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Last week Google launched Google+ Local, which is the new face of your local business listing in the Google search results. You may or may not know that your business has a Google Places page that is listed anytime sometime searched for your product or service. The business that takes some time to fill out all the profile information and do a little optimization will then show up in search results of the potential customer. It’s almost like a pre-built page on Google. Cool huh?
With the new integration of your page into Google+ there are some huge implications for the savvy business owner. Not only will you be easier to find, but it’s easier to gain those reviews and social proof that business owners so desperately need and work for.
Here are five reasons why you NEED to have an active business page on Google+ (Plus)
1. Better search results
Everyone knows Google as a search engine to find things. Well that has not changed. We are finally seeing an effort by Google to help out the business owner when a local search is being performed. Straight from the mouth of Google’s Matt Cutts,“97% of consumers search for local businesses online.”
So what better way to be found in Google’s search results then to use their pre-built business page for you? None! See the screen capture below in my search for a “Mexican food restaurant near Fort Worth” to see what I mean:
As you can see the business owner that takes the time to use what Google has already built has a LARGE advantage in local search results.
2. Get Reviews and Social Proof
Google + was built with business in mind. While most people think the new social network was built to compete with FaceBook for your social activity, there is a much more profitable goal in mind. By having a ready-made engine to share activity, you can obtain that much needed positive (or negative) feedback while people are already surfing.
Think of it this way. Is it easier to convince or bribe a customer after the fact to log back into someplace like yelp, or let them review your place naturally when they are already thinking about you? The second choice of course.
3. Built In Tools
At latest survey 59% of the world’s smart phones run on Android…that is run by Google. According to a February survey 60% of consumers use Gmail as their primary form of email. Needless to say Google has a large grip in online activity and tools to help you with every area online. This is no exception in G+. Along with Zagat reviews built into search results they are also using their Google Wallet, Picasa and Picnik photos, YouTube Videos and G+ posting platform to enrich your business listing.
This means it will be much easier to show off the strong points of your business right in the ad itself in an extremely attractive way. That’s just a win!
4. Specific Ads for local search
While Google has been a player in ads for local business in the past, it has been a bit scattered and worked well for only certain types of business. With the new integration it will be much easier to target local searchers without being completely obtrusive and unwanted. WSJ.com reports Google plans to have the project launch as early as July, citing “a person familiar with the matter.” At one point, they say, the service was called Business Builder and it will combine several internal and recently acquired products and services under one umbrella to draw small business users in – possibly including Google Offers, Google Wallet, Punchd, TalkBin, and AdWords Express. This is just more proof that Google is in it to win it locally.
5. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile!
As I mentioned before Android owns a large portion of the smartphone market. This number is growing exponentially, not decreasing. So it’s pretty simple: Google has the largest search engine, with the largest smartphone market share, with the best groundwork laid. And in case you were not aware mobile phone activity is projected my most to switch market share with desktop top activity. See this infographic from www.propelics.com
Bottom line the way people interact with businesses is changing. FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are so far behind the local game, that even if they did throw their hat in the arena, they would have miles to go to even get even with Google.
So what now?
Over the next few months, there will be more information announced as Google begins to integrate the new Google+ Local pages into their suite or products and G+ social network. We will stay on top of the news and what’s working best. Subscribe to updates from our blog or email us for more information how we can create or maintain a G+ profile for your business.
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