December 1, 2015

Customer Question of the Month: Google+ Redesign

By Justin H.

Many speculations have been made of the new Google+ layout, as the social media platform continues to search for its niche. 

We have covered the ballyhooed redesign here at Tek Shouts!, but the jury is still out on its effectiveness. One demographic that appears to be affected the most in its early stages is business owners.

Announced on November 17, the Google+ redesign was aimed at simplifying the use of Collections, Communities, and your home stream. Some of the new features include the ability to create and edit communities on Android devices, multi-login on iOS, the ability to share public posts on other networks, new notifications, and a few other tidbits.

However, the glaring issue is that local business reviews are no more, which brings about the question: What does the new Google+ format mean for my business?

Don’t Fret…Your Reviews Didn’t Disappear

The redesign was a calculated maneuver, as Google crunched all the numbers to find out Collections and Communities were far and away the two most popular aspects of Google+. Making it easier for people to access those features was top priority, but that doesn’t mean they forgot about your business reviews.

“Reviews will no longer be shown on Google+ Pages in the new Google+ design,” said Elizabeth Powers, a Google community manager. “Reviews are still accessible on Google Search and Maps, which have always been the primary way that users find business reviews.”

Is Google throwing in the towel on its attempts to encourage small business owners to establish presences on Google+? It’s possible, but we won’t know until all of the new Google+ features are rolled out. We all know how Google loves to keep us on our toes.

The reality is that your reviews are still there, albeit in a different, more convenient spot. Directory listing information, as well as your ability to respond to reviews, is taken care of in Google My Business.

What Does This Mean for Local Pages?

According to active Google+ member Ben Fisher (via search marketing expert Linda Buquet), more changes are on the way. Fisher spoke with representatives of Google, and came away with some exciting points.

He was told, “Google has not rolled out all the functionality yet, we can expect quite a few features to make it back into the new design – especially for local pages.”

The shift in direction for Google+’s subsidies falls in line with the overarching theme Google is employing. Google wears many hats and is constantly working on new projects, which is part of the reason why they created the parent company Alphabet. It keeps departments separate and provides more organization for the entire company, much like Google+ is doing by delegating business reviews and Local Pages to Google My Business.

Reviews, categories, stars, photo uploads, and many other features are no longer part of Local Pages, but each aspect can still be utilized via Google Photos, Google My Business, etc.

The shakeup of Google+ might be unsettling at first, but nothing in terms of business tools has been permanently eliminated. Your reviews and information is still there, just not in the same place! Google+ is now more conducive to businesses that enjoy sharing content and engaging with their customers, while others would be wise to strengthen their presences on Google My Business is the strongest platform for standard info like address, phone number, and reviews.

What are your concerns with the new Google+? Do you have any questions that you’d like to see on our next Customer Question of the Month? Let us know in the comment section!

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