They say the only thing you can count on is change. This is definitely true of Google. One of their recent changes replaced Google Places pages with Google+ Local pages. This is an important change for local businesses. Don’t worry, if you already had your Google Places page set up, that information has been transferred to your Google+ Local page. However, Google+ Local offers more features than you experienced with Google Places. The biggest change? Because Local is part of the Google+ social network, Local pages are built to be much more social. So, if you are to take full advantage of Local, you’ll have to become engaged in Google+. Companies who are active in Google+ will most likely enjoy more positive local rankings than those who don’t. That’s because Local brings in reviews from users of Google+ as well as Zagat ratings for restaurant businesses. Getting good reviews requires building a trustworthy online relationship with potential customers along with providing a great experience when users visit your business.
Aside from expanded reputation-building capabilities, Google+ Local will provide another very important difference from Google Places: Google+ Local pages are indexed by the Google search engine. That means optimizing your Google+ Local page is critical. Here are some tips for doing just that.
If you haven’t already joined Google+ and created a page for your business, do it now. Google+ Local is connected to Google+. You’ll only get the social authority benefits of Local if you engage with users on Google+. As with Facebook and Twitter, you can utilize Google+ for building relationships with your target audience. Once you have gained their trust, they will share your information with their friends. This could result in more foot traffic for your business as well as many positive reviews.
In addition to linking to Google+ on your website, you should also link to your Google+ Local page. This will help you drive traffic to your Local page as well as your Google+ business page. Linking to your Google+ Local page will also benefit your efforts for local SEO.
The content of your Google+ Local page should be optimized with the same techniques as your Google Places page was. That includes the following:
You should be sure to complete as many of the information fields as you can. In fact, it’s best for local SEO if you complete them all.
Google+ Local is just the latest of Google’s changes. Some may call it an improvement; but business owners who aren’t a fan of social engagement may not. Either way, you’ll need to engage in Google+ if you want to strengthen your local SEO. If you don’t, you can be sure your competition will.