Google+ Local and Google+ Business has been a lumbering endeavor on the part of that search giant to catalogue and map all the businesses in the world. Or, at least, all those that are submitted in the correct litany of time-consuming steps that include a flurry of postcards that sometimes arrive, 5 digit pin numbers, and listings that require wedding together across old and new platforms.
Many business owners and SEOs have thrown up their hands (or monitors) when trying to streamline and hone a single, correct entity for their business on these platforms. As frustrating as it is, it is essential for businesses to maintain an accurate, merged, updated Google+ Business listing.
Why does a properly optimized Google+ matter?
According to Business Insider and TastyPlacement, having Google+ followers boosts Google search rankings, as do “+1’s”, although not as much.
Google+ Local pages rank independently of websites in map listings and SERPs that include map results. This is huge, especially for mobile search.
Google+ pages expand your brand authority and collect reviews, which in turn can lead to more prolific placement on Google Maps search results.
A properly optimized Google+ page looks like the following example, (you can check ours out here too).
Take a close look at the 5 key elements that we’ve circled:
1. Branding: You always want to use your logo as the profile picture for your Google+ Business page for easy recognition.
2. Consistent Business Name: This business name must exactly match the name of your business on your website and your other social assets – otherwise it will not strengthen your online business presence.
3. Followers: Promote your page! The more followers that you have, the more people will see your content on your posts page, and, as we’ve already discussed, there have been associations made between this number and SERP ranking (a word to the wise – false inflation of this number will certainly not benefit your online strategy in the long run).
4. Tagline and Introduction: Your tagline is what appears as the title of your Google+ page in search results, so it’s important to use the main keyword associated with your business so that your page can rank for local searches targeted at those keywords.
The Introduction appears as the description of your Google+ page in search results, so it is also important to implement your top key terms. Provide a brief informative description of the services you provide and a clear call-to-action. Also worth noting – links in this section are “do-follow” links, so if you want to highlight a specific page of your site that is relevant to the material (for example, a services page) this is a good place to do it.
5. Custom Google+ URL and Verified Website Link: It’s always a good practice to brand any business you have with your business name. This includes Google+, as well as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
The verified website link is essential as it links your Google+ page to your website – allowing the two to strengthen off the other.
6. Contact Info: This area is crucial to local optimization – as it grounds your business to a location that can be found through maps and solidifies your business NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) on Google. This is the most important address that appears for your business, and all other variations that appear online for your business should match this format exactly. Your business’s NAP is it’s unique identifier in the database of the internet – the same way a social security number is for any citizen. Just as changes in any of the digits of an SSN can lead to multiple mistaken identities, any changes in the format of your NAP can lead to multiple mistaken identities for your business.
Harnessing the power of local SEO can help businesses that are starting out and don’t yet have a wide online presence to rank in their local areas – and it is absolutely crucial for businesses that offer local services to strengthen their local presence. Following these guidelines can direct more traffic towards your site and harness Google’s ever-diversifying landscape to your benefit.