The last few weeks of Local SEO have been manic as Google strives to integrate Google+ Local into everyday searches. The introduction of Google+ Local and changes associated with it are important for businesses to note as consumers are increasingly researching for products and services online.
What are the changes?
Google+ Local & Google+ Business to become one
Currently, a business can have both a Business page and Local page on Google+. Currently, your Google+ Local page features things you’d commonly see on a Places page. Your Google+ Business page allows you to post comments and updates. Soon, all these functions will merge into one page, as outlined by this business which is trailing the new model (see the image below too!) It is unknown when a complete rollout will occur or when it will hit Australian shores.
Google+ Local Pages are indexed
Perhaps the biggest change is the opportunity to index and rank for your Google+ page. It’s unclear how Google is going to go about indexing businesses that have multiple locations. What we do know is that there is a big opportunity to rule the first page of search.
Removal of star ratings
As mentioned in our article last Thursday, Google replaced the 5-star rating from regular business listings and are instead using the Zagat rating graphic. Zagat gives your business a great chance to get positive reviews featured online, something we will go into more detail about below.
Less organic space
Google’s monopoly of search has allowed them to show increasingly less organic space and focus more on local search results and ads. With Google+ Local now up and running, you can be sure that local search will see a big jump. Rank well in +Local and you’ll see the benefits in search results.
What can you do to get the jump on future Google+ Local updates
In the coming weeks we expect Google to be making quite significant changes en route to creating a Google+ which satisfies the needs of local businesses and searchers. For businesses looking to better ride the waves of these new changes, these are the ways dominate your vertical:
Get active on Google+
As you’ve probably picked up, it is of great worth to your business to become active and learn how to best utilise Google+ and its functions (Local, Business etc). It is quite obvious that the major search engine will continue to push and favour their own social medium which is why Australian businesses need to get involved now to stay ahead.
Get your customers to leave reviews
Wouldn’t it be great to receive your customer’s opinion on your business and level of service? Wouldn’t it be great to increase your rankings and improve your traffic and sales? This action extends far beyond your local rankings. While reviews on your Google+ Local page will help your rankings, reviews enlist the power of marketing’s most powerful tool – word of mouth. Encourage your customers to leave reviews and Zagat ratings as they will become increasingly more important as Google+ grows and the opinions of friends, connections and industry leaders hold more weight.
Ensure consistency across your entire online presence
Something we harp on about at roi.com.au is the consistency of your information across the web. Ensure your business name, address, phone number etc. are uniform across all pages, listings, directories and social networks like Google+. If you’ve moved address recently or come across an incorrect listing ensure these get changed ASAP.
Want to beat the rush and get your business active on Google+? Contact us now
These changes are blurring the lines between social, local and search, and for Australian businesses the benefits are great. If you require assistance on how to best implement Google+ into your online campaign, contact the team at roi.com.au today.
We’ll be able to provide you with information and support on how to grow your online presence through Google+ Local.