Brace yourselves, car dealers – things are about to get interesting…
Local search has become increasingly vital to success in the auto industry, and today, Google made a huge change that will change the way that every auto dealer optimizes for local search. Say goodbye to Google Places… And say hello to Google+ Local.
Google Places has been the go-to destination for local search dominance, and now Google is replacing them entirely with Google+ Local pages. As of this morning, approximately 80 million Google Place pages were automatically converted to Google+ Local pages. Apparently, this isn’t a typical staggered rollout either – all of the Places pages will be converted to Google+ Local pages within a matter of days.
Currently, we’re not seeing the new Google+ Local pages in the SERPs, but apparently they’re coming soon. You CAN see them inside of Google+, with the new “Local” tab – so head over and take a look. (UPDATE – As of Thursday morning, the changes appear to have rolled out across all Google products.)
If you’re an auto dealer who’s been relying heavily on Google Places and Google Reviews, you’ll need to update your strategy ASAP. If you haven’t gotten into local optimization yet, there’s never been a better time to start.
Here are the most important changes that have been made:
- Google+ Local pages will replace Google Places pages.
- Google+ Local pages will be indexed by Google. That means that unlike the old Places pages, they’ll show up in search results.
- Google+ has a new “Local” tab
- The old 5-star review system has been replaced with the Zagat 30-point review system.
- Google+ Local pages will be integrated across Google properties (Google+, standard search, Google Maps, mobile)
- A Google+ circles filter has been added so you can find reviews from people you know