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Social Media Commerce: Google+ Local Meets Zagat

In the world of social media, one of the most important components for businesses is the peer-to-peer review. One of the most popular online review sites is Google+ Local.

Get found on Google free of charge! Because 97 percent of consumers search for local businesses online, and Google is the top search engine, guess where they go? Google Places is gone and Google+ Local has taken over for a Zagat-infused search that shows up at the top of the page, in the number one spot.

Google+ Local reveals recommendations based on previous reviews and Zagat ratings. If you’re a member of Google+ and on the site, you will also see recommendations from those in your circles. This figure shows the Local tab and local recommendations with personal circles.

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Whether a search for a business name is made from Google, Google Maps, Google Local, or Google Mobile, the business listing also shows up on Google+ Local. All types of bricks-and-mortar businesses are listed. For example, you can search for (and find) listings for an endocrinologist, a sprinkler repair person, and a plumber in your city.

All ratings are based on the Zagat 30-point system. Individual user scores are based on a 0 to 3 point scale:

3: Excellent
2: Very good
1: Good
0: Poor to fair

Averaged scores, as in the Zagat system, are calculated on a 30-point scale based on user reviews:

26–30: Extraordinary to perfection
21–25: Very good to excellent
16–20: Good to very good
11–15: Fair to good
0–10: Poor to fair

A search for a specific business within a city resembles a Yelp search, but the data is more thorough. For example, this figure shows the listing for a deli, which Zagat rated number one in Los Angeles.

image1.jpg

Each local business listing is based on information that Google gleans from many places, including the Yellow Pages. To make the most of your listing, add photos and update your address and hours.

Adding your local business listing is free, and Google doesn’t accept payment to include particular listings or sites in search results. To claim your page and have access to the free goodies (or insert your page if there isn’t one), go to the Google Places for Business page.

Google Places is free, but you can support your page with advertising from Google AdWords.

After you claim your page and beef it up and more people begin to visit, you get access to seriously good statistics that show how users interact with your listing, so you can add or remove information to make it better. You’ll be able to see the following:

  • Impressions: The number of times your listing has been displayed during a search on Google, Google Maps, and Google Mobile

  • Source: What people clicked when they visited your listing

  • Activity: All impressions as well as viewers’ actions when they click links in your listing

  • Searches: The Google searches that returned your business as a result

  • Driving directions: The geographic location from which the request for driving directions came

Even more statistics are available, so don’t wait. The online review sites are places where you need your listing to be crystal clear and accurate.

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