Google Local continues to remain a hot topic in search news as it was last reported by Local Consumer Review Survey that a staggering 85% of consumers use the Internet to find local businesses. But I'm sure most of you already knew that by now. What you may not have known is that there are over 40 million users actively using Google+, which means the audience, is there - you just need to reel those customers in!
Here are a few simple steps to optimizing your listing and why it matters to potential clients:
1. Upload A Cover Photo
What's more dazzling than a pretty picture? The latest cover photo version is a responsive design that automatically resizes itself to fit browsers and various devices of whoever's visiting the page. However keep in mind, the bigger the better - it will naturally scale to the right size but if you choose an image too small in the first place, expect a distorted banner to appear.
2. Pick A Profile Picture
Google recently changed this image to a circular-shaped icon, which was somewhat troubling (and not to mention annoying) for companies with square logos. Make sure to pick an image that fits best and looks appropriate - remember first impressions could mean everything.
3. Contact Info Should Be Accurate
Give the users what they need and make sure it's right. This should include the obvious Business Name, Phone Number, Company Summary, Website and Hours of Operation. Write a little blurb about your company and briefly capture what it is that you do. You'd hate to lose a potential client by having them call the wrong number or be misled by showing up to your business when you're closed - yikes!
4. Add Relevant Images
Recent studies have shown that there may be a relationship between the number of images on a Google+ listing and its ranking. For your listing to be considered "fully optimized" you must have at least 5 or more photos. Plus, Google+ users love seeing images and the right ones definitely won't work against you. Perhaps you're a law firm and you'd like to show your team of lawyers or you own an auto detailing company and want people to recognize the quality of work that you do. It validates you and after all, a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words or even better - visits.
5. Throw Up A Few Videos
If you've got some great videos to share, be sure to include them as well. YouTube and Google recently joined forces so videos that you may have already uploaded on your YouTube channel associated with your business can now be pushed onto your Google+ page as well! Videos are engaging and an awesome way to share more about your business or brand with your audience.
6. Paying It Forward With Good Reviews
Google definitely values third-party reviews because of their non-biased nature and honours them by displaying them on your Google+ Local listing. The more you have great reviews (4-5 star ratings), the higher you're likely to rank in the local-pack search results. Encourage your clients to leave you reviews and avoid hiring someone to write fakes - Google's smart enough to pick up on this and the last thing you'll want is a slap on the wrist.
7. Don't Forget To Update!
Last but certainly not least, content is king in Google's world so keep it coming! We all know how much Google values fresh content and the more frequently you're able to update your listing, the better. Try to freshen your page up at least every 2 weeks or make sure that your company's social media platforms such as the Blog, Facebook, Twitter accounts, etc. are linked to your Google+ Business Page so that populates your page for you.
One of the most unique aspects about Google+ is that it ties in various communities together, versus other social platforms that stand alone. Although many have been slower to embrace this social media platform, it comes in as an extremely handy asset when you're looking to expand brand awareness.