Many businesses are making the mistake in thinking that, because Google+ hasn’t really taken off as a social platform, they shouldn’t bother with it. This in fact is not true, and as this post will explain, Google+ can actually help with your SEO strategy by maximising visibility in SERPs.
As you probably already know, Google+ pages are the equivalent of Facebook pages for businesses with the added bonus that when set up properly, they will show up on the right side of Google searches for your company name.
For example, a search for Branded3 brings back this:
Why is this important? Well for one, as mentioned it dominates the right-hand side of the search, meaning that no advertising will show, which in turn means a much greater chance of you achieving all of the clicks on that results page.
You might be thinking, ‘Surely I’ll get all the clicks anyway if someone is searching for my brand name’, however if you take a look at the number of monthly searches for a brand name and compare this to actual traffic in Analytics from the brand name, you can see that a large chunk of the searches are actually clicking on other sites.
In summary, in order to increase visibility from brand searches, make sure that you set up a Google+ business page to make sure you’re catching as much as the traffic as possible. Google has a really user-friendly guide to getting started with Google+ pages which can be found here.
Google+ Local (replacing Google Places) is a great tool that all businesses, but in particular small and medium businesses, should be utilising. Google reports that 20% of all searches and 40% of mobile searches have local intent and that 97% of consumers search online for local businesses. This means that if you’re not taking steps to optimise visibility for local searches, you’re missing out!
By being set up in Google+ local you have three chances to show up in searches; in Google’s usual SERPs, Google Maps and also in local search in Google+:
The great thing about Google+ Local is that it not only helps to increase your local search visibility, but it also allows you to turn that visibility into clicks by showcasing positive reviews (Zagat reviews), photos and a virtual tour if you have one.
You will need to create a separate Google+ local page for each of your physical locations, however it is fairly simple to create the pages following these steps once signed into Google+:
1. Hover over ‘More’ in the left navigation and click ‘Pages’
2. Click ‘create new page’
3. Click ‘Local Business’ or ‘Place’
4. Enter the landline phone number for the business and it will come up with this box either with a listing for the business (click this if it’s right) or with no matches, asking you to add the business to Google
5. Enter all of your business details to create the page which should include:
- Contact info
- Recommended links
6. Once the page is created you need to verify it, to do this hover over ‘Unverified’ at the top of the Google+ page and click ‘Verify now’, you will be asked to confirm the address and be sent a postcard through the post to verify the location
So in summary if you want to take advantage of the increasing volume of local traffic, make sure you have your Google+ Local pages set up correctly, and if you want to maximise CTR on brand searches, make sure you have Google+ page set up and appearing in SERPs.