Business Google+

Google+ businessWhile there are those that resent Google from entering the Social Media scene, It is an undeniable fact that Google is really trying to create an opportunity for local business that is truly unparalleled. Google+ for business offers a relatively easy way to promote your local business online and since Google is the number one search engine, it makes sense to make use of the many free things that Google offers.

A Google+ business page is available for the taking. All you have to do is claim it! Of course, there are ways of optimizing it to make it more searchable – and therefor more relevant to searchers. Google understands what local search is all about and seems committed to making local businesses more accessible. When you consider that the search for local products and services is increasing, Google makes it easier to find them with local maps and direct links and thumbnail site views of the website.

If you are savvy enough to recognize the need to claim your Google+ listing, there are a few other things to consider if you want to try to rank better, namely optimizing the page. Here are some of the most important factors:

1. The On-Site Factors

On site or “on-page” factors are absolutely crucial if you want even a chance of ranking in Google+ Local listings, especially if you are business owner who is trying to expand your brand or promote your services online. The same search engine optimization (SEO) factors of your website apply to your Google+ listing, with a few other modifications.

You must have your Name, Address, Phone Number (known as NAP) prominently displayed on your website. These also need to be 100 per cent consistent on every directory listing or citation, and across all social networks. If they’re not all the same, Google may not list them because of the inconsistencies, or even think there are two businesses online. A simple thing like the difference between “St.” and “Street”, or “#101-100 Any Street” and “Suite 102, 100 Any Street” makes a big difference to Google. Anything different could seriously hurt your chances of ranking results online.

2. Online Reviews

Most searchers place a large amount of weight on favourable reviews of a company. Review sites such as Yelp, Yahoo! Local, and Google+ have become a very good way to promote the helpful benefits of your business and are de facto the way businesses are now reviewed.

Business owners should take advantage of these platforms as soon as possible. Real reviews by real people are what real people are looking for. Business owners need to find creative ways to give incentives for their customers to take the time to write reviews. Consider offering a free product or sample in exchange for a review, but be sure to avoid breaking the published guidelines.

Encourage your customers to “Check In” to your business using Foursquare or Yelp, and offer discounts to clients who log into their accounts. Everything social helps promote your business, site, products or service.

3. Grow Your Citations

Links are the backbone of any SEO strategy, as they are essentially “votes” for your website. Citations are the listings of your NAP on different directories and informative websites. These are priceless and you need to make sure you’re building them consistently and as often as possible.  Building them yourself requires patience and diligence. There are many other creative ways to get them, like online business directories and niche-related websites that you can find and engage with personally.

Google+ Local Rank Factors

Here is a list of the most important local ranking factors for Google+:

1. Physical address, phone number consistency (NAP)

2. Relevant category

3. Proximity of the address to the city center

4. Authority of the website (number of links, or “votes”)

5. Number of structured citations that mention the business

6. Mention of the location in the page title

7. Number of reviews in Google+ Local

8. Authority of the citations

9. Area code is local to the searchers city

10. Owner Verified Google+ business page

11. Other links from locally relevant domains

12. Unstructured citations from blogs or online newspaper articles

13. Mention of the product or service in online reviews.

14. Targeted keywords in the URL

15. City mentioned in reviews to the website.

Remember, Play By The Rules!

Google is constantly improving its search algorithm to weed out poor quality, redundant or duplicate content and even penalize those that use such tactics. If you play by the simple rules that Google sets out you can’t go wrong, and you’ll get miles ahead of your competitors as well!

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