This week the Google+ Local pages took one giant leap for local businesses. A new “Edit business information” button allows users to add more than five Categories, although custom categories are not an option at this time. Hours of operation for your business can also be added as well as a short description for your business.
An important consideration is that your edits won’t show up on Google unless you verify that you are the owner. This means you must show your physical address and that is not an option for home based businesses working out of your residential real estate. However if your business is of brick & mortar located in a commercial or industrial real estate, you can verify the ownership and take advantage of the new features.
One amazing difference with these Google+ Local pages compared to the old Google Places pages is that when you make an edit, they are updated with 60 minutes instead of a week or two. The changes also affect the local search results with hours.
No longer is your business description limited to 200 characters, which is a nice change from the Google Places dashboard. The Google+ Local pages not only allow for multiple paragraphs, but they also allow for bold, italic, bullet points and more.
While you can’t cast a Service Area with the new pages, the pros certainly seem to outweigh the cons. The new Google+ Local pages are more than one small step in the right direction.