Google+ for Small Business

How To Improve The Visibility Of Your Google+ Local Profile

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Google+ for Small Business

 

If you operate a local business, it is absolutely essential to have a Google+ Local listing (formerly Google Places).  People are turning to Google to find local establishments.  If your business isn’t among one of the first that is found on the page, it can result in missed business opportunities.  Searchers typically only pay attention to the search results that are found above the fold, and for local search Google displays Google+ Local listings first.  Even if your site has been optimized for local search and you’ve built some great links, organic listings are typically found below the Google+ Local listings.  It’s obviously still important to achieve a high organic ranking for your website, but it’s also necessary to do as much as you can to get your Google+ Local profile to rank prominently.

Here are some steps to improve the visibility of your Google+ Local profile:

1.  Claim the listing

Even though a Google+ Local listing is free and can improve your search visibility by leaps and bounds, many businesses don’t take the time to claim their listing.  It’s important to claim the listing so that Google knows that the information is accurate and being provided legitimately.  Once the listing is claimed it will need to be verified either by phone or through the mail with a verification code.  The verification process can take up to 2-3 weeks.

2.  Fill out every part of the profile

Preference is given to the Google+ Local profiles that include the most information.  Fill in every field and provide as much information as possible, just as you would with your website.  Google+ Local profiles are integrated into Google+, where the visual component of a page is important.  Be sure to add photos of your business to make the page stand out.  Select the most relevant categories for the page to be listed in and make sure that the information provided on a Google+ Local page is consistent with the information provided across your other online channels.

3.  Optimize the listing

It’s important to think about SEO when creating any content on the web, not just on your website.  Include keywords and keyword phrases in the business description naturally.

4.  Get reviews

Reviews are a huge component of the Google+ Local listings.  People often look to reviews of local businesses before making a decision to visit.  The more reviews that the listing has, the more useful it will be to someone that is looking for information.  Encourage happy customers or clients to leave a review and be sure to respond to all reviews.  Thank people for a positive review and apologize and offer to make good on a situation if you encounter a negative review.  All reviews need to be legitimate.  Paying for good reviews is a practice that will come back to haunt you.

5.  Improve your website’s trust factor

Google+ Local profiles should include a link back to the business website.  Google+ Local listings that are associated with high quality sites that are trusted will be favored.  Utilize SEO, social media, and content marketing to improve the trust factor of your website.

6.  Submit information to other local listing sites

This is another way to confirm the accuracy of your listing.  If Google sees the same business information (name, address, phone number) together consistently across the web it helps to validate it.

Image: Small Business by Shutterstock

About the Author

Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of http://www.Brick Marketing.com/. With over 12 years of experience, Nick has worked with hundreds of companies small, large and every size in between. Through his vast and diverse SEO, search engine marketing, and internet marketing experience, Nick has successfully increased the 
online visibility and sales of clients in all industries. He spends his time working with clients, writing in his blog, publishing the Brick Marketing SEO newsletter (read by over 130,000 opt-in subscribers!) and also finds time to write about SEO in some of the top other online publications,

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  1. Yeah when the google post card finally arrives! Mine took two requests, which isn't bad considering some stories online. A small problem that I have encountered, when you submit you business to local directories etc, it can alter the way your brand is perceived online by google. By this I mean that, for example, when you search for a brand, usually the G+ profile would appear on the RHS of the listing. However, after adding to a lot of local directories, my listing now no longer appears on the RHS when searching for brand alone, it only appears if search for with Brand + City. I think it may be how the Directoris (Yell etc), display your listings via Title tags and others, always using Business Name + Location, in titles and often text links. And as they have such good domain authority, it is going to be very hard to change!