In the ever-changing world of local SEO, Google provides the most important moving target that we must hit. Various changes within Google’s products shape how we function in our day-to-day activities, so when an occasional overhaul comes our way, it is important that we adapt as quickly and efficiently as possible. Some of the largest updates to hit us have been new and changing algorithms, and the local pack within Google search switching from a seven pack to a three pack. Well, the year isn’t quite over yet, and Google has thrown us another curve ball with a major overhaul of Google+.
Google+, Google My Business, Google Local, and GMB are all terms that have been thrown around in an effort to explain your business’ page on Google+. Why has it always been so important? Because when someone searches for your business, the information that we add to GMB (Google My Business), is the information that shows up in the local pack or the knowledge graph. This is essentially the best place to showcase your business information for the world to see who you are, where you’re located, and optimize it to get the best ranking and user experience possible. Even Yahoo has made a deal with Google, which allows them to display some search of Google’s search results. The place to see all of this information, including reviews, was always on your business’ G+ Local Page - shown below.
Now Google has made a marked change in this system, which will take some getting used to, but will ultimately be much easier. The information that we feed Google will be used to make two different types of listing. The first will be your Google Maps listing, seen below. This will include most of the information that you traditionally looked for you your Google+ page, and will be the only place where your clients can leave a review.
The other is your +Page (the official terminology for your page on Google+). This page is very different from its traditional listing iteration, now excluding reviews, videos, pictures, business categories, description, and your map. The only thing that will be shown on this page from now on are your posts. his is no longer associated with your maps listing, and these pages will not be accessible unless someone searches for your business from within Google+. A small information button also appears, which will display your address and website, but that is as far as it goes (for now).
So what does this mean for the future?
Actually, not that much. People will still be able to find your business and view the relevant information just as they have before, but they will only see it in one place, depending on the information they need. If they are searching for a news feed, they can find you in Google+, which is now a more pure social network. For any other information, they’ll find your Google Maps listing in a Google search via the local knowledge graph, and view all of the basic info about your business.
The most important change will be in the reviews. Make sure that when you ask your clients for reviews, you send them to your Google Maps listing, not your +Page.