In June 2012, Google finally announced and implemented its highly anticipated switch from Google Pages to Google+ Local and the implications for what this means for your business has dire consequences. It is vital that you understand the changes and begin to take advantage of Google + Local to boost your business before your competition does so. Fortunately, we have lined up a few innovative strategies for you in this article.
Google Pages to Google+ Local
Chances are if you’re reading this, you already have a Google Page for your business (if you don’t, you really need to go set one up right now). What this switch has done is basically place a “Local” tab on the left hand side of user’s browsers which allows them to click and instantly see any restaurants and businesses in their immediate area. Further, these pages are ranked in order of review scores with a special weight given to a user’s friends and family’s ratings.
Now, with just one listing, your business will be found across Google searches, maps, mobile apps and Google+. Plus, your customers can now review your establishment and recommend it much easier.
And this is such a vital switch because studies show that on average, 50% of all searches for businesses and restaurants are coming from mobile phones. That means that you could potentially be missing out on half of your customers if you aren’t taking advantage of Google+ Local. And with the mobile trend only continuing towards more and more people having iPhones, tablets and androids, the percentages of mobile app searches are only going to rise in the next few years.
But perhaps the biggest feature here is that these Google+ Local pages are being indexed. This means users will be able to find them on regular Google searches as well, so your chances of being found greatly increase…if you are getting customer ratings that is.
So What Should You Do?
Get a Google Business Page if you don’t already have one or, more importantly, claim the Google+ Local page ALREADY ready and waiting for you! Then, take advantage of the new page building features that Google is allowing with Local.
- Post more pictures
- Manage your profile with the new streamlined look and keep it lively
- Host “hangouts” at your restaurant to boost attendance
- Host more updates for increased interaction to stay fresh in customer’s minds
- MOST IMPORTANTLY: GET REVIEWS
Why Getting Reviews is Essential
This last point is so vital because your business will now be found by digital word of mouth. The more people are talking good about you, the better off your business will be. Seems simple right? But the implications are much greater: because of the indexing, your ratings will be out there for all to see for all time with the click of a button.
But beware, Google wants the reviews to be genuine. You’ll want customers to enter their reviews from home (or different internet addresses – not just your business location). Reviews also require a Google+ account.
Don’t dismiss the Google+Local pages as another “waste of time” online marketing charade. Google is continuing to take steps to place greater and greater emphasis on these pages in their search results. Be sure to claim or develop your page before your competitors do to get a leg up on this important local online marketing tool.