We’ve come to know how important claiming a Google+ Local listing can be for businesses that are trying to reach the right audience. Experts say Google produces about 80% of local leads in America, and even more in Europe. Google even claims that 97% of consumers search for local businesses online.
In other words, if you haven’t claimed your listing by now, what gives?
In the past, the Google Places user interface was said to be a little wonky, and it usually took a while to update information. Now, with the new look and feel (which basically resembles the rest of the Google+ avenues) modifications will be faster and update across all Google platforms, including Google Maps.
All the navigation tabs have been moved to the left of the screen, and AdWords Express is now found in the same place.
(Don’t let the moniker confuse you: Google+ Local is what Google Places used to be)
It’s simple to cash in on this killer search feature, and it won’t cost a dime. Here’s a crash course in case you’ve yet to claim it.
Make Your Account
Go create a Google ID on the New Account page, and feed it all the info it asks for. Verify it with your email, and then you can get started with the Google+ Local process.
Punch in your business phone number to start the search, and that should be enough for the Google robots to track you down. Don’t fret if your information is wrong. That’s the point here; you’ll be updating everything to make sure it’s all correct.
Claim your business listing by clicking “Edit,” or create a new one if you can’t find it.
Here’s where you will specify location, contact info, hours of operation, and share a brief description of what it is your business does.
(Please note this is a fake business created solely for the screen shots, I am not opening a Falafel Emporium in downtown Austin)
Now that you’re going strong with the right information in the right place, here’s some tips to optimize the overall effect Google+ Local can have.
Google+ Local Tips
- Make sure your authoritative and official website is included in the general information, so as to keep Google happy and improve search results.
- Add images and videos to set your listing apart from the rest of the field.
- If you’re a business owner without a physical location (like, say, a carpenter), you can now incorporate the same results that an online Google+ Local listing can offer.
- Respond and engage with customers using the Google+ Local account, and make it feel as though there’s a person behind the information.
- Put some thought into the categories section your business will be listed under. Be specific, and in turn be noticed.
- Encourage people to write reviews on your Google+ Local page, which is as easy as clicking “Write a Review” directly from the listing.
- Don’t forget about the Google+ Local app for the iPhone and iPod touch; it will let you manage things on the go.
- Stay within the Google quality guidelines and content policy.
This is one of the best ways to virtually guarantee a page one appearance on Google searches, something that businesses sometimes just can’t seem to do. It’s basically been moved into the category of “required” for local businesses, and Google+ Local pages are going to be much more visible in search results than Google Places were before them.
Though it seems like Google sometimes force-feeds us things, this is one of those meals you can swallow easily. The social media/business directory hybrid that’s being created is a revolutionary new way to find, please, and keep customers.
Google has pushed all their chips to the center with Google+ Local, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t call them.