Local is Social
Google Places are out, and Google+ Local pages are in. Local Sacramento and Elk Grove businesses must learn to be social, or they will be left behind by Google. Google is making Google+ the main go-to hub for all our internet search needs.
What is Google+ Local?
Videos explaining Google+ Local which might help local Elk Grove business owners understand how the new Google+ Local pages work:
Google Places were pre-populated individual pages on the Google network, whereas Google+ Local pages are interactive parts of an entire social network of millions of indivual people and businesses, much like Facebook pages are a part of Facebook. Businesses and other places in your local area now show up in a nice layout that is easier on the eyes, instead of the old map layout with the red dots that showed the presence of “Place” pages. Google+ Local guides the user around the local area by showing them recommended places (great opportunity to get your business to show up here if you get good reviews), as well as places by top reviewers. Users can of course search for specific places or keywords, using the top search bar, and Google+ Local will return results.
Local Elk Grove and Sacramento businesses now need to “claim” and “optimize” their Google+ Local pages, their Google+ business pages,and personal profiles. Google+ Local pages can be updated and continually changed to communicate company news, unlike their Google Places predecessors.
Reviews are imported from a company’s Google Places page, if any existed. Users can reserve a table at a restaurant, for instance, and you can see if the business has connected with people, such as customers, in their “circles”, which is the equivalent of Facebook fans.
Google+ Local has its own scoring system for reviews, and has integrated Zagat’s (acquired by Google in September 2011) 30 point scoring system for more detailed insight into local restaurants, hotels, night lifge, films, golf, shopping, and a range of other categories, which is growing by leaps and bounds. Scores are displayed differently for different industries.
In times past, it was much easier for a local business to hire someone to “write good reviews” for them. Recent changes by Google and the introduction of Google+ Local has changed the playing field for honest local businesses, versus those who would “game” the system. It appears that the new system is much more difficult to fake (though certainly not impossible), but as a local business owner, you have to be in the game! You are still competing against others in the same “keyword space”.
Mobile Devices Rule the Local Space
Another very important item to keep in mind is how Google+ Local is displayed on mobile devices. Google has released a Google+ app for Android and if there isn’t one already, there will be one for iOS devices as well. These apps are very user-interactive. Furthermore, when someone “checks in” using a mobile device, and whenever they write a review, it appears that the whole process is made quite personal. Some personal information (such as their G+ “name” will (can) be shared amongst their “circle”, and they can decide ultimately who will see it. However, anyone can read these reviews without ever signing in to Google+, and that is all you need to know as a business owner. Fortunately, this new system is designed to keep a tighter lid on “anonymous” reviews that can really hurt a business’s reputation. Hence reputation management.
You Must Practice Reputation Management.
As a business owner, you need to claim and manage your Google+ Local page. You ignore this at your own peril. Elk Grove Business Net is here to help you do this, and to keep your good reputation, among other things. If you have a tarnished reputation that is obviously not your fault, we can help with that too. We DO NOT, for obvious reasons, help a business that deserves a bad reputation, however. (We have ways to pick and choose, and ability to pay IS NOT one of the criteria).
Google+ Local pages have integrated anylitics, which can be very useful in tracking your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Page impressions, clicks, and keywords searched are all things that are automatically tracked and reported to the business owner. There is also a mobile coupon system called “Offers”. Just think what you can do with that! You must manage it however, just like any other sort of advertising for your business.
Google wants local businesses to use Google+
Google wants you, the local business owner, to be social. To do this to the degree that Google wants, simply going with the flow and using the new Google+ Local as a set-and-forget tool (like you may have done with Google Places) will not be enough. Google wants you to use the Google+ features, or why else would they put all local businesses on Google+ in one sweep? They want you to share, recommend, interact, respond, post, optimise for social, add photos and videos, etc. The local businesses that do these sorts of things are the ones with personality. They care about pleasing the public, not just running a local business. Those are the types of businesses that customers like, and what does Google do best? They serve up search results that the searchers want and like the most. If someone in your area is searching for the keyword: “Italian restaurant”, Google wants to send them the details of the restaurant that has great reviews, responds to reviews, shares videos, interacts with the customers online, and has optimized their business page – because that business cares about what they do and about the customer. They will favor that business over all the other Italian restaurants that don’t do any of that, any day of the week!
The Google+ Local SEO Effect
Pages linked with Google+ in some way get higher search engine rankings. Google wants Google+ Local to succeed as a social media platform, and so they give their own product preference (surprise, surprise). While the subject of SEO can go quite deep, the important thing to note here is that participating in Google+ Local is critical to your local search engine ranking position (SERP). Google rewards the use of Google+ Local with better SERP rankings, period.
Contact us today for more information about how we can help your local Elk Grove and Sacramento business recover from