As an local SEO Expert with Google Places I was somewhat shocked to wake up yesterday morning and learn that Google Places had been eliminated. Yes, I said it. It was eliminated. Thankfully it was not in the traditional sense of an elimination where the product is completely wiped out; instead it’s more of a merger with Google plus. Now before you get too scared I want to let you know that local results still show up in search engine results pages. Additionally, you can still edit and maintain the page in the same way. So what changed?
The major changes to Google Places seems to be isolated and focused towards the reviews section. The new Google Plus Local platform now does aggregate reviews of different areas to provide you a score based out of thirty points. They aggregate Zagat’s data along with their and display this information on local pages. Although it’s still quite early to tell I did not see a major impact on ranking changes based on this update.
If you run a business it’s more important than ever to ask your customers for honest reviews. I will keep you updated on this subject, but I wanted to share the news.