Have You Activated a Google Plus Local Profile Yet?

The Google search algorithms are complex and changing all the time.  What we do know is that search is becoming more personalized.  Results are partially compiled based on a user’s search history, social connections, whether they are logged in to a Google account or not, and their location.  Since location is a key component, users no longer need to type in their location when looking for a local business.  A simple search for “pizza” will yield results for pizza places within your general area.  And what shows up at the top of the search engine results page?  Google+ Local information.  By simply hovering over the Google listing that appears, a Google search user can find an overview of the establishment, hours, a price range, ratings, and recommended transit to get to the location.  If searchers are just looking for a phone number or a menu, they don’t even need to navigate to the actual business website since Google provides them with information and links right there on the SERP.

Of course, this is only the case if your business has created and activated a Google+ Local profile.  Previously known as Google Places, Google has now integrated the Places information into the Google+ architecture to create Google+ Local.  In addition to being accessed through Google Search and Maps, business information can now be found by clicking the new Local tab within Google+.

It’s important for all businesses, not just local businesses executing a local SEO campaign, to claim their Google+ Local listing to ensure that all of the information is accurate and up to date.  For some reason, so many businesses have yet to claim and activate their listing.  This is a huge mistake.  There are so many benefits to having an accurate and active listing.

The first benefit is a more prominent ranking on a search engine results page.  Unless it’s for a branded search, it’s extremely difficult to get your website listed on the first page of a Google search result, especially in a competitive niche.  The first items that Google lists on the page for a local search are Google+ Local profile information.  If you haven’t created a Google+ Local profile, you are missing out on getting important information about your business on the first page of a search result.

An accurate and active Google+ Local listing can also help SEO efforts.  A Google+ Local listing includes a link back to your website, which establishes a connection and trust between your site and Google.  For a local business, the website should be submitted to all local business directories, and since Google is the King of Search this is perhaps the most important one.  It improves visibility in the search engine and helps generate traffic to your website.

A Google+ Local listing can also help generate mobile traffic to your site.  More and more people are searching using a smart phone, tablet, or other mobile device every day.  A large percentage of these searches are for local information.  A website that has a Google+ Local listing activated and is mobile friendly will help generate traffic from the mobile users that want information quickly and are likely to click on a Google+ Local listing before scrolling through lots of pages.

Setting up a Google+ Local listing isn’t just part of a local SEO strategy, all businesses should take advantage of this free opportunity to improve search engine visibility and get a link from a trusted source.  All it takes is a few minutes of your time to enter as much information as possible about your business and verify that it is correct.

About the Author:

Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, a full service SEO firm.  Brick Marketing offers SEO seminars across the country.  For more information please call 781-999-1222 or visit http://www.brickmarketing.com.