You may ask yourself, “Google+… what is that?” but what you don’t know is that if you use Google for directions, use YouTube to make comments, or leave reviews on Google pages, then you have already been using Google+ and so have your customers! Google recently updated the layout of Google+ to make it simpler for users to find everything they really need (including your business) more efficiently and effectively!
“What could they have possibly updated?” you may ask. Well to answer that, we first should look at the history of Google+ to get a better understanding of what it is.
Google+ previously existed as two separate entities:
Google’s local listings “product” has gone through many updates since its introduction in 2005. These include the incorporation of fuller descriptions for businesses, the acquisition of Zagat in 2011 to include reviews on Google pages, and now over the past year businesses have been able to merge their local pages with their social pages.
While it may not mean much to you as a local business, Google+ is probably the most important tool in your digital marketing arsenal. In the past, we have discussed the importance of Google+ Local pages and Google+ Social pages, how these tools can help you to “get found” and interact with your customers. So what changes did they make?
The only major update to these pages is the layout. All the information on these pages is exactly the same as it was a few short months ago, but the major difference is these Google+ pages are now responsive. This just means that when you look at a Google+ page on any device, the page will automatically reformat to fit your screen!
If the change was that simple, why all the hype about the update? Keep reading to learn why these changes are so crucial for your business.
In technical terms, this is a wholesale update of all local, social, and merged social/local pages’ layouts. The new layout should not present any issues to the development of the page, but it seems to bring the vast majority of the information above the fold to help the user find important information.
The biggest change with this layout is that the Google+ local, social, merged pages are now responsive (with the exception of mobile devices), meaning that the pages will now display in a user-friendly format on all devices. This suggests that Google will be more apt to have Google+ pages front and center on tablet/mobile search queries to mirror that of a traditional web search, as this is in line with the recent “Hummingbird” algorithm update. Google has updated the layout to help with the user experience on-page and to help Google+ pages become more prominent throughout all search queries.
Add this update to the Youtube/Google+ integration of a few weeks ago, as well as the Hummingbird Algorithm update, and it seems that Google is moving towards full integration on their platform (of all Social, Search, and Local pages) through any – with a strong emphasis on mobile- device.
Making Google+ pages responsive was done to make our lives easier! With more and more people searching from their mobile devices, Google would like to serve users the same results from mobile, tablet, and desktops. Allowing Google+ pages to be responsive and merging Social and Local pages together helps Google do that. It seems simple when you think about it, but this is all about creating a better user experience and serving great results.
When it comes to your business online, being found is the name of the game. Having integrated, responsive Google+ pages for your local and social presence means being found even easier. And with a responsive design, your customers can find you more easily on the go, from anywhere.