With more than 350 million users, Google+ has a major influence on digital marketing and social branding. As customers continue to search online for products and services within their geographical areas, Google returns what we refer to as “blended” results. Blended results include both website and local information —mostly stemming from Google+ Local pages. So what does this mean for your business? It means that in addition to optimizing your website, if you don’t have a Google+ Local Page for your company— claim one and ensure it has all up-to-date information!
Why Google+ Local?
Google+ Local kills two birds with one stone by combining social elements such as posting, “liking,” sharing and commenting with local optimization. Claiming your business’s G+ page will allow you to extend your messaging to new and existing customers while interacting with them too. The more you are able to connect with potential customers, the more opportunity there is to boost leads.
Creating content on a regular basis that is engaging and encourages “+1’s” will not only help “spread the word” within the Google+ community, but also send a social signal to search engines that your business is active on this platform. Participating on social platforms, no matter which you choose, has influence on overall website rankings as it demonstrates that you’re an active and viable business.
Google+ Local gives you the opportunity to optimize your business page through categories, location, and description. It also acts as a citation which is defined as a listing of your business name, address and phone number. Citations can include:
Social profile pages
A listing on a “Chamber of Commerce” page
Business association directories
Online yellow pages
Citations also include those web pages without links to your website. Moz Local states that citations are a key component of the ranking algorithms in Google and Bing. In theory, with all things equal, businesses with a greater number of citations will tend to rank higher than businesses with fewer citations. The key here is obtaining quality citations!
Managing your Google Reviews is another great benefit to your Google+ Local page. It offers an excellent way to interact with your current customers and can potentially persuade those who are searching to convert into actual customers. Adding a “widget” to your website that encourages reviews on all of the top third party sites that you actively manage is good practice for reputation management, customer service and SEO.
Local optimization should not be overlooked within your online marketing strategy even if you sell to customers on a national or international level. A Google+ Local page can benefit your business in many different ways including SEO, customer service, reputation management and more! To better understand how your website is performing, and to identify areas of opportunity to increase traffic, take advantage of our complimentary website audit extended to MHEDA 2014 Conference attendees!