The Importance Of Google Plus Local Pages For Local Small Businesses

Google Plus Local Page Management

 

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Let’s start with some basics…

As a business owner, you understand how important it is to make sure your business can be found whenever someone is searching for a product or service. This usually means getting your ad in the local yellow pages, advertising on local television and radio, and putting ads in local publications like newspapers and magazines.

However, most business owners feel the Internet can't be very beneficial to them, because it's meant solely for worldwide searches. This just isn't true. The Internet can still be enormously beneficial even to very small local businesses.

The percentage of people who have Internet access is growing at an astonishing rate, and many of those people are using the Internet to research companies in their local area. If you don't have an Internet presence and your competitors do, you could be losing out on a lot of business!

How does Google Plus Local fit in? What is Google Plus Local? Why do you need to use it? Continue reading to find out more to get your business up and running on a service that is very important, and Free.

Google Plus Local? What Is It?

It is a free listing with Google for any business with a physical location. Your location and company name appears on Google Maps, and in the Plus Local section of a Google search. Users can also visit your Plus Local listing to view more information about your company.

It is designed to make physical shops and locations much simpler to find on the web, and any business with a physical location – such as a plumber, dentist, salon, real estate agent, coffee shop, lawyer, or even a website design company should have one.

Google Plus Local? Why Do I Need It?

Google Plus Local allows your business to be found quickly when a user searches for a business type, e.g., dentist, lawyer, etc. in a geographic location. There are already vast numbers of companies listed on Google Plus Local, and not including your business might put you at a big disadvantage. What is really cool is that Google has, in most cases, already created a Plus Local Page for your business… go take a look. If you find one for your business, and you probably will, you MUST CLAIM it. That is validate that you are the business owner, and enter all of the pertinent business information. When you do that, and the other things we recommend at the end of this article, you will move up in your Google Plus Local Pages listing when a search is done for your business type locally… which should bring you more business.

In some instances, businesses listed in Google Plus Local take up to 70% of the results space on the first page of a Google search, so it's worth getting your company listed simply for the impact it can have. Google Plus Local is a free service, so there's no reason not to be included.

All of the major search engines are now using some sort of local search technology to display information about companies that are based in one specific geographic location.

You may have heard it can take months for a website to make it to the top of the search engines. If you're in a highly-competitive niche, you may never be able to make it there. Fortunately, local search makes it easy to grab a top ranking in Google very quickly.

Local search results appear at the top of the results, before the standard results are shown. This means that they get a lot of attention, often more so than the actual search results.

If your business is not listed here, but your competitors are, you will be losing a lot of business. In some areas, thousands of people use Google and other search engines to find local businesses just like yours every single day!

It just makes sense to make use of this technology. It's free to submit your business, and it can make a big difference to your bottom line.

What Do I Have To Do… How Do I Go About It?

First, to use Google Plus Local you need a Google Account. You get one when signing up to the various Google services, such as Google Mail, Alerts, Docs, Groups, and so forth. If you don't have one, simply go to https://www.google.com/accounts/NewAccount and fill out the information.

Once you've done that, or if you already have a Google Account, go to the Google Plus Local homepage (http://plus.google.com/local/). If you're not already logged in, it'll now ask you to do so.

Once you log in, assuming you have no businesses already set up on your account (if you do, simply click Add Another Business), you'll be directed to a page asking you to add a phone number and location. This step checks whether the business you're adding is already present.

If your business already exists, you'll have the opportunity to edit the information. If not, you can now add it by filling in the form that comes up. Try to put in as much information as you can, so that the listing is as helpful as possible to potential customers.

For a pre-existing business, you may notice Google already has a Plus Local page for you. In this case, it is in your best interest to “claim” this page, as noted above, which can be accomplished through a relatively simple process through Google. In most cases, these unclaimed businesses won't have the entire profile built out. This is what you'll want to do when you gain access to your Place page. Filling in an entire profile for a business automatically gives it more weight (i.e. SEO). If the business is a brick and mortar shop, it is best to make sure the address and phone numbers are correct and listed. Adding photos of the business makes it more memorable for potential customers as well.

