You’re not the only one who is confused about Google’s local optimization policies. We get it; Google’s algorithms are continuously moving toward more locally driven commerce, but with so many options now available to edit your business listings, it can be tough to discern the relationship between all of these different services.  The goal of this post is to help give you a baseline on what purpose each serves.

Should I Make A Google+ Page?

Google Plus
Google+ is great way to enhance professional networking and build your business brand. However, if you are planning to get your G+ business page combined with your +Local page, it’s important to remember that you need to set your page’s category to “Local Business or Place” when first creating it.  If your business has multiple locations, I’d recommend setting one “Product or Brand” category page up as an umbrella, and then a separate local page for each physical branch.  You can view official distinguishing features between the two types here.

When Would I Choose Google+ Local?

Google Plus Local
Any major changes to your business’ information should now be made using Google+ Local, as it seems that this is the service Google is currently placing the most local optimization emphasis on right now. Overall, Local+ offers a much more rich experience to visitors than Places, including the ability to add text anchored links back to your site, receive and moderate customer reviews, and, especially advantageous for restaurants, Zagat review integration.

Can I Still Use Places?

Google Places
Places is still a viable option, and any verifications you do of Google+ Local pages technically still occur through this service.  Make sure that your profile is 100% filled out, but as for any major changes to profile information, use +Local from here on out.  Google did just give the Places interface an update (it only took 8 years), although you won’t see the facelift until you claim your Google+ Local page, and even then probably not for a bit. You can preview the new format here.

Eventually, all Places for Business profiles are going to get this treatment, but you might as well get the jump by claiming your +Local listing now.

But What About Map Maker?

Map Maker
Map Maker is a great platform that Google has developed for peer editing of local information. The ideal time to use this service for your own business listing is when you are looking to change a small detail. Manage larger issues through +Local, but for changes such as your working hours or business categories, edits are reviewed faster through Map Maker.

This service is also great for tweaking the physical location of your business’ pin on Google Maps. You may have noticed that it’s not uncommon for businesses to be listed, say, in the middle of a busy highway, but with Map Maker you can easily pick up and move the pin to a more accurate location. I definitely recommend using Map Maker not just to edit your own information, but to submit more accurate details about community businesses you may have noticed were off as well.

Thanks to Scott Preavy from Got2Web Internet Services for this guest post. You can find articles on website design, seo and more on the Got2Web blog

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