Google Place pages, once powerful online local business listings, have now been entirely converted into Google+ Pages. Over 80 million Google Place pages have been automatically merged into the Google+ social network and become what are now called Google+ Local pages, found under the Local tab of the Google account menu.

This is a dramatic and potentially confusing change for business owners, but it can be harnessed to one’s advantage with the right knowledge and expertise. Here’s a guide to the changes and additions, as outlined on

• The substitution of the new Google+ Local pages (as mentioned) for Google Places pages
• The appearance of a “Local” tab within Google+
• The integration and free availability of Zagat reviews (its entire archive across categories)
• The integration of Google+ Local pages across Google properties (search, Maps, mobile)
• Integration of a circles filter to find reviews/recommendations from friends/family/colleagues

Overall, this change means that local Google business listings are becoming more dynamic and better integrated into social media and local search. They are also more nuanced, since Zagat reviews have a more detailed rating system than say, Yelp. Google+ listings also feature more information that the old Places, and allow better social interaction between merchants and users.

Business owners have now been forced by Google to enter the online social networking world in a big way, creating greater pressure for the acquisition of skills related to social media marketing and maintenance. In the end Google has put potentially more power in the hands of business owners, but benefiting from this power requires the kind of experience and knowledge that the Blue Hat team provides through our personalized local search and social media marketing packages. Blue Hat will become your partner in navigating the ever changing online landscape and ensure that your business stays relevant and on top of internet trends, search results and potential customers’ minds. This is the ultimate way to achieve more conversions and calls to your business.