The world of social media can be daunting for a small business owner. Even the mention of the term probably makes your brow furrow at times, right? So who needs ANOTHER social media site to deal with? Well, stick with me on this because this is not just another “how to succeed with social media” post.
Have you heard of Google+? If you haven’t please let me tell you why you should drop what you’re doing now and learn more. Here are some top level stats:
- Google+ now has over 26 million users and growing daily.
- Google+ has grown by 821% from the week ending on July 2
- As of July 16, 2012 Google+ is the 638th most-visited site on the web.
Maybe you’re still saying “who cares”? It’s just one more thing to deal with. Well, let me give you a few reasons why you should care and why you should take an hour out of your day to claim and optimize your personal and Google+ Local Business Page.
1) Because your Google+ Local page can show up in search results.
We’d all like our business to have a bigger presence on Google and other major search engines and having a Google+ Local Business page is a big step in the right direction. When Google returns local results they normally appear prominently on the first page. Having a well optimized Google+ page is a big reason why this happens. The screenshot below shows you how prominently your listings may appear within the Google search results.
Ok, so this claim has not been substantiated by Google but few things are when it comes to why websites rank prominently in the search engines. But it makes sense that Google is using the data in your profile to learn more about your business, how relevant you are to search queries, who you connect to and who connects to you, what information you post on your Google+ page and all the other signals that can be used to determine quality and relevancy like ratings.
You can even get stats and analytics about your own account. You can learn what people are saying about your business, how many +1′s your business receives and how these affect your traffic.The whole Google+ Local program must be a goldmine of data that Google is using to improve their own search results. So it’s a no-brainer that you should spend a little time optimizing your profile for any keyword that’s relevant to your business.
3) Because it will make you stand out above your competition.
Most small businesses have yet to take the time to claim their Google+ Local listing, much less properly optimize it. Internet marketing is my business and we’re just now in the process of getting our company site verified and optimized and we’ll be claiming and optimizing all our client accounts very soon.
Sidenote: Did you setup a Google Local Page in the past? Well, unfortunately Google is going to make our lives difficult. You’ll need to setup a Google+ Local account and merge it with your Google Local Page to establish a unified presence online. (sigh) More info about this process here.
Taking the time to do this can make you stand out among your competition when people are shopping around. Your G+ page can almost act as a mini website for your business if you invest time building out your description, services, pictures and continually encouraging reviews and posting new updates.
Below is an example of a G+ Local Business page that is nicely put together and well optimized. Everything you need to know is right there at a glance.
Google+ might not be your thing on a regular basis. Maybe you like Facebook or maybe Twitter. But just because you don’t use it doesn’t mean that others don’t. Claiming and optimizing your Google+ Local Business page is another great (and free) opportunity to connect with more people on the internet and it’s easy. You should check out the whole concept of “Circles” on Google+ and learn how easily it is to connect with people.
If you haven’t used Google+ give it a try. In my opinion the experience is far and away better than using other services like Facebook. It’s a clean, easy to use and enjoyable experience that will only continue to attract more and more people over time. Establishing your presence now can be nothing but a positive move for your business and personal brand online.