Category : Google +

Google +

Why you MUST get your business on Google+

Google Google Places Example

This guest post by Shaun Graham will show you why you can no longer afford to ignore the recent changes in Google+ and Google Pages.

Ok so many of you may read this article and say “we know this already!”, if you do then I apologise for going over old ground, but this article is aimed at business owners who are still wondering whether they need to invest the time and/or money into getting a business presence on Google+. If you were to rewind to the beginning of the year then any business even remotely interested in gaining local customers had to have a Google Places page, it was essential for ranking in the maps listings. Fast-forward to the end of May and Google decided to merge Places with their social network Google+. This was primarily because a lot of businesses had both a Places page and a Google+ business page, which made little sense; it is also a way to push more people into signing up for and using the Google+ social network.

The image below shows on old Google Places page for a London restaurant, the image directly below that shows the new and updated Google+ Local page for another restaurant in London.
Google Google Places Example

Immediately you can see that you are on Google+ with this page, looking down the left hand side you can see the new Google Local tab. The profile itself is much sleeker and more visually appealing to the user. What Google is trying to do is make local search much more of a social interaction between the business and the customer, it is clearly their way of trying to push more people into using Google+ on a regular basis.
Google Plus Example

So What Has Changed?

Well, if you already had a Google Places listing then all of your data (reviews, photos, video etc.) should have been automatically moved over to the new platform and you can still, at time of writing, access your listing from the Google Places dashboard. The review system has been changed, out goes the old “5 star” review system to be replaced with the new Zagat 30 point rating system (you can see this in action on the screenshot above).

What this is also going to mean, going forward, is that the Google Search Results will end up becoming much more personalised and interactive. Take a look at the screenshot below, particularly at the listing with the crudely drawn red box around it. First off you can clearly see the Zagat review scores are now visible in the SERPS but look underneath the Zagat score, it says “Max Tatton-Brown rated it excellent”. This is displayed because one I am logged into my Google+ account and two Max Tatton-Brown is in one of my Google+ Circles, this should give you an idea of how personalised a lot of local search is going to become in the future. Obviously the more reviews you get the more chance you get of someone from their Circles seeing a review snippet in their search results.

SERPS Results

The biggest change, certainly from an SEO viewpoint, is that Google+ Local pages are going to be indexed by Google. This is a huge opportunity to increase your business’ visibility in Google’s search results. Business owners need get to work, or hire someone to start, optimising their Google+ pages for rankings. Google+ Local pages will appear in traditional Web searches, Google Maps searches and Local searches from within Google+ as well as on mobile devices so this is not something you want to miss out on.

So, Where To Start?

Hopefully the information above will have convinced you that Google+ is worth your time, if so, here is a few quick pointers on what you need to do to get things moving:

  • Claim Your Listing. If you haven’t already claimed your listing then you need to do that now, if you don’t have a listing to claim (make sure you have searched thoroughly because you do not want duplicate listings) then you need to create one by going to Google+ Business.
  • Complete The Listing. Take your time over this, don’t just rush through and fill in only the fields it says are required, fill in everything.  This means plenty of photographs and video content to strengthen your brand on the page.
  • If possible use a contact phone number with a local area code, as opposed to a mobile number or an 0800 number.
  • Reviews, reviews, reviews. This is the hard bit, if you want your Google+ Local page to out-perform the competition then you are going to have to get a lot of reviews from customers, make it a priority to ask for reviews once you have delivered your service. Do not attempt to game the system and leave a load of fake reviews or pay for fake reviews, it will only come back to bite you in the end.
  • Use the Google+ platform and interact with people and other businesses, leave reviews for your suppliers.

####### Author Byline ###############

This fantastic guest post is by Shaun Graham – the owner of The Accountant Marketer, a marketing company specialising is SEO for Accountants. You can follow him on Twitter at @accmarketer


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Google + seo Social Media Targeting

What benefits will your small business get out of local SEO?

Love Local Listings

Love Local Listings

Keeping things local – is it of any use? Let’s think about it. We all love local things, whether it’s local to the UK or local to your geographical area. In fact, local emphasis is so big that many big brands are the first to shout about their ‘locally sourced ingredients’ or their ‘local services’. So, why the big fuss over local? My guess would be that it’s because of the real sense of community that comes with supporting your local area. Helping the local ‘little man’ feels much better than helping your global corporate giant.

Ok, so what does this have to do with SEO?

Well, there are a lot of ways businesses can promote themselves to their local community in the digital realm. You have the obvious local listings available through Yahoo, Bing, and the relatively new Google+ Local, which has replaced Google places, and has really made local listings a great interactive hub.

