Since the 2011 global roll out of Google+ Local Pages (for business), they are quickly becoming invaluable to businesses for search engine rankings and social engagement.
Google+ Local pages can give excellent exposure to people in your local area who are searching Google for your type of goods or services. This additional exposure can result in more traffic and potentially more leads and customers.
Now with 925,000 new users every day, Google+ Local is growing from strength to strength and should be given serious consideration by businesses as a real and efficient way to increase online exposure.What is Google+ Local?
Google is currently undertaking an upgrade of their current Google Places to Google+ Local Pages at no cost to local businesses. The new Google+ Local pages are often displayed in a stack in Google Search results and are attached to the businesses website and location on Google Maps. In the snapshot below of page one search results for "cosmetic dentist Tauranga" you can see some of the results grouped together high up in rankings. This is the type of exposure you can get with Google+ Local pages. Note the link through to the Google+ Local Page under some of the results.
The Merger of Google Places and Google+ Local Pages
Google+ Local and Google Places for Business are similar platforms launched by Google over the last few years with the goal of helping customers find local businesses. Google+ Local is the latest version of Google Places for Business. Google Places worked by automatically creating a listing for most businesses, which a business could then go and “claim” by filling in information like a description, images, hours of operation, and contact information. Below is an example of a Google Places page:
Google are now working to upgrade all Google Places listings to Google+ Local Pages. Where Google Places was static, Google+ Local is dynamic and social. Below is an example of a Google+ Local Page:
Optimisation of Google+ Local Pages
Google is the largest Search engine in the world, and the new Google+ Local Pages platform is being built to integrate with most of their online offerings, from YouTube to maps, search, analytics and more. Noting the resource that Google is investing into the development and refinement of the Google+ platform it is easy to see that it is becoming a significant online platform of the future.
When optimising Google+ Local Pages, it is important to work to Google’s guidelines. Google has a strict review process in place to control fake or "spammy" pages and ensure every page meets their quality standards. What can be difficult is that many of these guidelines are not regularly published by Google which requires ongoing research and testing to keep up with changes.
Google wants business and personal users actively engaging in their network and often reward users for doing so with priority exposure. The more quality information you share, and the more active you are, the more likely your content is to be indexed by google. Examples of what can be added regularly to your Google+ Local Page are reviews, deals, videos, photos and news. Often an added benefit is that the more content shared that is of quality and is relevant to your users, the more engagement and conversion your business will have.
An optimised Google+ Local page, built with Google's quality guidelines can benefit an entire online marketing strategy. It can help a business outrank competitors in local search, build the business’ brand authority (through +1's and user reviews), drive more traffic to the business website and convert more visitors into clients. Google wants you engage in their network, and they may reward you with increased exposure for doing so.
If you want to know more about how you can get your business’ Google+ Local page optimised then please give one of our friendly team a call.