In its most recent move, Google eliminated Google Places and replaced it with Google Plus Local to increase user interactions on Google Plus. This is just the beginning.
Google further plans to interface Google Plus Local with Zagat to create a more seamless online review platform.
Dental practices and dentists listed on Google Places should have been notified about the conversion to Google Plus Local. It’s important that you check your Google Plus Local listing now because Google is integrating Google Plus Local with Google Maps. You don’t want your dental practice listing to suddenly disappear from Google Maps search.
The migration from Places to Google+ Local has changed the Dashboard view of your dental practice listing and currently all business listings no longer display whether they’ve been claimed or verified. It seems to be a work in progress, so you will want to sign into your Google account once a week and check what is happening with your listing.
Google’s plan is that with a Google Plus Local listing, your dental practice will be found through many online avenues like Google search, Google Maps, mobile search and Google Plus, along with the ability for users of Google Plus to recommend your dental practice to their family and friends.
They can also write an online review about your dental practice — all in one place.
For an idea of how Google Local will look with Zagat, Check out this video from Google –
While this may make it easier for users to find you locally, it’s a bit of a hassle to manage as a business owner.
Right now there isn’t a way to seamlessly manage your Google Plus business Page and your Google Local Listing from one location. Google’s plan for the very near future is to enable easier management of your dental practice presence across all of Google’s platforms through a single Google Plus business page.
As of this writing, Google has not announced a time frame for this enhancement. In the interim, you technically have two Google Plus “pages” that you need to be checking — your Google local listing and your Google Plus business page.
If you haven’t set up your dental practice with a Google Plus page now is the time to get on board with Google Plus. If you still find Google Plus confusing, check out Julie Frey’s article, Dental Marketing with Google Plus that walks you through setting up a Google Plus account.
We will keep you posted on the changes to Google Local as Google releases new information.
What are your thoughts on the changes to Google Places?