Google+ Local: Who, What and How
Google+ Local, Google’s latest platform for social and local integration, has taken businesses and SEOs by storm since its launch in the end of May. Google+, the social channel, and Google Places, the hyperlocal and maps-based search, are in the process of combining forces to become a search powerhouse.
The question then arises, should Google+ Pages be created for businesses in conjunction with the new local platform? Now that Google is seamlessly integrating its search, maps, mobile, and Plus pages, it’s becoming increasingly important to get answers to these questions: Who should create a Google+ page? What is the best way to do go about creating it? And, when exactly should you be creating these pages? In summary:
Who? Any business that wants to stay ahead of competitive in social and hyperlocal search.
What? Create a business page on Google+ now under the same page as your local account.
In essence, leveraging Google+ is more important than ever. Until Google+ merges in its entirety with Google Local, you’ll need use these channels in a mutually beneficial and consistent way. A few key tips on how to best create Google+ Page and use it are as follows:
Tips to create the page:
- Create it under the same email address that you’ve claimed your Google Places page.
- Make sure that the name, address, and phone number are the same as those used on your Places account.
- Include as much information as possible on the ‘About’ section, including a well developed introduction (as this does not have a character limit), add your website, hours, and recommended links (primarily those that are your own pages: Facebook, Twitter, your blog, etc)
Using the channel: While Google+ does not (yet) have as much engagement as their social powerhouse counterparts like Facebook and Twitter, the platform is still a great way to get information out about your business. With virtually no limitation on characters, it’s a great place to generate new content around your name and for your local area.
Google+ Local FAQ’s:
- What happened to the existing Google Places for Business pages? These have all been transitioned on the Google+ Local platform and no longer exist in their previous interface, but are using the same information and images as the previous listings.
- How do you access, manage, and edit this new platform? All information for this local page can still be managed through your same Google Places login panel. The management system, along with all functionality, remains the same, including review management, account details, and more.
- Do all businesses have a Google+ Local Page? All local or maps pages that used to be Google Places have now migrated to Google+ Local, but not all pages are Google+ Pages and Google+ Local pages have merged at this point.
- How do I know if my page has been merged? If your Google+ and Google+ Local page have been fully merged, you will find that you have 4 tabs (posts, about, photos, videos) AND a ‘Write Review’ button. In the case that they have not been merged, you will only have two tabs, about and photos, with ‘Write Review’ (Local) or the four tabs with no ability to write reviews (Google+).
Keep your eyes peeled for the expected merge of all Google+ pages with their local pages, and the tips that will come on how to leverage Google+ Local!
Contributed by Brittany Bingham, Social Media Strategist