There are a few things you can do to enhance your local listings, but one of the most important is to have a website. When you have a website, your URL will be displayed in your listing, which will draw attention to the listing. This is very important, because it helps you stand out from the competition.

In most cases, you don't need a complex website. Unless you plan to sell products or services directly online, all you really need is a website listing somewhat like an ad in the Yellow Pages.

Your site should contain:

  • Your business location, including a map and directions
  • Information about your products and services
  • Telephone number
  • Hours of operation
  • Contact information

Most companies don't need much more than this on their website, but you can enhance your site's effectiveness by adding additional features. For example, if you add an opt-in box to your site, visitors can subscribe to your email list, allowing you to send them news about special offers, coupons, sales, and new product offerings. This will help remind your customers to shop with you, and you can offer incentives to keep them coming in.

It costs a lot more to acquire a new customer than it does to get repeat business from existing and former customers. By getting people on your mailing list, you can entice them to buy from you again and again. It just makes sense to do this, because you can turn one-time customers into lifelong buyers.

Why let people drop by your website once and leave, possibly forever, without getting them onto your mailing list? It's an efficient use of your web space to provide a way for customers to be notified about your latest offers.

Please contact me if you have any questions or if you need assistance.

Below is a simple checklist to guide you through setting up your business in Google Plus Local, as well as an additional eight steps to achieve higher rankings:

Part A: Get Your Small Business Listed In Google Plus Local

  • Create a Google Account and log in to Google Plus Local.
  • Complete your company details & information.
  • Be sure to be as complete as possible.
  • Use at least one keyword in your company description.
  • Use keywords as “Category” listings.
  • Remember you must use one of Google's suggested categories.
  • Add your listing and compare to any other possible matches.
  • Complete additional details for your business including: Service Areas and Locations; Hours of Operation; Payment Options; Photos, Videos and Additional Details.
  • See below for important information when adding photos and videos.
  • For the “Additional Details” section add things like “Specialty Items”, brands you carry and other information that is important to your customers.
  • Verify your account by phone. You can do it by mail, but why? Phone verification is easier and quicker.
  • Enter your PIN to complete verification.

Part B: Eight Additional Steps to Rank Even Higher In A Google Search

  • Put at least one keyword in your company description. You can put up to three but make sure it sounds natural.
  • Put your main keyword in your company name. This is an optional step and only do it if it makes sense.
  • Add at least 5 photos. You can use a picture of the front of your business, your logo, your staff, before and after pics, a display ad for a free gift, etc.
  • Remember the first picture you load will be the one also displayed at the top of your listing. So make it a good one!
  • Generate multiple reviews. The more reviews the better. Ask real customers to go to your Google Plus Local listing and submit their review. Have business cards made up with your Google Plus Local web page address and give them to customers as they leave. You can also email your customers requesting them to do a review.
  • Add a coupon. This can be of anything but you want to make it stand out and be of great value. A free appetizer, a free lawn mowing, a free hair cut, etc.
  • Add at least 1 video. Do NOT make this video about you. Instead make it about your customer and how you can solve their problem and why your better and different than all your competition.
  • Build backlinks to your Google Plus Local listing. Contact us if you have questions on how to build backlinks.

Submitting your business to the three biggest search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) is relatively simple, but it can be time consuming. There is a lot of information required, and it can be a little confusing if you've never done it before.

If you don't have time to go through this yourself, or you're uncomfortable doing so, I would be happy to help you get your small business listed soon.

Please contact me at your earliest convenience (Tom at: 810-537-2205) to discuss helping you set up your listing so it has the best chance of showing up on the first page of results, and to get your site listed as soon as possible. The sooner you get listed, the sooner your business will start getting more customers!