Google has always made online marketers think beyond boundaries. After Google Panda and Penguin update has shattered the SEO industry as a whole, it is time to look at something new.
It is enough of rank drop, Google penalties, strategy failures and struggle for existence. Let us shed off the hang over and all SEO disasters you have been facing so long. No more mourning for the loss of business you incurred!
The game is not over yet!
The biggest news of the moment is that Google places (Now Google + Local) pages are expected to be converted into Google+ pages soon. Yes, you heard it right! Google plans to integrate existing Google place listings with Google+ pages. It means you have a business listed on Google places, you will be still able to manage your updates, reviews everything from your Google+ page, provided you are using same email address. Google + Local (Google place) is about to merge with Google + page.
The roll out is yet to happen as per Google’s announcement. However, the news has already produced hundreds of questions and speculations. In fact each of them is a research topic itself. Google has already implemented the changes on a few Google+ pages for initial review. They are Oh! Sushi, North Bowl, The Meta Ball Shop, Pomegranate Cafe, Delfina Restaurant.
How the new Google+ local page will look like?
The merged page will have existing tabs of Google+ page (such as Posts, About Photos, Videos) and Google map of existing Google places. This will have more robust and complete look as new Google + page will show Zagat score, total reviews, Google map, photos, address of the business everything. However, Google’s star ratings would not be visible anymore. It is Jagat 30-point rating scale for user reviews measurement.
Google + local pages according to viewers are more presentable and appealing as compared to Google places. Moreover, Google + local page will show a wide variety of information for internet users that are easy to navigate.
So, here are two changes we are talking about.
First, Google places pages transforming into Google+ local pages
Second, Google+ local page will integrate to Google + page
Now the million dollar question is how these shifts are going to affect SEO, particularly Local SEO.
The former one (Google places to Google + local pages) won’t have large impact on natural SERPs. However, new Google+ local pages will be indexed now as it was not for Google places earlier. Local businesses that are already listed in Google places can take advantage of this change by creating new Google + pages. By using Google+ local pages with integrated features Local merchants can develop their followers and continue social interactions. This will help them get more customers looking for local merchants. Google announces that more merchant features are yet to be implemented in future. Now a Google+ local user can host hang out, share photos, videos, post links and do more than just listing a business. This may influence SERPs too, though minutely.
Second one will have more impact on SEO and social media presence. Since Google tracks down social signals via Google+ network the transition from Google+ local pages to Google+ pages will use local annotations in SERPs. This may improve a website’s ranking and positions in Google+ local internet searches too.
What is your take from this?
If you already have an established Google+ page, you have to wait till Google collaborate Google place (Now Google+ local) with Google+ page. If you don’t have a Google+ business page already, you may continue with Google+ local only and wait for the change to happen. That is a safe bet. There is no need to hurry to get one. Google may upgrade your Google+ local page soon.
If you already have both the setups done, just wait for the right time to come. You will get instructions how to merge the duo. That is the news update till now. You will hear the next update from Google soon.
To sum it up, the whole idea of this Google’s mix and match model is to display local business information dynamically. Dynamic Google+ page and the updated contents within it will be of great usage to Google as far as ranking parameters are concerned. For obvious reason, this will give a new dimension to local SEO strategy.
Hope, the days are not far when Google will able to connect all its products and services through a single access platform. Just imagine how Gmail, Google plus, Google place and other G properties are getting merged one by one.