Local Business Found on Google!

Posted by Keith Jolie on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 Under: local business
As a business owner you want to be found on the web. More and more, the web means mobile and it means people finding businesses in their neighborhood, or the neighborhood they are visiting that meets their immediate needs (that means they want to buy!) 
If you have a local business (retail / business to consumer)  there have been quite a few changes that have rolled out from Google across many of their applications that you should be paying attention to.  I'm going to touch on a few of them here:

Google+ pages

Ok, this one isn't exactly new and you may be thinking what a lot of people are saying - nobody is using Google+...right? wrong.  While ongoing conversations and the type of interaction that happens on Facebook won't always be found on Google+ , becoming another Facebook was never Google's intention.  Google+ is really the social back end that powers more and more of what Google provides within search results. 
If you don't have a Google+ page for your business,  there are very good reasons for you to fix that immediately.

It's searchable!

Not only are the entries you post to Google+ searchable, they are also indexed almost immediately, which means that once you post something (as a public post), your customer could possibly find your post in their search results right away.  How is this different from other social media?  You will never find a facebook entry in a google search result even if it is to your business page because Facebook doesn't allow Google to index those posts.  The same is true of twitter.  

Local Search

If your business is location based (a restaurant, shop or dance studio for instance) and you rely somewhat on being found in a Google search for your business type, not having a Google+ local page drastically limits the visibility of your business outside of paid search results.  That is to say you are unlikely to show up in the top few search results when someone is looking for a local business in your area of expertise.
As I mentioned before, more of the searches used to find your business is made on a mobile device than ever before, and android phones are the vast majority of devices out there which means Google is baked right into the phone. Even on iPhone or iPad, Google search and Google maps are used by most people searching for...well anything.
Creating a Google+ local page for your business ensures that your business will appear in local search results.  Even on Bing Google+ profiles rank very high.

For example
if someone is searching for "nutritionist", the Google search result on a mobile device will look something like this:

You'll notice that sponsored ads are always displayed first, followed by the wikipedia entry for nutritionist and then a listing of local businesses and their mapped location.  These are businesses that have identified themselves as nutritionists in Google+ local.  If you don't have a google+ local page you probably won't appear in that space.

Google Maps

Google+ and Google+ local is fully integrated into Google maps which means that if you have your business in Google+ local and a Google+ page , you'll be providing the most up to date information about your business to anyone searching your area.  The key to this is keeping your information up to date and ensuring that your profile is complete.

Some of the information you can provide to potential customers includes:
  • Hours of operation - this updates based on the day of the search so when you include your operation hours for Monday through Sunday when someone searches on Wednesday and they look at your listing Google will tell them if you are currently open!
  • Methods of Payment - do you accept cash/credit/cheques? you can identify that in your profile so your customers can be prepared.
  • Reviews - encouraging your current customers to review your business will help you to show up more prominently in search and with positive reviews come more customers!  This also is a great opportunity for you to address any concerns that are cited by former customers as well.
Free (sort of) SEO

What I haven't said, but what should be apparent to you by now is that if you've considered spending money on SEO - do this first.  Recognize of course that there is a certain amount of work involved in setting yourself up on Google+ and local, but if you know you're way around a computer and websites, this can be done for free by you or you can work with a company like Getting Brighter to help you out.  Either way, it's one of the best ways to make it easier for customers to find you.

by Keith Jolie

In : local business 

Tags: "business development" google+ google "local search" seo "google maps" 
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