Google has made some significant changes to its local search pages. Google Places has been replaced by Google+ Local, which means a new review system, a Local tab and more. Want to find out what’s different and how your business can use the new Google+ Local? Read on.

What’s Different?

  • Your link to your Google Places listing in the search results will now be a link to your Google+ Local page
  • A new Local tab has appeared in the Google+ interface
  • There is a new integration of the Zagat review system
  • Businesses will appear depending on recommendations from friends’ Circles. In other words, if someone in one of your Google+ Circles recommends a business, you are likely to see that same business high up in your search results

This chart compares the features of the different Google local pages:

Types of Pages:

Google+ Local Page: This is Google’s replacement for Places. It is the local business listing that shows up in the search results. It can be linked with an already existing Google+ for business page. Users can review the business and find general business information on this page.

Google+ Page: This can be for a business or a person. This is Google’s social media network. Businesses can post “status updates” and connect with customers and potential customers through social media marketing on this page.

Hybrid Google+ Local+ Page: This is a combination of the Google+ page and the Google+ Local page, which means it functions as both a local search page and a social network. A hybrid page occurs when a business links the two pages together. This can be done here. Businesses can post “status updates,” and users can leave reviews on the hybrid Google+ Local page.

Zagat Reviews:

Google+ Local has integrated the Zagat scoring system into its reviews. Reviews are now scored out of 30 and there are different categories (Food, Décor, Service, Cost) that make rating more specific. Once a user reviews a business, they can choose to share the review with their Circles on their own Google+ page.

As Google continues to fine tune these changes, Local Splash will continue to report the updates so don’t forget to check back often to stay on top of the latest local search news.