Formerly known as Google Places, Google+ Local is just as important to your business rankings as ever, if not even more so now than before. Google+ Local is the place where people come to find local businesses, review them, rank them and share information about them. Essentially, it’s the modern day yellow pages mixed up with a town square and gossip referral service and if you’re not on it, you might as well be invisible.
Of course, even when you’re on Google+ Local, it can almost seem like you’re invisible if you’re not doing the right things. Here are a few tips that will help you improve your Google+ Local rankings so that your business can get more visibility and potentially more profits.
Simple Ways to Improve your Google+ Local Rankings
Before you do anything else, read the Google Places Quality Guidelines. You have to know what Google wants and expects when it comes to these listings. Not following the guidelines will get your listing suspended, deleted, penalized, etc. I’ve seen businesses innocently violating the guidelines and as a result have their listing with 10+ reviews deleted, and there is nothing they can do to get it back.
The first thing that you want to do is make sure that your Google+ Local listing is claimed and completely filled out. Include every last bit of information that you can, especially your full contact information, and a good description that softly sells your services and helps you stand out from the crowd. It is recommended to not mention your business name, and main keywords in the description as you have already added them to your listing (in the business name field and the category field). By not mentioning these in the description, you make sure you trip any spam filters that Google has, which can really hurt your rankings.
The more fields you leave blank, the less you are able to tell Google what it is that you do and as a result, the worse your rankings will end up being. Upload pictures of your business and even some of your products. If you have any videos, upload those too.
Assuming you have been ‘merged’ and are utilizing the new Google Dashboard, then your listing can have a cover photo (making sure it is the proper dimensions to display – 2120 X 1192) and a profile image (250 X 250 dimensions) that represent your business in a professional manner. Remember, these are the images that customers and potential leads are going to see, so make sure they reflect you and your business in the light you wish to be portrayed.
When you have the information filled out, be sure to fill the description field with some keywords that your site is optimized for. This will help link the two together in the indexing, further raising both rankings. When you have this completed, verify your listing with Google (you have to click to verify it and then choose the method you wish to use for verification).
Advanced Tips for Improving Your Google+ Local Rankings
Of course, those are just the basics. There are many other things that you can do to further improve upon your current rankings in Google+ Local, such as:
- Be certain that your phone numbers on every single one of your listings are in the following format: (555) 555-1234. This goes not only for Google+ Local, but everywhere that your number appears online. This will help search engines make the connection between the sites better, thus further legitimizing your standings and increasing your search rank positioning.
- Leverage local information and place them inside of your actual website along with links. This includes local landmarks, street names, nearby restaurants, etc. Anything that is geo-centric will help Google pinpoint your business and recommend it to people in the nearby vicinity as they perform local or mobile searches.
The Importance of Reviews on Google+ Local
One of the most important aspects of improving your Google+ Local click through rates involves getting customer and client reviews onto your listing. Not only can the number of reviews impact your rankings within the Google + Local results, but reviews are really what can help you stand out from the competition. Remember, getting reviews is extremely important, and potential customers are using Google + Local and other websites to research your company. If you don’t have reviews, it can actually hurt your business.
To get your customers to leave reviews, go to https://plus.google.com/local and type your business’s name, city and state into the search bar. Copy the link to your listing and use it as an anchor text in your emails, online correspondences and even in your website. Simply ask your customers and clients to click on the link and then click on Write a Review. You can also have buttons on your website that link to your Google+ Local page, directly to the review portion.
These are just a few of the things that you need to do to have a successful Google + Local listing. There are so many things that many people don’t know about that can effect your Google + Local ranking result, that it can be overwhelming. If you want this taken off your plate, and work with a professional that has ranked dozens of small businesses on page 1 for their Google + Local listings, then let’s talk, I may be able to do the same for you. This will allow you to focus on what you do best—running your business.