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Big Changes for Local Search Engine Results with New Google+ Local

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If you haven’t heard, Google Places is being replaced by Google+ Local pages. This big change will affect local search results on Google, so keep on reading if you want high local search rankings. Each business has a Google Places
page that can include business contact information, hours, reviews and
pictures. You can see an example of a Google Places business page below.

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Old Google Places Page

Now here’s the big change… According to Search Engine Land, more than 80 million Google Places pages have now been converted to Google+ Local pages. Here’s what the pages look like now.

 

New Google+ Local Page

At
first glance, it looks like Google just moved around the furniture.
Don’t be fooled, Google+ Local is a whole new animal. Here are the big
changes:

  • Google+ Integration – Your Google Places business
    page is now integrated into Google+, which is Google’s version of
    Facebook. Google is making it easy for Google+ users to find local
    business reviews from their social network.

  • Review Scores – Google+ Local pages have a review
    score that are calculated on a 30-point scale based on Google+ user
    reviews. You want your business to have a score between 26 and 30.

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  • Virtual Tours – For retail establishments, you can
    now add lots of interior photos of your business. This gives customers a
    taste of what to expect when visiting your business.

  • Total Integration – This new local search platform
    is integrated across all of Google’s major products. When you search for
    local businesses on Google search, maps and mobile, you’ll have access
    to Google+ Local pages.

Why Should I Care about Google+ Local?

You should care about Google+ Local because it helps local customers
discover and find your local business. This means more foot traffic
inside your business.

Google says 97 percent of consumers search for local businesses online.
Having a completed Google+ Local page, improves your business’ chances
of being found by customers when searching Google for the products and
services that you sell.

Think about it, a person in your community is searching for an auto
repair shop or a car dealership on Google. Who are they going to visit?
They’re most likely going to stop by the business in the top local
search spot on Google.

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So how do you get to the top local search spot for relevant keywords on Google+ Local?

The dust is still settling on Google+ Local, but here are some key takeaways for improving local search rankings.

  • Completed Pages – Like Google Places, Google is
    most likely going to give higher rankings to Google+ Local pages that
    are completely filled out and regularly updated and active with reviews.

  • Reviews Matter More than Ever – With the new review
    scores, reviews can make or break your business. You need to make sure
    that you get lots of positive reviews on your Google+ Local page for
    search rankings as well as for customer traffic.

  • Social Media Is Part of Search – Whether you like
    it or not, social media is part of search. In the coming months and
    years, it’s going to take on a bigger role in determining search engine
    results. It’s important to get started using it now before you get left
    in the dust.

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The AfterMarketer Club provides automotive local SEO services. They have helped lots of companies improve local search results on Google and Bing. If you have any questions on local search, give AfterMarketer Club a call at (602) 412-3426 or visit the AfterMarketer Club Contact Page.

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