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If you own a local business and you’ve been wondering how you can use the search engines and social media to attract more customers to your business, then I highly recommend Google Places. It just got a whole lot better.

More and more, Google has been embracing social media. And Google Places is becoming a nice blend of social media with search engine optimization benefits.

The Lat Long blog outlines some of the recent changes that Google Places adapted to make it better. I must say, the changes are a welcoming upgrade. Here are some of those changes and how they can benefit you.

  • Google Places is now more personalized. You can upload your photo and all of your reviews will appear in one location for easy referencing.
  • You can make friends on Google Places – not a bad idea. Your friends don’t have to be local. If you travel a lot, you might have friends all over the planet. Each friend is a connection to more local places in every area of the world where you have friends. You can share each others reviews through any Web interface including your mobile phone.
  • It is now a lot easier to rate and review local businesses of any type.
  • You can search for specific types of business in any location and review the ones you want.
  • The new Google Places web design is a 100% improvement.

The best way to use Google Places is to be a reviewer. If you are a business owner, don’t just sit back and wait for reviews. Be proactive. Review other businesses and you will develop new contacts in your local area. Those contacts will see that you own a business and are more likely to visit your business if they like and trust your reviews.

Business reviews just became a lot more social and those social benefits carry more search engine optimization benefits. Thank you Google Places.

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