Google+ Local (http://plus.google.com/local) is a free service that is a part of the Google search engine that focuses specifically on businesses and their locations. These pages are now integrated with Google’s social networking site, Google+ and also link to Google Maps, Organic Search, and Google Mobile Maps. They display a list of companies in the area that offer services or products based on the user’s search terms.
When local customers go online to search for products or services in their local area, most of them stop in the Google+ Local section to find businesses who can meet their needs.
Not only is Google+ Local a great source to provide information about your business, such as the type of services and/or products you offer, photos of your office, your hours of operation, payment methods and directions, but this is where your customers can leave reviews about your business for others to see.
You may have noticed that the former 5-star rating system that we knew with Google Places is completely gone. Instead you will see the new Zagat scores for each business in the search results. Customer reviews play a huge part in these scores, but they entail many other factors. We will discuss Zagat in more detail later in this report.
When a user performs a search for a specific type of product or service in their local area, Google+ Local recommends places based on places they’ve liked and reviewed in the past, as well as places their friends have liked.
Google+ Local also recommends places based on the specified location to generate geo-targeted results. Users also have the capability to perform searches for local businesses all within their Google + Local accounts.
In addition, your customers can easily review your business as well as recommend your business to their family, friends, and colleagues all within the Google + Local pages platform.