Even though Google+ is the second largest social network (still way behind Facebook), that’s not the main reason your business should be active on the platform. Users spend less than 7 minutes per month on the social network.
So why even get active on Google+ if millions of people sign up for it but never actually use it?
Because Google+ has actually replaced what most people think of as Google Maps or Google Local or Google Place Pages… and anyone trying to drive local traffic, both to their website and their actual brick and mortar locations, needs to have a Google+ Place Page.
When you are active on Google+, your Google+ Place Pages gets better organic rankings in Google. In fact, for many searches that Google deems “local searches,” businesses with Place Pages get listed at the top of the page – above the normal organic results.
For example, look at what we get when we search Google for “phoenix accountant”:
The usage of the term “Phoenix” implies we are searching for a local result, so Google displays accordingly.
You see that area highlighted in the red rectangle on the left? What do you see below almost every single company name? “Google+ page,” right? Those are the Place Pages.
Now up in the right, you see the map? That actually comes with you as you scroll down the page. Remember how the maps used to appear just to the right of the search result? Not anymore. Clearly Google wants you to click on a map!
When users click the map on the upper right before visiting a website they are provided with the opportunity to read and write reviews, see images and videos about the location and get the phone number or driving instructions – all without ever having to visit the actual business website.
How You Can Increase Your Local Organic Visibility
Like it or not, this is what Google is serving up for local organic searches right now.
So how do you get your map listed at the top of the local organic searches?
Unfortunately, that Google Places listing in the left red rectangle is a whole different thing than your Google+ Local Business Page (which is where all your social features can be found) – very confusing!
How can you sort out this mess and optimize both for the best search rankings and traffic?
Here are some things you can do:
- Fill out your Google+ Place Page completely. This is the information that shows up on a Google Map. Make sure to pay extra special attention for the categories in which you list your business. The name, address, and phone number must match the info on your website.
- Get links and citations. What are citations? Generally they are mentions of your business name, address, and phone number – hosted on a 3rd party site (sometimes with a link back to your map or site). This builds your domain’s authority, boosts your map visibility and pushes your site and map up the SERPs.
- Encourage people to give you online reviews on your Google Place Page. Google knows searchers look at the these reviews and use them to determine the value of a service, product, etc. Generally more reviews show popularity for the place and therefore add value to the listing – especially when the reviews are highly rated.
- Fill out your Google+ Local Business Page. When Google moved Maps to Google + Local Pages at lot of companies lost their maps. Even though it’s been quite some time, many local companies haven’t claimed their new page and filled out the information correctly. If you’re not sure how to do it, here’s a guide.
- Keep your Google+ Business Page updated with posts. This page has all your social features. Share articles, images and connect with others so that your platform is always up to date when people visit. No one wants to follow an inactive account! And when people do visit, they’ll be more likely to add you to their circles, +1 and share your content, which helps boost your rankings.
Confused? You’re not alone. Having separate accounts for Google+ Places and your Local Business page was intended to make things easier, but instead many are still lost and frustrated with the transition.
It’s actually a time-consuming process just to set it up properly, and if you want to boost your rankings too that actually requires a large amount of on-going work… so remember you can always hire Eminent SEO to help. We can sort out the mess and get you up and running in no time.