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?
Google+ is Google’s response to Facebook, and Google’s initiative to add a more social dimension to Google business listings and search results.
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.)
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.
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.
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+.
Google+ pages have a new “Local” tab to make it easier for potential customers to find businesses like yours from their Google+ accounts.
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 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 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.
As you can see from the pie chart on the left (click the chart for a larger view), you need to include at least 17 different elements for a complete local business directory listing.
Know the Top Local Search Ranking Factors Before You Start
While you can create and submit your local business listings yourself, this task is not as simple or straightforward as you might imagine. Before getting started, you should read and understand how to apply these local search ranking factors.
How Much Time Does It Take to Create and Submit an Effective Lead-Generating Local Business Listing?
An effective lead-generating local business listing starts with keyword research. You will want to spend some time researching which business categories are the best choices for your business. Here for example, is Google’s list of official business categories.
Whenever possible, you should list your business using at least one of the “official” business categories used by each directory. If your business does not fit neatly into any of the listed categories, choose the category that best fits your business.
Every directory has its own set of business categories. Unfortunately, there is no standard list of business categories that is used by every local business directory, so you must use your best judgment in each instance to decide where your business best fits within that directory.
Next, you will need to craft a concise, well-written business description that incorporates highly-searched keywords and keyword phrases. You can use Google’s Keyword Research Tool to research and identify keywords and keyword phrases that are most likely to generate search traffic for your website.
Your business description should include a call-to-action that will motivate online visitors to call or email you right away to get something valuable, such as a time-limited coupon or special offer.
Realistically, you should budget 10-20 hours to do the preliminary keyword research and then create and submit a properly constructed lead-generating local business listing to the top local business directories.
This Sounds Awfully Complicated: Is It Really Worthwhile?
Once your complete, well-crafted business information is listed everywhere it needs to be online, you can expect a high return on your investment. Local online business listings can get found by hundreds — even thousands — of people every month who are searching for businesses just like yours. When you make it easy for them to find and contact you online, you can expect to generate many more highly-targeted leads, with little or no additional effort.
I Don’t Want To Do This Myself: Can You Do It For Me?
If you do not want to take the time to learn how to create and submit effective local business listings yourself, Herbst Marketing can do it for you.
We can get your business listed everywhere it needs to be listed online. Pricing depends on the number of directories in which you are listed. We will need to talk with you first and get a better understanding of your business in order to identify the best business directory listings for you.
Like many small business owners, Kelly assumed that “if I build it, they will come.” She didn’t realize that Godaddy’s website-building tools were not enough to create a website that works. It takes specialized skills and know-how to build a website that works — experience that few small business owners possess, or have time to develop.
Kelly knew she had to do something different, because (more…)