This week, Google+ launched g+/local, the next step in integrating social and search. This addition goes beyond just the g+ social network. The new local includes common features similar to Yelp: reviews, locations, websites and basic information.
Google+ is also integrating Zagat into the local mix. This means you’ll be able to quickly view reviews by friends, information about the local business and information from Zagat.
As Google said on its blog today:
From the new “local” tab on Google+, you can search for specific places or browse for ones that fit your mood. If you click on a restaurant, a museum or whatever you’ll be taken to a local Google+ page that includes photos, Zagat scores and summaries, reviews from people you know and other useful information like the address and opening hours.
Google+ Local has also integrated across other products you already use daily. If you’re looking for a place on search or maps, you get the same local information there as well. You can also take it on the go with Google Maps for mobile on your Android device, and soon with iOS devices.
So what does this mean for non-restaurant businesses?
Services like Yelp, Google Places, and Merchant Circle all started primarily focusing on restaurants before they moved into every other brick-and-mortar type of business. I wrote a piece on the blending of social media and search; this move by Google continues to solidify the future for local businesses online. In order to stay visible and in front of prospects, you need to adapt to the quickly changing online world.
Getting involved in this new twist is simple. Create a g+ page for your business, make sure your Google Places page is owner-verified and up to date, and start slowly building your g+ following.
Jabez LeBret is the author of the Amazon No. 1 bestselling law office marketing book How to Turn Clicks Into Clients. As a partner at Get Noticed Get Found, a legal marketing agency, over the last nine years he has delivered over 800 keynote addresses in six countries. His main area of expertise is managing Gen Y in the workplace, advanced Facebook strategies, LinkedIn strategies, Google+, SEO, local directory optimization, and online marketing.