This week Google decided that instead of fixing any of the ongoing problems with Google+ Local or any of their other services, they would dangle a shiny new object in front of users and require that they update their personal and business pages with massive new images…. or run the risk of having their pages appear broken to users. Additionally Google+ Local added equally large non-interactive maps to the top of all listings, which in many cases only further complicates previously unresolved issues. Today we take a look at what changes were made, how they may have impacted you, and what you should do to deal with them.
By now, most of us are aware of satellite and “Street View” imagery in Google Maps, but did you know Google has begun adding 45° aerial photos as well? In fact in 2012 they began rapidly adding hundreds of cities and countries across the globe, including Burlington, VT in mid-November. Today we’ll take a look at how/when Google shows these images, why they are so current, and then explore some of the Queen City from above.
It seems that Google is once again testing changes to their local listings. Though instead of any fundamental change to the core of their directory, like moving from Google Places to Google+ Local, this time they’re just testing the display of even numbered local pack layouts in search results. It’s unclear why in the past local packs always only included 1, 3, 5 or 7 results, but they have apparently started showing 2, 4 and 6 packs to users lately, though infrequently.
It’s easy to miss, and who knows when it was added, but there’s now a way to “Show service area” when looking at a local business or local search results in Google. Today we explore a number of different ways that you can wind up viewing a company’s service area and the types of location targeting these companies are able to utilize in their local listings.
Google’s problems with reviews for local businesses disappearing are as old as their local directory itself (Local Business Center/Places/+ Local), and I wrote about them at length several months ago (even before the Google+ Local transition). So, what’s changed? Well, nothing as far as Google taking action on the matter is concerned… But master of Google Local Mike Blumenthal is trying to turn up the heat by posting a group forum for business owners to sort of form a coalition.
Today is the day! Finally Google is allowing business owners to verify and merge their existing Google+ business pages with their Google+ Local pages (formerly Google Places pages). Unfortunately, while this isn’t another round of beta testing, it’s also still not a feature available to all business owners just yet. In this post we’ll talk about which businesses still can’t access this feature.
It looks like Google has suspended merger testing and those of us who already had a business page on Google+ will have to wait to have it merged with the newly created Google+ Local page. Google hasn’t made any announcements yet, as to the date when they’ll fully roll-out merging capabilities, but one would hope sooner rather than later, particularly if they still intend to launch Business Builder in July.
Ever since Google Places was replaced by Google+ Local, those of us who had already created a business page on Google+ were left wondering if/when the pages would be merged. The process appears to have begun, but Google isn’t exactly broadcasting it.
Last week we talked about Facebook Offers, a new free service in beta testing and currently being offered to a limited number of “local” businesses around the country. Basically Facebook is returning fire at Google which has been busy trying to steal away some of the social media market share, particularly with the recent transition […]
As you undoubtedly know by now, Google replaced Places with Google+ Local as their local business directory a few weeks ago, but not much changed for business owners. Sure, they overhauled the review system and transformed how local pages look to the front-end user, but management processes and the back-end dashboard for the business owners […]