Google has just rolled out a major change to Google Places. In fact, there are two major changes that concert restaurants.
- Google Places is now merged into Google Plus (or Google+), the social media platform from Google.
- Reviews on Google Places are now provided and manages by Zagat. So instead of the usual 5-star rating system you will start seeing 30-point Zagat ratings based on a several parameters (I.e., the food is ranked separately from decor etc).
As a sidenote, Google does own Zagat, which it purchased last year for just over $150 Million.
So what do these changes mean to your restaurant business and the way you marketing your restaurant?
- You can no longer ignore Google Plus as it becomes a much more important in influencing search-engine rankings. If you’ve been having a hard time trying to keep up with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and other social media tools, now you need to add another one to the mix.
- Getting customers to leave reviews on your old Places page was hard enough but it gets harder yet. First, they have to be on Google Places, then they need to log in and search for your restaurant on there, and when and if they found you, they can leave a review. It’s likely that more people who want to vent and leave a nasty comment will have the tenacity to jump through all the hoops. The tone of the reviews is likely to suffer a bit.
- More major and dramatic changes are coming down the pike so it’s important to keep an eye on all this so that you don’t lose what you’ve already accomplished online.
You may be wondering if there is any good news in all this. And in fact, there is.
The good news (as far as marketing a restaurant goes) is that the whole online traffic landscape is shifting. It is in the times of major shifts like this that fortunes are created by those would know and do something about it.
Here’s more on this from the “horse’s mouth”:
Google is definitely not finished with the changes. One does not need to be a psychic to know that more major changes are just around the corner. Get up to speed on how to use these new tools in restaurant marketing and beat your competition into a punch.