Google has been all over the map trying to remain the dominate voice in local search. They started with Google Maps. Then jumped to Google Local. Then Google Places and now they’ve somehow merged all of them into Google+ Local. It can be tough to follow for some businesses.
Is this for the better? Only time will tell. But the reality is, Google is the biggest name in the search game and their integration of local search has an impact on searchers.
Like it or not, you have to play the Google game. Right now everyone is wondering what they need to do to get set up. Well, fortunately, nothing has changed in terms of how you manage your local listing for now. You’ll still go to Google Places for Business to manage everything. However, there is one component still missing and that is integrating the local listing, what was Google Places, with your Google+ Business Page. (Which if you still haven’t created one, go here.)
Confused? Well, Google Places listings are in Google+ with Zagat reviews under the Local tab on the left. Think of it like when Facebook created their Places pages and they were separate from the Business Page. Then they merged them. Well, businesses are in that limbo for right now where the two have yet to meet on Google+.
Google is pretty adamant about the fact that merging the two is still in the testing phase but they are taking some businesses in for an early upgrade. If you’re brave and willing to see what the future holds, you can apply to be considered for the early test. Just jump over to this form and fill it in. It doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be chosen, but you might. And if this Wall Street Journal article is right, we can expect a lot more changes for businesses coming soon.