Good Bye Google Places, Hello Google+ Local Pages!
A few months ago you may have noticed that Google started the transition from Google Places to the new Google+ Local Pages. These changes may have you a little concerned and worried. Hopefully we can put your mind to rest by answering a few of the top questions about the new Google+ Local Pages .
What happened to my Google Places Page?
This is usually the top concern for most businesses as it is very important to find your business in Google. Your former Google Places page has now automatically transitioned to Google+ Local page and your basic information should get transferred over to the new design. We do recommend that you visit your new Google+ Local page and verify that your basic listing information was transferred correctly. You should “claim” your page, if you haven’t already. This allows Google to identify you as the owner of the business and the person authorized to update the page.
Why did Google make the change?
The purpose behind the change was to incorporate Google’s social networking site into more of its other products create a one stop Web experience for users.
What features should I look for?
Google + has some noticeable attributes that will be easy for you to take advantage of.
Header and Profile Photo - you can now have a header photo and a profile photo, much like Facebook’s Timeline Cover and Profile Image. Your cover image dimensions are 2120x1192 pixels and your profile picture should be 250x250 pixels.
2 Trending Topics Section – Trending topics will appear on the right-hand side of your screen. The benefit is that your business will be able to gain more visibility by commenting or posting on trending topics. You can write about a trending topic or engage with anyone commenting on your post or a trending topic.
Hangouts – This is a huge change that can be very useful for businesses. Hangouts, simply put, are live video chats. Here are a few things your business should consider: 1) Join hangouts that are relevant to your business, 2) Create “scheduled hangout sessions” for your fans and customers, 3) Host public hangouts on topics that are relevant to your business or 4) Meet with Clients for an online meeting when traveling to their business is not feasible.
Categorization – This is probably the biggest and best attribute of Google+. You can now categorize your “connections” into “circles” – this means you can create a circle of “friends”, “family”, “acquaintances,” “followers,” or other categories with names specific to your business. The benefit of categorizing is that you will be able to discriminate which “circles” you will share information with. For example, Google+ will allow you to share your family information with your family but not your followers.
Google+ Local Pages will continue evolve and grow in popularity. It is important that you, your business and your website keep up to date. MSW Interactive Designs strives to keep you informed of major changes (like this one) that can affect your online presence. Please don’t hesitate to call us with questions!
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Mike Waggett, MSW Interactive Designs LLC ~ We put the web to work for you!