Previously we discussed getting your business up on Google Places as an important tactic to ensure that your business is coming up in local searches. We still want you to leverage Google Places but we also want to make sure that you were aware of an additional option now available through Google search – it is called Google + Local. (Eventually Google would like to replace Google Places with Google + Local but for now you can sign up for each separately.) We would like to share details about Google +, outline some basics about Google + Local and explain how these can help your business reach more customers.
First let’s discuss Google +. For many of you out there, you may be unaware of Google + or you have maybe heard rumblings of the new product. In a nutshell, Google + is a social media platform or essentially Google’s answer to Facebook. You may be rolling your eyes and thinking “I have to manage yet another social media tool?” Well, we aren’t convinced that Google + is going to be a powerful social media tool for your business necessarily but we like how Google is taking search to the next level by integrating social connections. So, we are recommending that you use part of the tool.
Here’s how it works: Google + is like Facebook. You can set up personal profiles and business pages. The idea is to build up a list of friends and, much like Facebook; send out updates. However, we suggest that you don’t bother building up a network of friends or posting updates on Google +. What we are recommending is that you build out your Google + page for your business to give you an even better advantage in search results.
When you have a Google + page for your business, Google makes note of that when someone searches for you, much like it would when you have set up a Google Places page. So when a potential customer is doing a Google search for your business your business will appear in the Google + format. That basically allows for more features within the search results: the ability to recommend the business to someone else, post reviews and for you to respond to feedback. (It allows your customers to share with their social network information about your business right from the search page!)
At the end of the day we recommend using Facebook over Google + for promoting your business. The reality is that Facebook has more users and, according to recent research, a typical Facebook user will spend hours a month on the site while the typical Google + user is only spending minutes. It just comes down to making the best use of your time to find your customers. However, setting up a page now will keep you a step ahead!
This is not to say that we aren’t excited about some of the Google + features – there is some really cool stuff which is the topic for our 4th and final blog of our Google series.