May 30, 2012 Breaking News vital for Local Offline Marketers!
Google announced today that Zagat will become the cornerstone of it’s new free service, Google Plus Local, intended to enhance Google’s growing local search presence.
Last year, Google purchased Zagat, a stable company known for it’s review guides, for $151 million. Google+ Local will be adopting Zagat’s “poor-to-perfect” rating scale, letting reviewers rate a product or service anywhere from zero to 30.
So, what does this mean to offline marketers?
Well, on one hand, it means that there’s a brand new opportunity to get your name in front of local SMBs and show that you are on the cutting edge, offering services in Local SEO and Reputation Management they would not have heard about. It’s tough enough for us to keep in step with all of the technological changes, just think how difficult it is for SMBs!
Now, on the other hand, its another in a frustrating line of technological changes that local offline marketers are chasing to make sure the hard work we’ve put into our services are still valid! It’s tough to keep our heads on straight when Google updates its analytics, or shuts down blog-sites, or introduces new local search sites OVERNIGHT.
Still, Local Search is absolutely the hottest commodity in the market. Even though it is frustrating, its our job to be in-the-know when these changes take place.
It also reminds us of the importance of not putting all of our eggs in one technological basket – Facebook’s new IPO reminds us that it’s foundation is only as strong as it’s fanbase, and we’ve seen before that that can be a wavering proposition (MySpace). Google, though, is too important for local offliners to ignore, and its in our best interest to leverage as much as possible, without using it as the foundation for OUR business.
Glenn Collins, of dinersjournal.com writes of the importance of local search, as well as how it’s only going to get hotter.
“20 percent of all searches in Google are for nearby information — and 40 percent for those using mobile phones. Analysts have estimated that local online advertising is a growing market worth $140 billion per year.
‘Getting local search right is important, and to do that you need great reviews’.
Before the explosion of food blogs on the Web, Zagat was the primary source of user-generated restaurant reviews. As of April, Zagat.com had 310,000 unique visitors in the United States, compared to 31 million at Yelp.com, 13 million at CitySearch.com, 7 million at Urbanspoon.com, 1.6 million at OpenTable.com and 1.5 million at TimeOut.com, according to comScore, a data firm.
Three years before it bought Zagat, Google unsuccessfully sought to buy Yelp for $500 million, and subsequently introduced Google Places, a Yelp-ish service for listing local businesses and collecting consumer reviews. Google Plus Local will replace Google Places.”
For the entire article, click here.
Let us know what you think: Do you look at Google+ Local as a terrific opportunity? Or a frustrating addition to our already full plates? Are you planning on offering Google+ Local in your services?