Sometime last year, search engine giant Google announced a new online review and recommendation service called Google+ Local.
At first, it caused some confusion, because a lot of business owners were already managing listings on something called Google Places. Slowly but surely, though, Google Places listings became Google+ Local pages, and business owners realized they could continue to edit and monitor their pages and reviews via the Google Places for Business dashboard.
(Check out: “Google+ Local Tips and Tricks for Your Business”)
If you’re a business owner or marketer, you can add Google+ Local to your list of essential marketing tools. Not only is the site a directory-like place for collecting and aggregating online reviews; it’s also a platform for reaching out to your existing and potential customers.
Why should your business use Google+ Local?
It’s by Google, so there are inevitable SEO benefits. With all the recent updates, it’s obvious that the search engine giant is pushing Google+ Local as a place where consumers and local business owners can connect by way of search. This means that Google+ Local – by nature of the company that created it – is designed to provide powerful (and richer) local search engine results that can push your business, company, or organization to the top of the search rankings. Not only will these results display your business’ photos, address, contact information, rating scores, and recent online reviews; they can also show up in other search products like Google Maps, helping improve your SEO (search engine optimization) performance.
It’s local. Do you know that 43 percent of all search queries on Google carry local intent? This means that, apart from searching for the “what” information (keywords that include a business category or the name of your product or service or brand), Google-using consumers are also looking for geographical information – the “where” – which may be a physical address, city or state name, postal code, or a set of geographic coordinates. With Google+ Local – which, like the name suggests, is locally driven – you can sharpen your niche marketing efforts and more effectively reach a targeted audience: people, that is, who are nearby, and who are looking for where to go, eat, check in, and visit.
People don’t trust just one review site. Yelp is continuously gaining in popularity, but that’s not the only review site that consumers consult or businesses are listed on. As a biz owner, you’ll benefit greatly by also planting your flag on Google+ Local, where you can take control of, respond to, and engage with what customers are saying about you.
Of course, like with any online marketing platform, using Google+ Local requires a long-term investment in time and effort. To help you manage and track online reviews on Google+ Local, try ReviewTrackers, the leading online review monitoring and management tool for local businesses.