Today I have a guest post from my friend Paul Sherland of IX Brand SEO Services. This is important marketing information for local business owners. Thank you Paul for sharing this with us!
There are just a few online business listings that are critical to your Internet search marketing effort as a small business owner. Until recently, one of those must-have business listings was called Google Places and a couple of weeks ago, those listings mutated to Google+ Local.
If you don’t have a Google+ Local listing for your business or if you’ve had a Google Places listing and you haven’t checked it over the last couple of weeks, it’s time to move into the Google+ Local world.
Google+ is the Company’s big move into social media and Google+ Local is a melding of social media with local business listings with search marketing. The data migration is not complete — for example if you had YouTube videos on your Google Places listing, those videos are not yet visible on your new Google+ Local listing. Also, Google Places allowed you to specify five business categories and the new Google+ Local listing only allows two to be displayed.
You should be monitoring your new Google+ Local listing to take advantage of new features as they are implemented and you should report hiccups to Google for correction. Google retains about 65% of the search market so your Google+ Local business listing can be a critically important part of your business marketing program.
Just for comparison, here’s a screenshot of Glenn Smith’s Google Places listing from 2010. Note the review stars and the reference to 15 reviews.
Here’s Glenn’s current Google+ Local page with the new review format. Note the very colorful listing with Glenn’s large picture and an easy-to-read map as a prominent part of the listing. The review summary is a score of 30 out of 30, which is perfection and if you’re a fan of Zagat’s restaurant reviews, the format may look familiar. Google bought Zagat’s and its review format has been implemented in Google+ Local.
The appearance of the reviews listed for Glenn has also changed. Under Google Places, Glenn’s clients could leave reviews under profile names that they made up. Most of the time the profile names were not the same as the reviewer’s name. Now, with Google+ Local, all new reviews will be posted under the real name of each reviewer’s Google+ profile.
All old reviews imported from Google Places to Google+ Local are just listed under the generic name of “A Google User.” Although my review for Glenn is two years old, it’s given display priority over much newer reviews because I have a Google+ profile.
So what are the takeaways from this?
If you’d like to boost your business performance in local online search, there will be an awesome Local University seminar, by GetListed.org, in Austin, June 26th. I’ve just returned from a one-day Local University Advanced workshop in Seattle, and I can guarantee that attending either of the two four-hour sessions will pay for itself for your business in a very short time. Just click this Local University Austin link to register and use the discount code IXBRANDSEO to cut the cost of the workshop to only $59.
IX Brand SEO Services Company helps small and medium-sized businesses with local search marketing, social media optimization, and online reputation management. We have offices in Sugar Land and Wharton, but we work with businesses all over the US. Call us at 713-234-6346 for more information.