Google and the Brady Bunch:
Sha Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na, It’s Time to Change

Before we get started, go ahead and watch this little gem to get yourself in the mood for some change:

Just when you think you’ve got Google figured out, it’s going to change. Beyond the algorithm changes, Google is also constantly changing, updating and “improving” products. Okay, sometimes they are actually improvements that don’t warrant my sarcastic quotes, but sometimes they’re not. Killing Google Reader. for example. NOT an improvement.

Anyway, we’ve had some killer success with Google+ Local, lately. Check out how this client’s impressions spiked after they started seeking new reviews. Better scores mean better user experience, and therefore Google is more likely to display these results.

We can’t ignore the progress we saw after simply correcting the listing to have accurate information. Once it was clear to users that this was a complete profile with the information they were looking for, they started taking more action.

Google LocalWe were feeling good about this because we’d spent a very, very long time dealing with the Google+ Local and Google+ Pages merger, then trying to verify the listing, then making sure the verified listing was showing up in results. Then we got the news. Google+ Local is changing its landscape yet again! This time it’s promising to be better; it won’t purge our authentic reviews, it won’t make our listings disappear, it won’t even be buggy, they say.

I’m a Google lover. I want to believe these claims, I really do. But I’ve been burned before. I’m trying to have faith the Google Local team learned its lesson last summer after the complicated local/business merger. I am hoping that this is the reason why they first made the announcement in June 2012, but this is the first I’m hearing of it. I’m nodding along as Google Local Product Manager Brian Fitzpatrick says that “the reason for its long delay was our commitment to make the product bug free the first time and not have to push weekly updates and bug fixes. We think we have met that milestone. The days of lost reviews, lost listings and unfounded closings are behind us.” Really, I am.

The reason I’m so committed to believing is that this new solution sounds, in a word, awesome. The “Business Builder” plans to have a better integration of local and social search, couponing features and Adwords integration that everyone from the national chain stores to the mom-and-pop-just-got-a-website types can use. Google is also promising public monthly briefings to keep us informed. That’s a huge step up from the time I spent in the dark, wondering, last summer.

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