Google re-invents local search!

Google Places pages replaced by Google+ Local Pages

As of this morning, Google replaced the first 80 million Place pages world-wide with the new Google+ Local Pages. We are not seeing the full set of features in the UK yet but some are starting to sneak through and the wholesale update is imminent. So what does it all mean and why is it important for dental SEO? New features are….

  • Progressive integration of Google+ pages
  • Static Places pages are being updated to more dynamic Google+ Local pages
  • Integration of multi-faceted ‘Zagat’ reviews – these will replace the old ‘gold star’ reviews and clients will be able to comment on several aspects of your services
  • Integration of Google+ Local pages across various Google properties (search, maps, mobile)
  • Links to “Local” from within Google+

What we are seeing here is Google promoting their Google+ network to make it a primary local search destination within Google and arguably with much more information than that offered at the traditional Google search level. Google+ Local is much more versatile and “social” than the traditional Places page with functionality akin to Facebook and Twitter. Google is bringing the full scale and versatility of its networks to bear and making it very difficult to ignore.

The effect on SEO strategy for dentists:

The new Google+ Local pages will be indexed in search so there is a lot of SEO potential for savvy dentists who take this up. Effectively Google is dropping business owners into the social fray and offering lots of opportunity for social interaction via Google+. It seems that those who do will be rewarded. Those who ignore it could potentially miss out in a big way.

This is another significant development by Google with broad implications and exciting opportunities. We will be monitoring its roll-out, effects and oportunities for dental search engine optimisation very closely.