For any business that has a local focus, no matter what niche it is in, taking advantage of Google + Local is, these days, a must. Why? Because an optimized and properly maintained Google + Local page can help you reach as much as 97% of the consumers who search for local businesses on the Internet. A Google + Local page also helps with general search visibility.
The big question, of course, for those perhaps less familiar with Google + Local, is just what makes for a properly optimized page? Here are a few tips:
One Hundred Percent Completion
This may sound like a very obvious advice but a stunning number of businesses do not complete more than 50% of the information that Google offers them the chance to, decreasing the effectiveness of their presence. Most often neglected are business hours, payment methods accepted and additional photographs of the business, all of which can significantly increase the chances that your page will show up prominently in a keyword search.
Make Sure You are in All Possible Categories
When you are offered the chance to categorize your business, try not to settle for just one. Take the time to explore what is available to you and just what you your business would fit into. For example, if you own a pizza restaurant, you can take advantage of ‘pizza restaurant, delivery restaurant, restaurant and fast food restaurant’.
Never, Ever, Fake Reviews
By now you have probably noticed the addition of the ‘local carousel’ at the top of a local Google search. The position a business occupies in this depends a great deal on the number of positive reviews it has, so it can be more tempting than ever to fake a few reviews, or ask your family and friends to add a few while you wait for customers to leave some.
This is something you must never, ever do. Google are coming down harder than ever on misleading reviews and those that are caught not only suffer in the local listings but their actual website is often penalized in the SERPs as well.
Add Your Own Google Local Map to Your Website
Google will auto generate a standard Google Map for your listing but for the best visibility, take advantage of the fact that you can add a specialized Google Local Map that features your logo and more specifics about your business to your website. To do that, go to Google Maps, search for your own address, click the link button and grab the embed code and then add it to your site, preferably on your Contact Us page.
Pay Attention to Your Listing
Once you have optimized your Google + local listing, don’t just forget about it. Businesses have the opportunity to add information, news and additional photos to their listing as well as the chance to respond to reviews. There are also analytics available that offer information about how and when your page is viewed, information that may prove very useful in general.
More Google+ and social media resources? Please visit our Marketing Resources page.