Not everyone yet appreciates the significance of Google+, probably because so far it hasn't gained the traction that Facebook and Twitter have as general social media sites. Like Facebook, Google supports both personal and business pages. While many businesses now have a Facebook page, not so many are bothering with a Google+ Business Page. It's just one more thing you have to manage, right? A year ago, this might have been OK, but today you might want to think again.
Google is the powerhouse of search, and is putting increasing emphasis on the
social aspects of searching. In other words, what people say is becoming one of the many components of the way they rank websites. Unsurprisingly, they're pushing their own product to do this. As a small business owner, one of the ways you can get this working for you is with a Google+ Local page.
If you're confused about what Google+ Local is, you're not alone. If you already have a Google Places listing, Google+ Local is the new incarnation of that, and Google are rolling it out across the globe right now. If you don't know about Google Places, it is the way to get your business onto Google Maps and it is becoming increasingly relevant in search results. The easiest way to understand the various product names is just to think that Google Maps= Google Places= Google+ Local. To avoid confusion, we'll refer to it as Google+ Local.
What many people don't realise is that Google can automatically generate a basic Google+ Google generated Google+ pageBusiness listing. It's not hard for them to find the information if you already have a web presence, such as a website or directory listings. Google-generated Business listings are easy to spot.
If you think a basic listing is good enough, think again. The only way you're likely to stand out is if someone searches for your exact company name. Most people only do this if they already know you and just want your contact details - you've probably already got their business anyway. What you need is a Business Page with all your Local information and the right keywords.
A Google+ Local page, properly set up for the keywords that people use to search for businesses like yours, will very likely get you a well-placed pin on the map.
What's more, it is a way for small and medium size business to get into the first page of Google's general results. Why? Because Google is putting increasing emphasis on displaying local listings They assume that when people search for a business, they generally want one based locally. Unless you're technically savvy, Google knows your location, and can usually deliver local results. A well set up (optimised) Google + Local listing could:
Put your business ahead of much larger companies based further away from your geographical location.
Put your business ahead of other local businesses.
So, if you aren't making the move to maximise your visibility for local searches, you could be missing out!
Another piece of the Google + Local puzzle begins where we left off last time - online reviews.
Use your listing to get reviews, and your business has a better chance of getting into the general search listings.
That's because of the increasing emphasis on social aspects of searching - remember that from earlier in the article? Now that's worth thinking about, isn't it? To complete the puzzle you need to have the following in place:
Good search engine ranking counts for nothing if your website doesn't convert visitors into customers. Think about a TV, radio or newspaper advertisement that leads you into a shop. If the shop doesn't have what they're advertising, or you can't find it, how do you feel? Annoyed? Cheated? So why is a website any different? Even if it's not an e-commerce, site, it's the entry to your store via the web. Take a closer look at your website. Does it fulfil the following criteria?
If you can answer 'yes' to all of these, that's fantastic. With good content and an optimised Google +Local page, you're doing all the right things. The important thing for you now is to focus on getting those reviews to increase your chance of getting into the main search listings.