By this point, you should know that having a business page on Facebook and Twitter is essential to your marketing strategy. Since each platform grants a user with the experience of leaving a review from mobile applications, each platform proves its SEO worth any time a search is performed. Whether the search is done through a desktop or mobile device, reviews are the grease that keep the cogs from grinding (a drop in search ranking). Additionally, reviews are just another SEO element that businesses should be striving to attain. So it’s important to maintain high-quality products and services to boost yourself into those upper-echelon rankings.
HOWEVER, no matter how many times any one person hears the importance of a Google Plus Page, there is the following hesitation:
“I don’t want to manage another business page. Besides, the Facebook reviews are enough for my customers to know whether my products and services are worth the visit.”
This sentiment may be very true for you and your brand, but I wouldn’t just stop at Facebook and Yelp! reviews! Positioning yourself at every turn (especially when it comes to Search results in Google and Maps) increases the probability that a user will click your site over the competitor’s that hasn’t shown any activity in the Reviews department (and Google Plus). In other words people will search the web for a business before they search Facebook for a business, not the other way around. Again, your business’ participation on Google Plus is a critical component to SEO and discovery. <–Tweet this!
The following helpful hints and tips are meant to inspire you to build your Google Plus Page today and start the process to gaining traffic to your website.
Do I register a Google+ Local or Google Places Page?
In the past, starting a Google Places account was the method of choice to to be listed on the SERP inside of Google. If you weren’t listed, you were missing valuable opportunities to have your users discover:
a.) Directions to your business.
b.) Read and write reviews for your business.
c.) Locate your business via Google Maps.
Now that Google Plus has matured, we are now seeing businesses migrate their Places page into their official Google Plus Business/Local Page via the “Manage This Page” button (listed near the bottom).
Prior to unification, I might have recommended a business start by going to the Google Places page, but now you can kill two birds with one stone by starting your business page and Local page in one shot. It’s an all-in-one experience that makes for a seamless process to get your page off the ground.
Once you have set up your Local page and verified the business, you will start to see your business listed inside of Google Maps and on the SERP when you search your website. This is key for the mobile user as statistics report 56% of American adults own some form of mobile device. We’ll see 33% of smartphone users sharing their location through a “check-in” service like Yelp!, Facebook, and Google+. (source: Digby.com) And you’ll be happy to know that by the end of 2013, there will be more smartphones on the planet Earth than actual users.
Optimize your Google+ Page For Search Relevance Through Mobile Technology
As smartphone technology continues to mature, users will start to see services like Google Now and Siri provide the most-relevant search result at the most appropriate time. For now, Google seems to have the upper hand in terms of search results for mobile with far more accurate results–although I do like Siri’s sassy answers. (Find Google Now for iPhone here)
As you can see in the screenshot above, Google Now has chosen to list the appropriate score of the Notre Dame/Michigan game followed by a listing for a concert that is happening in about a week. Both cards are listed because:
a.) I have set my Google Now to provide game scores for Notre Dame, Arizona State University, and the Arizona Cardinals. The application cards will update upon my return with relevant results ranging from movie listings to news articles that might interest me.
b.) Google tracks any type of search if have done in the past. Since I searched “Desert Uprising” about two weeks ago, Google Now is pulling data from my profile to provide me an opportunity to purchase tickets through this ticket reseller. Additionally, the results for news are based on search queries I have made through Google. That data that is being pulled from your Google profile is meant to be of service to you when you need it the most.
If a business has set up their Google Local page through Google+, therein lies the potential for a smartphone user to have a card show up with directions to your place of business. Furthermore, Google Now will give the user options to:
a.) Call the business
b.) Get directions (integrated with Google Maps)
c.) Leave a review for the business (which ties into Google Maps and Google+).
While some people might find this service “creepy”, it will become a service that is adopted over time. The key is to break down personal barriers that will lead to an increase in sales for your business. Again, you want to be at every turn in the case that the end user is using this technology now or in the future.
Consider Including Google Virtual Tours for Your Page
Last night I received an email from a Google Certified photographer who has been raising Google Plus awareness to his clients. Inside this email, he noted that one client mentioned that the setup for a Page was easy (which it is), but knew that there was more to the network than just posting content.
Sure, posting content that leads back to your site is what you should be doing, but the process of posting is a science within itself. Posting content inside of a Business Page can be used as:
a.) SEO-driven posts that provide visibility inside of a Google Search (See my previous blog post on this topic here.)
b.) A destination where your best content is curated through your Page. In the case that a potential customer stumbles upon your Google Plus page with curated content, it should be your goal to see the ROI in a website visit and possible sale.
When you include the element of a Google Virtual Tour, your high-quality (and professional) photos are indexed inside of a Google search. Additionally, this virtual tour is placed on your Google Plus Business Page and is capable of being placed on your company’s website for additional fodder. Google has engineered their network to benefit the small business by making it all about the small business and their company website.
Further, a Google Virtual Tour can be used creatively to increase engagement on your website. Although it might take some time, this strategy has the possibility of going viral if you implement the appropriate primers on your tour.
A marketer or small business must understand that a Google Plus Business Page is a vehicle that drives traffic to your website (where you should be offering helpful blogs, products and services), not the other way around. Simply having a Page does nothing unless you have a website and brick and mortar location. In the case of my photographer friend, he advises any potential new client to include a virtual tour for increasing inbound traffic. A marketer shouldn’t be implementing one of these strategies, rather they should be executing all of them. Consider the investment in time for setting up this page in addition to spending money to optimize your page. It will pay dividends in the future.