With the social network media buzzing about Google+ and Google+ Local, I decided it was time to delve into this new and constantly evolving scene and find out what it means to Internet marketing. Google+ Local has replaced Google Places and in the process added some features that will impact the way your business is found locally and what they see when they do find you.
This new feature in Google+ is a more personalised way to search for businesses than the traditional web search. When you log in to your Google+ and go to the new local tab you are taken to your local home page. Here, you can put in your location when you search and also choose whether or not you want to see results based on reviews and people in your circles.
The results are where you see the new and improved Google+ Local. All of the basic business information is displayed along with a new Zagat score and reviews from locals, people in your circle and people like you, based on your profile. You will also see pictures more prominently and a Google Map with the listings.
So, now, you simply have to put Google+ Local to work for you and your business. First, you have to understand that Google+ Local is indexed pages and this will be the basis of your online marketing strategy using these pages. As indexed pages, query results will be both stand alone pages and pinned results that are controlled by Google.
Whilst this does mean that Google will have editorial discretion on the content of pages, and they will display competitors’ ads on the bottom of the pages, it also means that as the business owner, you have a role in controlling your content, and need to employ SEO tactics. You should constantly monitor your listing on Google+ Local and use this in other online marketing strategies.
My first suggestion is to create local ads for Google+ Local to showcase your business. These are called express ads and will bring more traffic to your website .Much of that traffic is going to be local traffic that converts to revenue.
There is more to Google+ Local and Express that adds more value to your ads. Express ads not only show up when your business type is queried, they can also appear in the “Sponsored Links” section of Google and Google Maps search results.
If this sounds alien and you, like me at times, need a visual, imagine that you are searching for accommodations for your next holiday. Your query in Google+ Local will return results that are not only relevant to my search but will include reviews from people in my Circles if there are any and any results that are based on their input.
As a business owner, what you have to understand is that Google+ Local will impact your business regardless of whether or not you get involved in marketing with Google Express. All it takes is someone on Google+ to post a review or comment about your business and that will travel from Circle to Circle and ultimately across the Internet when your business is queried.
My suggestion to you is to take time to walk around the Google+ landscape and see what it is for yourself. If you choose not to get involved, you will only have yourself to blame.
If you have used Google+ Local in your marketing campaign, I’d love to hear from you. Use our comments section to share your success or lack thereof with others, and we can all learn how to improve our online marketing.
The Internet Marketing Academy
(Image by Bruce Clay Inc)