Then there are other local listings on mobile apps such as Foursquare, which compare local services and show all the current offers and deals available from each. All in all, there’s no shortage of local advertising possibilities, and the great news is most of them are free. However, do they really bring about any benefit? Let’s have a look…

Spreading your net

What is your mission when doing online marketing? Unless you’ve lost the plot completely, you’ll be aiming to get your business name out there; showing up in cyberspace as and when you can. If you want to put your business in front of a relevant audience, then you should really be utilising services like Google+ Local. Just type in ‘restaurants in Bristol’ into Google to see for yourself what lovely results a Google+ local listing can get you.

Getting the seal of approval

Not only will you get a bit of extra SERP’s ammo with Google+ local, but you can really use the online local / social landscape to build your brand and your reputation. Sites such as Facebook and Google+ are great hubs of information for their users. People can go on to your listing and post comments, photos, and leave reviews about their experience with your business.

Now, if there’s one thing we all love, it is the organic opinion of others. Why? Because it speaks more truth than an advert saying ‘the best Italian restaurant in town’ ever will. If 20 people all give your business the thumbs up then you’ll be viewed as a business to trust, which in turn, will increase the likelihood of others using your business.

Mobile madness

Mobile phones are really shaping the future of marketing. The era of the smartphone has provided us with convenience like never before. Anything you need to know is now either resting in the palm of your hand or in your pocket. The database of ‘on-demand’ knowledge emanating from your pocket encyclopaedia allows you to find out exactly what is around you right now, no matter where you are (signal / 3G permitting).

Let’s take Foursquare as an example. All I have to do is open the app and within seconds I can find out what restaurants or shops are around me and what deals they are offering. Perfect — that’s my lunch sorted.

The simplicity of finding businesses on your mobile is why almost everybody does it. If your business isn’t listed on Google Maps, Foursquare, or other ‘convenience’ apps, then you’re missing out on a massive market of people who access the info they’re looking for on the move. Plus, these are the people who want instant gratification, so their search is highly likely to turn them into a paying customer.

Love local

Whatever your marketing aspirations may be, you’d really be a fool to not embrace the local landscape. It’s easy to get set up on Google+, Facebook, Foursquare, and other sites where you can have a local listing. Even if it did take some effort, it would be worth it for the local market you’d be targeting. People on your doorstep are much more likely to convert than people on the other side of the country.

Final verdict – Love local and it will love you!

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Google + seo

How Google+ Local can boost your business online

Zagat Review

Type a phrase in to Google such as ‘bike shop in Bristol’ and you may notice a few changes in the SERP’s. Welcome to the world of Google+ Local, a beautifully simple way of sharing and discovering information about your local area.

As part of Google’s march to get the planet on board with its social media platform, they have completely revamped the way you can find and interact with local businesses online, replacing Google Places completely.

What if I’m already listed with Google Places?

Well, there’s some good news for you. All existing listings have been migrated across to the new format automatically. All the information you had previously entered about your business, as well as all the existing reviews you worked so hard for have been transferred to Google+ Local. However, some things have changed slightly.

A fresh approach to customer reviews

One of the shiny new features of Google’s switch to Google+ Local is the revolutionised review system. Zagat’s rating system has taken over the old 5 star rating system. Unlike the old system, local businesses are now reviewed on a 30 point scale, with 0 points representing a poor business and 30 points representing a business of perfection.

How does Zagat’s review system compare to the old system?

The new look review system has been met with mixed emotions from the business world. Some business owners feel that the removal of the star system has directly affected their business generation. One business owner in the Google forums writes, “Ever since they removed the star ratings, my actions or clicks went from 30 – 60 or more a day to 0 – 5”. This indicates that the general public haven’t fully digested the new format yet.

However, Zagat has a wide ranging review system which is much more detailed than its 5-star predecessor. For example, if you reviewed a restaurant with the 5-star system you could only rate it on the overall experience. So if you had fantastic food but felt it was overpriced, you may have given the restaurant a 4-star rating. With the new system, you can rate factors individually on a 3-point scale. So you could rate the food as 3 but also rate the cost as 1. Over time, this new system will give much more detailed information to customers, helping them decide whether to use a business or service.

Google+ Local can help your online marketing and SEO

Apart from the initial adjustment to the review system that may hinder CTR’s until people familiarise themselves with it, there are a few distinct advantages of Google’s new revelation. Local pages have followed links and the integration with Google+ means your business can be passed around social circles online.

There’s also great potential for using Google’s social media platform to interact with your customers and build your brand. You and your customers can freely upload photos and videos relating to your business, and friends can view each other’s experiences when performing a search relating to your business.

The overall verdict

It’s still early days and wherever you find change, you find people on both sides of the fence. I’m going to place myself on the positive side of that fence. Google+ Local combines Google Places and Maps effectively to give much more to both businesses and customers, and if you’re already listed, then you don’t have to do anything. Plus, Google have stated that they have further plans for helping businesses with the social features of Google+ Local, which is nothing but a good thing for any online marketing campaign.


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