New Google+ and Impact on Google Local


Linda Buquet

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The good news? Google+ is not Dead

But bad news for Google Local

Google has not given up on Google+, they just did a MAJOR upgrade. Big changes, no hangouts, lots of other things changed, you can read links below for all of that info.

The bad news for Local?

NO reviews. NO obvious "About" page and no "About" tab.
You have to hit the very subtle
i icon to get to "About".
Then it just loads a pop over with contact info. Many listings don't even have phone.
NO business category. NO business description. Oh and and I'll say it again - NO reviews!


The emphasis of Google+ now is Communities and Collections.
Local is even further distanced from Google+ than before.

I'm rushing to print, just to get the news out there and get the discussion started, so folks can start checking it out and sharing observations.

Here are a few quick posts about the update. I'm still digesting, so will have more info in a bit:

Local Search Pros Discussion Here

<a href="https://googleblog.blogspot.com/2015/11/introducing-new-google.html">Introducing the new Google+</a>

<a href="https://plus.google.com/+LukeWroblewski/posts/jJvNS3mwxyv">Dive into the new Google+</a>

<a href="https://plus.google.com/+MartinBrossman/posts/4fswA85ffiV">OK, how do I try out the new Google Plus?</a>

Good post by Ben Fisher about New G+ Navigation + Whats missing

IF YOU ARE NOT SEEING IT - YOU HAVE TO FORCE IT.
There's a trick you'd never find on your own. h/t Ana Hoffman on Google+

To force it: settings >>> Apps & Activities >>> MANAGE GOOGLE+ ACTIVITY then on next page click the search bar and then it will change, but it will kick you out to a new screen. So then you have to search bar the business or copy the URL to the G+ page. But sometimes when you just copy the link in, it goes to 404.

(PS the image above is just some random Chiro I don't know. Note: He has 8 reviews in reality.)
 

JoyHawkins

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I doubt this will impact many small businesses when you think about it. Very few customers of theirs are probably on G+. I use G+ all the time but never use it to interact with businesses (only other people & communities) so I think this move makes a lot of sense.

I'm wondering how I'm going to find dups now that their phone# and address aren't visible on the "plus.google.com" version. Ugh.
 

Linda Buquet

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Another good point Colan. When the Place pages were separate from G+ before they merged.
 

JoyHawkins

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I love Mike's comment:

Over the past two years I have discussed the parting of the ways between local and Plus but through all of that Google had retained the essence of tabbed business pages and given the owner the ability to add a description, photos, videos and provided a place to send customers to see and leave their reviews.

That is all gone. In focusing on content, communities and collections Google has hung out a new and bold sign.

If you haven’t gotten the message yet it should finally be clear in the release of their new and improved G+: BUSINESS UNWELCOME.


The New Google Plus ? All About Collections Not About Business | Understanding Google My Business & Local Search
 

Chad

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Something else is missing in the new Google+... POLLS!!! Unless there is somewhere else to create one, I don't see how to create one. I really liked those!

It also seems that cover image proportions have changed slightly. The optimal cover image size is now 910x510.
 

cdawg2610

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I doubt this will impact many small businesses when you think about it. Very few customers of theirs are probably on G+. I use G+ all the time but never use it to interact with businesses (only other people & communities) so I think this move makes a lot of sense.

I'm wondering how I'm going to find dups now that their phone# and address aren't visible on the "plus.google.com" version. Ugh.
I agree with you on that Joy. I'll be honest, it took me a bit to see the changes even, because I'm more used to seeing it from the Business side.
 

Linda Buquet

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But here is what I think will be the biggest impact.

Getting SMBs to understand the value of adding to their GMB page OR even claiming one if they are a new business.

WE know the data in GMB shows up now in search, maps and the Knowledge Graph.
But they don't get that.

When it changed to 3 pack I bet some businesses were saying why bother with GMB?

When we lost all the links to the GMB pages so you could not even find the page, more probably said, why bother.

And now IF they can even find their page and notice that images, descriptions, videos, categories are gone. What is their incentive to claim or update their pages.

Again, those that don't work with savvy consultants, like you guys, won't understand that the same GMB data just gets displayed in different ways - that the page is pretty much a moot point now.
 

Linda Buquet

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Colan, your page has it. I just saw it. So it IS in Canada.

Like I said bottom of my 1st post, many of us don't have the opt-in to upgrade yet.
So there is a hack to force it, so you can preview.


To force it: settings >>> Apps & Activities >>> MANAGE GOOGLE+ ACTIVITY then on next page click the search bar and then it will change, but it will kick you out to a new screen.

So then you have to search bar the business or copy the URL to the G+ page.
But sometimes when you just copy the link in, it goes to 404. Yours 404ed when I copied the link.
But when I searched in G+ after I forced the update then your page showed in the new format.
 

heckler

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It is certainly bizarre. Any thoughts on how this change may relate to the home services tests they've been running in SF? Or is this entirely the product of severing G+/Local?
 

Linda Buquet

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Some simpler instructions to force the new version:

Go to https://plus.google.com/apps/activities and click in the search field.
I had not seen your post when I posted my last set of instructions. Good point!

Joy, searching by phone number is working, try just searching (415) 394-1111
Good to know. Thanks!

It is certainly bizarre. Any thoughts on how this change may relate to the home services tests they've been running in SF? Or is this entirely the product of severing G+/Local?
Pretty sure the latter Bryan. Think this is all G+ nothing to do with HSAs.

BUT could be one more step toward pay to play in general.
 

Margaret Ornsby

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Seeing mixed versions of the upgrade - some pages yes (without forcing), some pages still the old. Within the same browser & session.

One other tiny change I'm seeing in a local search result - below the 3 pack if you searched for plumber or whatever, I'd see "more plumber" - now I see "more places".

Oh wait, looking back at past screen captures, that looks like it changed a few weeks ago(?), but does add to Colan's comment about coming full circle. Wonder if they will go back to the places brand name for local?
 

Linda Buquet

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Great observation about "More Places". I had not noticed that.

The more things change, the more they stay the same???
 
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As far as reviews go, I'm not really liking the fact that they completely removed a users ability to see and/or write a review from the G+ page. Although most users will not search via G+, the fact that they have removed almost all of the business related information is a bit ridiculous.

If G+ wants to play in the same space as Facebook, seeing that Facebook gives you the option to create a business page which includes a business description, contact info, reviews, etc, I don't know if it made sense to completely remove all of those features. I can understand disassociating it from maps, but I would have liked to see some more of the business info features stick on the G+ page.

Maybe in time, but then again, maybe not :confused:
 

Linda Buquet

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My strong feeling is this was a right hand / left hand thing.

I think the powers that be at Google in general and/or the + division, made these changes purely based on: Features users weren't using got removed. Features that were popular were enhanced. With a little strategy as far as what's the best fit for G+ now thrown in.

My gut tells me this really didn't have anything to do with Local and may have even been a right hand / left hand thing in terms of Google uppers and G+ managers just doing what they thought was right for G+ without giving much thought to Local, or knowing that much about it. Maybe the Local side of the house didn't even have much say about it.

That's my gut feeling right now. Nothing to base it on. I could be wrong.

SO WE ALL NEED TO USE THE FEEDBACK BUTTONS LIKE CRAZY. They are closely watching feedback as this rolls out and like usual will tweak after they find out what the problems are.

Mention FB who just added all kinds of cool new local features, while Google takes not only features, but important info away.
 

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