Google+ Local Before I share the Local+ tips I just wanted to take a moment to bid adieu to the old Google Places. Fond farewell, old friend!

The potential for Google+ Local is super exciting, but the re-branding (yet again) is a PIA! It’s going to be hard as heck to change the Places branding in my head, my vocab, all my training materials and all over my site. Heck the Google help docs still refer to Google Places everywhere so I guess I’m not the only one that needs to make some changes. 😉

The other Google Top Contributors and I will be having a live Q & A hangout session with Google – so I may have more info later. But wanted to share a few tips based on Q’s I’m getting or seeing in the forum or other blog posts.

But 1st, in case you’ve been traveling in Mars, and missed yesterday’s big news, here is my overview of the most important posts about the change. Google+ Local Launches – Google Places and Google+ Pages for Business Merge

BE SURE TO SEE VIDEO AT THE BOTTOM which is from a “Google Austin” live seminar yesterday, explaining all the changes. Some great tidbits!

RANKING

At this point based on my research ranking has not been affected. Right now it appears to just be a cosmetic (display change). So don’t freak out. Everyone I’ve checked ranks the same in Google+ Local as they did with the old Place pages. David Mihm and Mike Blumenthal agree. Here is a good post from David: Rankings on Google+ Local: Some Observations

CATEGORIES
I keep seeing people complain about the new Local+ pages only showing 2 categories. You CAN see all the categories. Searchers probably don’t care but guys like us for competitive research and just to check that our client listings are correct NEED to see them all. Just click on one of the 2 categories and you’ll get a pop out that shows them all. EXAMPLE HERE – Screenshot My new Local+ Page – Showing category popout.

OLD PLACE PAGES AND CIDs
Currently you get still get to the OLD Place pages, but that will only last for a few more days. After the rollout is complete, they’ll be gone. But clicking on the map is still the way to find the old CID# if you ever need it. If you are viewing a Local+ page right now and need to see the original Place page to see if it’s claimed or check something else = do the following – here’s an example from a post I made at Davids (at the link above.)

EXAMPLE: Click this link and go to this Local+ page.
On the Local page click map which takes you here:
https://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&cid=7941281900954732991

Reformat the link to:
https://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=7941281900954732991

THAT takes you to their OLD fashioned Place page where you can see it’s an unclaimed listing. Also clicking the Local+ page map is how you find the CID.

Q & A and Good FAQs
Vanessa is fielding questions and complaints in the Google and Your Business forum. So keep eye on that thread for lots of great tips and new updates.
Google+ Local: Learn more here

Tons of questions & complaints flowing in the Google+ Your Business stream as well. Vanessa is providing more answers there too.

Mike Blumenthal has a great post going: Google + Local: Q’s and some A’s

GOOGLE AUSTIN – Live Video Seminar About the Changes

Hat tip to Jay from Yodle who posted the link at Mike’s blog

And again in case you missed it. Yesterday I posted a round up of the most important posts and resources about Google+ Local. Google+ Local Launches – Google Places and Google+ Pages for Business Merge

Got any other tips or observations?

How about any questions you want to me to ask Google during our hangout tomorrow?

FYI – out most of day. Apologies if comments are not approved til I get back tonight.