local Pages have only just become the new standard, a more comprehensive integration with Google+ Business Pages is already in the works. I know. It’s confusing. The best way to describe the difference is to show an example.
What we have now:
The merger of Google+ Local Pages with Business Pages will effectively transform local business listings into a social media platform. Local businesses will be able to engage with customers and fans through their Google+ Page, much the way they already do on Facebook. The difference is, ranking high in Google Local search has a meaningful impact on generating new business.
It will be interesting to see how important social media engagement (via Google+) will factor into local search ranking moving forward. Whatever the case, there are many benefits to merging. For one thing, Google+ Business Pages allow for much more optimization, including an enhanced “about” section and videos. So, it is a good idea to create a Google+ Business Page and begin using it ahead of the merger.