Check out this interesting article posted on sproutload about Local Store Marketing and the Google search results. By Jared Shusterman
Local Store Marketing just got interesting. The emphasis of local search and local social media interactions, in the vein of strong local marketing tactics, just got underscored tenfold. In my last article, I highlighted why all national brands with a focus on local marketing automation platforms need to pay attention to the local search opportunity. I also promised that I’d “prove that localizing search is a huge strategic priority for search engines like Google”.
Well – Google just proved that for me last week.
As previously indicated, Google Places merged with Google Plus last week – yielding Google + Local Pages. Over 80 million Google Places pages were affected with Places pages automatically become Google + Local. As such, social reviews and other commentary merges with one of the most important parts of Google’s Local Search engine. And remember Google’s purchase of Zagat back in September? Google gets rid of its 5-star rating system, and adds Zagat’s 30-point scale Google.com searches, Google Maps, and on mobile devices.
And the biggest change……Google + Local Pages will now be indexed (and most likely featured prominently), while Places – the previous cornerstone of Google’s local search algorithms, was phased out. As SearchEngineLand.com aptly named it,“Google + Just Became the Center of Local Search”. HOLY BATMAN!
For those local marketers that have been on Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn, but have kept Google+ on the side because of user adoption issues, this is now your reason to get on board. Aside from the social media benefits, there will undoubtedly be huge lifts as it relates to getting found in Google’s Local Search algorithms. Much like how Google Places became optimized with content and reviews from consumers, Google + Local Pages will need interaction and consistent use from its owners. The worlds of social and search are now visibly merging.
Let’s take a look at how it works. Type in a familiar consumer keyword in Google with the town you are in. In my case, I chose hamburgers in Miami Beach.