Google+ Local FAQs: Local SEO Tips for Northern Virginia Businesses

Google Places and Google+ Local map marker symbol

Google+ Local SEO News

Google’s release of Google+ Local on Wednesday, May 30, has raised many questions about what the change means for Northern Virginia business owners, and what – if anything – they need to be doing now to respond to Google’s local search update.

Here are answers to a few frequently-asked Google+ questions:

What Does the New Google+ Release Mean for My Business?

Google+ Local will allow you to manage your Google local business listing in a more meaningful way, according to Google.

Does This Mean More Work For Me?

Herbst Marketing clients can rest assured that we will be taking care of your Google Places pages and Google+ listings. If you are managing your Google web presence yourself, then you will need to manage your Google+ Local page through your Google Places account and login. If you have not done so already, you should create a Google+ Business page as soon as possible, because Google says it will be releasing a way to connect the Google+ Local listing with your Google Places listing soon.

What Will Happen to Reviews on my Google Places Page?

Any existing reviews on your Google Places page will be migrated over to your Google+ Loacl page. The reviews will no longer be identified by reviewer name, but will simply be attributed to “A Google User” until the owners of the reviews verify their old reviews. Google says it will be asking Google account holders (those with gmail accounts who have submitted reviews) to verify their old reviews.

Will I Lose the Photos That Were On My Google Places Page?

Any photos you had on your Google Places page will also be published on your Google+ Local page.

Does This Change How Potential Customers Find Me in Google?

Your potential customers will be able to search for your business as usual, and their experience will remain consistent whether they are searching in Google or on Google+, Google Maps, or through mobile apps.

What Else Do I Need to Know About Google+ Local?

  1. Google+ is Google’s response to Facebook, and Google’s initiative to add a more social dimension to Google business listings and search results.
  2. Your Google+ Local page will feature photos, a Review Button, and allow you to add people to various “circles” according to your relationship with them (Friends, Family, Acquaintances, Clients, etc.)
  3. Business owners who believe in promoting their business through social media are advised to let their social contacts know they are now on Google+ and invite family, friends, clients, and acquaintances to follow you on your Google+ Page.
  4. Google+ Local increases the “weight” of social recommendations in local search results. When potential customers search for local businesses while they are logged into a gmail account or other Google account, the search results they see will show local businesses that have been recommended by that potential customer’s friends and other members of their social network.
  5. Since Google local search results will be more heavily influenced by reviews and social recommendations, it is recommended that business owners develop and implement a system designed to encourage customers to review them on Google+.
  6. Google+ pages have a new “Local” tab to make it easier for potential customers to find businesses like yours from their Google+ accounts.

Want to Know More?

This article from Search Engine Land provides more information of interest to local business owners.

Need Help?

You can find out where your business is currently listed online (and get valuable information on where you should be listed online) by visiting GetListed.org and typing in your business name and zip code.

For affordable assistance in increasing your company’s web presence and improving your local search results, call Herbst Marketing today: (540) 937-7234.

Local SEO and Google+ Local: What Small Business Owners Need to Do Now

Google Places and Google+ Local map marker symbol

Google+ Local SEO News

Local search and Local SEO experts are buzzing about Google’s May 30 action in the local search arena and what it means for small business owners.

If you don’t know what happened (and most small business owners probably don’t know, and don’t understand the implications for their business) — Google replaced 80 million Google Places pages with Google+ Local pages in one fell swoop on Wednesday, May 30.

I realized something significant had happened when I started to send a client the link to my Google Places page to make it easy for them to write and submit a review about my Facebook and social media marketing consultation service.

To my dismay, I discovered that the red Write a Review button on my Google Places page had disappeared — which meant there was no longer any way that they could submit a review about my business through my Google Places page.

Fortunately, I had already set up a Google+ account and was able, with a few minutes research, to locate the link for my new Google+ Local page where the client could review my services now.

Why Google Reviews Matter to Local Businesses

Herbst Marketing Northern VA website design on Google+ Local

Herbst Marketing Google+ Local page

Local business reviews can make a big impact in local search results. Businesses with lots of positive online reviews from happy customers have more social credibility, and tend to rank higher in local search results, than businesses with no online reviews.

What Local Business Owners Need to Do Now

Google Local Search expert David Mihm recommends that local businesses take the following steps immediately in response to Google’s latest changes:

  1. Claim both your Google Places and your Google+ pages. (Don’t know how to do this? Ask me for help!)
  2. Get your Google+ page linked from your website, as well as your business name, address and phone number
  3. Get a small amount of Google+ activity going immediately.
  4. Message all existing customers witn an @gmail.com address that your business is now on Google+ and you would appreciate it if they would follow you on Google+ as well.

Links for Further Reading

For more information, please check the following authoritative articles about the Google Places / Google+ Local merge.

Local Search Just Got More Social — Google Places Pages Moved to Google+

Rankings on Google+ Local: Some Observations

Google Places Pages Are No More — But What Has Changed?

Google Video

Google also has published a series of videos about Google+ Local. Here is one: