Google Places Gives Way to Google+ Local Pages

It’s no secret that Google has had trouble generating public interest in its Google+ social network. But that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. While its original – albeit lofty – goals were to rival social networking giants like Facebook and Twitter, Google+ is probably best served collaborating with Google’s ever-growing stable of services.

And that is exactly what is happening.

Google Places has now been phased out, with business listings being incorporated into their own personal Google+ pages. These local pages will essentially have the same look as other Google+ profiles and will be outfitted with Zagat reviews instead of Google’s previous star ratings.

Here’s a look at the fresh new interface of Google+ Local pages:

This change also brings integration across Google’s other channels. Users are able to access Google+ Local pages through regular search, Google Maps, mobile devices and more.

But here’s why the new-look local pages on Google+ will be important: these will actually be indexed. That’s right, local search on Google+ has some serious SEO benefits for your company. It’s a way of rewarding the sites that will actually use Google+ – after all, it was only a matter of time before Google starting enticing more users with the promise of search engine optimization benefits.

And, much like Facebook and Twitter, these pages will allow businesses to freely interact with and message customers, helping to develop a following. That potential for social interaction will go a long way to making this a success.

With the added ability to find reviews and recommendations from your own Google+ circles, these new local pages offer plenty of potential, including other search features within the social network itself. The key will be having a great deal of participation and, considering that people typically like giving their opinions and providing reviews on businesses, that shouldn’t be a problem. With the added SEO benefits of these new local pages, it would seem that Google+ has finally found a way entice more active users.

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