…If you have a “Local Business or Place”.
If you’re a local business, you want to be found and do business within a 3 to 5 mile (4 to 8 km) radius of your street address.
43% of Google search queries are local. 74% of these local searches are conducted on mobile devices. (reviewtrackers.com )
What is a Google+ Local Page
Your Google+ Local Page is the merger of your Google Places listing ( now called Google+ Local) and your Google+ Business Page.
It extends your Places information to include directions, reviews, photos, videos and other Google+ Page features.
Ten months ago, Google dumped Places and replaced it with Google+ Local.
All of the data was migrated to the new Google+ Local which appears on your Google+ page.
Your Places listing will still show up in Google searches, but without merging it with your Google+ Page, you’re missing out on pumped up SEO and customer engagement.
You’re using a horse to pull your Rolls-Royce.
Why Should You Merge?
Google+ Local was designed to be integrated with Google+ Pages so not having them merged means you’re missing out on:
1. Improved search results. Google+ Locale sites are grouped at top of SERP’s
2. Expanded visuals with Posts, About, Photos and Videos tabs added
3. Direct interaction with customers by sharing links, posts and videos
4. Word of mouth recommendations with Zagat Reviews. Using a 30 point scale, Zagat provides a more nuanced rating system that considers four categories i.e. food, decor, service and cost in it’s overall average.
5. Freeing your time by assigning multiple managers to your Google+ Local Page who can manage your Business Location data from there.
6. Being able to have multiple Pages for multiple branches or departments (Hospital, department store). (Some provisions exist like having separate phone numbers etc.. See: Google+ Local Quality Guideline Update Allows for Multiple Departments )
7. “Friend” recommendations showing up in searches.
Any searches made in Google Search, on Google+ Local, or in Google Maps will feature results from that user’s Google+ Circle connections.
Google+ Local Search Favours Friends.
Example: When I search for Cafés in Montreal while logged into my Google account, sites that contain reviews from my friends (circles) will appear higher in the rankings than others.
So Why Ain’t You Merging?
I spent the better part of a day researching the local scene. I wasn’t able to find a single local business that has merged it’s Places listing with a Google+ Business Page.
Three posible reasons for that:
1. They haven’t registered their Google Local Listing yet.
2. Google+ is off their radar and they haven’t created a Google+ account
3. They tried, but didn’t fall into the right business category.
As for the 3rd, you can only merge your listing with your Google+ Page if your category is “Local Business or Place”.
If you’re a ‘product or brand’, ‘company, institution or organization’ ; ‘arts, entertainment, or sports’; or ‘other’, your listing will still appear on a Google+ page but won’t be verified, meaning you won’t have the the social networking enhancements.
Note: Your business classification relates to how you set up your Google+ Business Page and not to your Google+ Local Listing set up.
Your To-Do List.
1. Claim your Google Places listing now.
2. Create, verify and optimize your Google+ Business Page.
If you already have a Google Places listing, you also have a Google+ Local page.
– fill in all relevant information such as Name, address, Phone number, hours – Add links to other places on the web where you can be found.
– Add photos and videos
– grow your circles (easier now that you can circle anyone)
– Share content
3. Monitor and encourage reviews.
72% of consumers surveyed said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 52% said that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business.
How many local businesses have made the “merge” in your area?
If you’d like to learn more about Google plus, subscribe to my Weekly Google+ Tips Newsletter. This also gets you an invitation to my Wednesday G+ Lunch Hangout.