Many people are talking about the Google Places and Google + integration that happened at the end of May. This notice is to inform you about the basics of this change and to inform you about the impact made to our current LBLO (Local Business Listing Optimization) services.
The Impact to our LBLO Services
First off, I would like to inform you that our current LBLO services are not impacted by this change. We will continue with our current service as is. In response to this change we are creating an “add on” service for Google+ optimization that you will be able to avail of starting July 1st.
The Breakdown of the Google Places and Google Plus Integration
Google just made some changes that allows you to access Google Places from Google +. For those of you who are not familiar with Google+, it is kind of like Facebook but with better picture sharing and video sharing. For instance on Google+ you can have a video chat with up to 9 people at the same time, make your own hang out, and get updates from friends. In short Google is trying to take their version of Facebook in more directions and they have now done that by integrating Google Places. So now, when you are signed in to your Google + profile you have an option to click on a button for your “Local” places information. This will store your local favorites, allow you to see reviews your friends posted, places your friends like and even more.
They changed their review system and now Zagat handles their reviews and it gives an overall quality rating that is not only based on star rating of the review, but also on the quality of the review. You are no longer to leave a review for someone on Google Places unless you are logged in with a Google + account.
Main FAQ Answers:
Question: Do I have to now create a Google+ account and optimize it?
Answer: No, we are activating a merged Google + account for you and your basic Google Places information will be automatically populated into Google+.
Question: Does my Google Places login become my new Google+ login?
Answer: Yes you will be able to login to Google+ with your Google Places login credentials.
Please reference this snippet from Google:
“”Continue to manage through Google Places for Business. If you are a business owner, you should continue to manage your information in Google Places for Business. You’ll still be able to verify your basic listing data, make updates, and respond to reviews. For those who use AdWords Express, your ads will operate as normal as they’ll automatically redirect people to the destination you selected, or your current listing.”
Question: Did this impact my current rankings?
Answer: So far we have not seen a shakeup in rankings as a result of this change.
Question: Does this change the way I need to optimize my Google Places?
Answer: For now we are not seeing a heavy change in rankings, so it leads us to believe that this update did not alter the ranking algorithm to a large degree. However, we do anticipate Google + to play a strong role in the Google Places ranking algorithm in the future, so we will be releasing a Google + add on service July 1st. The main point is, we have not seen an abnormal change in the Google Places rankings so this is not yet a playing factor.