Move over Google Places, Google + Local is taking over as the main local search engine that incorporates a more interactive approach between businesses and its customers. Just recently Google has automatically shifted all Google Places listings to the new Google + Local page for all businesses. With this new and better approach to local advertising, many business owners will have a chance to market their brand more effectively through an improved customer-interaction experience and through a more social media driven approach. Google + Local allows customers to engage with others who have previously reviewed the business and also enables them to communicate with the business owners. A few of the main differences between the old Google Places page and Google + Local is the dynamic layout, functionality and the improved features provided. Businesses should definitely take full advantage of the features offered in the Google + Local page especially with the following SEO opportunities that can be applied to your own business listing.
Opportunity 1: More Content
Before Google + Local was introduced, it seemed like Google Places was slowly beginning to lose its value and power as the most prominent local search and business review site. This is largely due to the many limitations set by Google Places. For example, businesses setting up their local listing on Google Places were limited in how much information they could add to their listing; particularly in the description area. However, with Google + Local, businesses are allowed to add way more keyword-rich content in the ‘About ‘section of their listing without the 200 character limit set by the old Google Places page. In this ‘About’ section, businesses will have the opportunity to add more content that may focus on the history of the business, a biography of each staff member, key products carried, and services offered. Not only will this added content be informative and useful for potential customers, but it also allows for many search engine optimization opportunities. In essence, your local listing will get indexed by Google if you actively manage your listing and respond to reviews.
Opportunity 2: Dynamic Social Environment
Furthermore, with the social circles embedded in Google + Local, many users with Google + accounts will be able to share their reviews and suggestions with family and friends in a dynamic social environment. Another new feature introduced to Google’s local listing is the Zagat rating score, which can potentially encourage more prospects to leave reviews and share their own experiences. Incorporating Zagat into Google + Local can have more of an influence and impact on customers who want to know how a business is rated by specific categories such as food, service, and décor. In addition, businesses will have much more freedom in customizing their page. One of the many features they can customize is the “Post” tab which allows businesses to publicly post new product launches, special offers, and any other interesting news about their business. These posts can then be re-shared and liked by others.
Opportunity 3: Photo & Video Sharing
Engaging customers through photos and videos can also be a very influential marketing strategy, which is why Google + Local has integrated a photo and video tab into its page. Companies will now be allowed to add more images and even videos to visually attract more customers. Once these images and videos are posted, you will then have the option to add a caption, which gives you the opportunity to add keywords and tags. This will help with the indexing and ranking of your page.
For businesses that haven’t yet been swayed into social media marketing or just don’t see the value, Google + Local is the perfect way to see how social media can impact your business. So take advantage of all these SEO opportunities from Google + Local and see the success it can bring to your own business.