Google Places is Now Google+ Local

Google+ LocalAlmost a month ago, Google converted 80 million Google Place pages over to Google+ Local pages.  It’s a lot different than what you are used to if you’ve been keeping up with the information on your Google Places page.  The first couple of times I came across these new pages, I thought I accidentally hit the wrong link and somehow ended up at my Google+ profile page.  I did notice in searching for several of my dealer customers that not everyone has the new Google+ Local pages yet.

Here’s a quick run down of the new features and changes they’ve made:

  • In your Google+ profile page, there is a new “Local” tab.  This tab will have recommendations of places for you to visit, restaurants, stores, etc., based on your circles, your past reviews and your location.
  • They’ve integrated Zagat reviews.  Visitors on your Google+ Local page can click the “Write a Review” button and add pictures of places.  This allows them to easily post a review of your dealership, which displays on your Google+ Local page, their Google+ profile page, anyone who searches for places in their circle can see it and anyone who views places they’ve reviewed.  When they write their review, they can give scores for your dealership based on quality, appeal and service by default, however, there is a link located at the top right for “Wrong labels?” that they can click on to change them to another type of business.  Right now they have:  Attraction, Golf Course, Lodging, Nightlife and Restaurant/Cafe.  I checked each of those types and the Attraction one seems to be the best fit and hopefully they will add more types soon.  The individual user scores are based on a 0 to 3 point scale:  3 = excellent, 2 = very good, 1 = good and 0 = poor to fair.   Zagat Score Example 2Google then takes those ratings, averages them and multiplies that number by ten to get an average score.  Here’s the point scale for this number:  26-30 = extraordinary to perfection, 21-25 = very good to excellent, 16-20 = good to very good, 10-15 = fair to good and 0-9 = poor to fair.  You’ll see this score in one of two ways, scores with multiple aspecs and overall scores.
  • If you had reviews or uploaded pictures in Google Places, all of them will display as public and “A Google User”.
  • Visitors with a Google+ account will be able to “check-in” to your dealership.

How to tell what type of page you have on Google:

  • If on your business page on Google you see scores and reviews with tabs for About and Photos and a Manage this page button when you scroll down, it’s a local listing that was upgraded from the old Places page.  When your listing appears either on Google Maps or Search results, clicking the “more info” or the “Google reviews” links will take you to this type of page.
  • If you’ve created a Google+ page for your dealership, you’ll see tabs for Posts, About, Photos and Videos, but there is no option to leave a review.

When these two pages are combined, they will have a “verified” checkmark and have features of both pages including scores, reviews, posts from the business owner, etc.

To get more information on how to setup your Google+ Local page, Google Postcardthey have step-by-step instructions for you here:  http://support.google.com/plus/bin/answer.py?hl=en&topic=1710599&ctx=topic&answer=1713911

To get more information about how to verify your local Google+ page, go to:  http://support.google.com/plus/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2623608 – there are links on the left side of the page, start with Request a PIN.

I’ve had a few conversations with dealers that went to their Google Places page and found bad review(s) that they wanted to get removed.  In all my research, I’ve found the only thing you can do is “Flag as Inappropriate”, which will nudge Google to check the review to see if it violates their guidelines.

Google’s Policy Criteria for Removing Reviews:

  • Does it have inappropriate content… including unlawful, plagiarism, malicious products (viruses), hate speech, personal / confidential info, child safety, account hijacking, spam, ranking manipulation, sexually explicit, violent / bullying, impersonation / deception, regulated goods / services, etc.
  • Does it have advertising and spam… fake reviews, same or similar reviews on multiple places, links to other websites, etc.
  • Does it have off-topic reviews… reviews added based on someone else’s experience, or that are not about the specific place the review is posted on.
  • Is there a conflict of interest… reviews added by people that were offered money or products to write them, misrepresented identity, affiliation with the place you are reviewing, etc.

If the review does not violate their guidelines, I’d suggest encouraging your customers to post their review of your dealership on your Google+ Local page.  The more positive reviews you have the better as Google+ Local pages become more integrated.  Here’s my thinking… if you have 10 positive reviews and 2 negative reviews, I’m more likely to think those two people, depending on the content of their reviews, were those types of customers that you just can’t please, no matter what you do.  Anyone who has ever had a job knows and understands that this happens.

In addition, you can respond to reviews publicly from your Google+ Local page.  All you have to do is login to your Google Places for Business Account, click the “See your listing on Google Maps” and click “Respond” next to the review.

Your turn… I know with all the social media websites out there, some of the dealers I’ve talked to are finding it difficult to keep up with all of them.  Are you having the same issue?  Share your experiences, ideas, thoughts, etc.  Did you setup your Google+ page yet?  How did that go for you?

Cindy Spencer  🙂

Cindy SpencerCindy Spencer, an Account Manager at NetSource Media since 2000, works with clients across the US with RVUSA.com, TrailersUSA.com and RVCanada.com.  Cindy and her in-house team of designers and programmers helps dealers with website design & hosting, inventory management & distribution, website maintenance & SEO and much more.  Connect with Cindy on Google+.