Published on by: James H. Hobson
Google has made another bold move in online content structure by deciding to merge Google Places into Google+. Industry analysts belive that the strategy behind this change is to position Google to increase market share in the rapidly growing, and highly profitable, world of mobile advertising. Many of these people also see this as a way to "encourage" more people to join Google+.
Here is a video that shows you aspects of the changes:
About the New LookWhen Google+ users login to their Google+ home page, they will find a sidebar link for Google Places. Google+ is becoming a very personalized asset for accessing the online information that you need, all from one central point - your own Google+ page. Google Places will now include Zagat's reviews instead of the previous 5-Stars rating system. Google owns Zagat's and has now found an excellent manner to leverage its authority reputation.
The new online presentation is a much richer user experience, and provides a very ample amount of relevant information about a particular business. It does appear to be a format that is going to be more advantageous for a business which can afford to create high quality content (including videos) versus the small business which may not have the budget to market in a robust manner.
Google+ Advantages and Opportunities
As with any change, there are opportunities which can become advantages for those who are first-movers. The die has been cast, so this new format IS a reality. Accordingly, the smart business owner or manager will contact an internet marketing company to get Google Places consulting and/or Google Places and Google+ help to leverage every part of this new situation.
Google+ and a Positive ROI?
For Google there certainly will be a very positive ROI, and there certainly should be for savvy business owners who have customers that arrive via mobile search . . . but then again, isn't this what local search advertising is all about? The likeability factor of merging local search with social media may not initially be enthusiastic however people will adapt. What may start out as no-big-deal could prove to be a huge traffic driver for many businesses. Certainly the industry stats on mobile use, advertising investments and click through rates indicate a steady year-after-year growth that has not shown any signs of leveling off.
The bottom line is that themerging of Google Places with Google+ is something that will impact your business. Whether it impacts your business in a positive or negative manner has a lot to do with how quickly you react, and the actions you take to make the most of this opportunity.