Announced on Thursday, Google has made some chances to its Places layout. Google claims that these changes have been made to help simplify the pages across web and mobile.
From an overview perspective, the big changes (and some yet unanswered questions) are:
- Missing owner description (seems to be intermittent)
- Less prominent 3rd party reviews, no longer displaying review content from 3rd party sites, still showing count and linking to them
- User’s ability to upload a photo (undetermined where these photo’s will be displayed or how long they will take to appear)
- More active Google solicitation for reviews
- Undetermined if citation count is going to continue to display
As Google continues to consolidate their product line, using Google+ to integrate and combine content, users will continue to see change. Likely, this is the first step in Google’s plan to turn Google Place pages into Google+ business profile pages. DAC Group is well positioned to adapt to these changes. Google continues to push integration, which has always been paramount in DAC Group’s offering.
For most companies, a listing management program will soon be a prerequisite to a thorough online presence. This change will increase the importance of local web page content as Google lessens the importance on 3rd party content. For brands to be truly competitive in the integrated local space more ‘off listing’ components, such as accurate Places pages, will become necessary.
The official blog on the subject from Google can be read here.
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