Tech & Blogging

Learning about Google Local at Google London HQ

Google_London_HQ

Wonder if I can rate Google HQ on Google?

Recently I was invited to a Google+ Pages workshop at Google London’s Victoria Headquarters. And, being the inquisitive Community Manager that I am, I graciously accepted. (That, and I really wanted to see what Google’s London HQ looked like!)

But when I showed up I found out that, while reception looked like a Google Doodle and there was loads of cakes and wine, there,  well, there just was no workshop. For a moment I was kind of annoyed because I was hoping to learn some tricks to improve my company’s G+ presence. But then I found out…. I was actually at the launch of Google+ Local.

And you know what? I think this is what G+ needs to properly rival Facebook. (That and the ability to create events – can you guys get started on that? Please make sure they are naturally SEO-friendly. Ta!)

Google_London_HQ

Google had the best snacks.

Anyhow, after a quick run-through of how this new feature would work we all got to give it a go. It was my first time writing a Google review, but it took less than a minute (no lie) to set it up and figure it out. Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign into G+
  2. Go to the “Local” tab
  3. Search for the place you want to review
  4. Click on the “Write a Review” button
  5. Rate, write & publish!
  6. Optional: share the review with your circles (you can add a comment if you decide to share the review)

They’ve also incorporated the Zagat rating system, which is pretty awesome. Basically, you use Google’s rating system (in bullet notes below) and then they do the maths and come up with the trusted Zagat 30-point scale equivalent.

  • 0 = poor – fair
  • 1 = good
  • 2 = very good
  • 3 = excellent

But it doesn’t stop there.

Google love their algorithms and (practically) dictate how SEO works; they also offer Search, plus Your World to anyone with a Google+ account. So you know they aren’t going to leave the system that basic – they had to spice it up and make it special, give it that one-up on Yelp, Qype, etc. And then they went ahead and gave top reviewers priority as “trusted” reviewers (these reviews float to the top on a page) and, when you search, you also see recommendations based on what your friends have said about places. Brilliant!

What I’m thinking

Each place has a location on the map – click on the map and you get to Google Maps. On Google Maps you’ve got directions. Well, if you’ve recommended a coffee place that sounds cool I’m two clicks away from entering my starting location for directions. And I think that’s pretty damn cool.

For businesses that have a website attached to their G+ Local listing this may also help boost search engine listing. (But that’s just be speculating…)

Also, because I can see what the people in my circles have reviewed, I’m now super tempted to start circling London-based vegetarians (I can find them from their reviews!) and see how they’re rating vegetarian restaurants so I don’t end up somewhere really shit. But right now I’m seeing LOADS of coffee recommendations from my circled friends, which is cool because I’m super picky about coffee.

So now I’m off to judge my friends’ tastes and see what they think of some of my favourite spots. In the meantime, please go join G+, circle me and start reviewing – I’d love to see what you recommend! (Especially if you’re a London-based vegetarian…)

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