Google+ Local

With so many new forms of social media emerging all the time, it can be hard for businesses to keep up. It can be especially hard for small businesses that have smaller budgets and less time to devote to these types of things. For these businesses, who may only have the resources to focus on one social media platform, the answer might be Google Plus. While Google Plus is still in its early stages of development when compared to Facebook or Twitter, it already presents some great marketing opportunities for small businesses.

Google+ Local

Perhaps the greatest opportunities for small business marketing on Google Plus lie within Google+ Local. This internal search platform, which exists within Google Plus, is designed for local businesses. Google+ Local presents a search platform where small businesses without the budgets or time for proper SEO can rank highly and effectively.

This is because the rankings in Google+ Local are calculated differently than a typical Google SERP (search engine results page). These rankings are based off number of Google+ Local reviews and the quality of those reviews (reviews are based off a 30-point scoring system, and the average of all reviews is taken to help determine ranking). This gives smaller businesses the opportunity to rank higher by providing great service and interacting with customers on Google Plus; and ranking well in Google+ Local certainly has its benefits.

Due to the fact that Google+ Local is part of Google, ranking high in a Google+ Local SERP has extra value as a Google Map will show up next to the results with the locations of the top results. This makes it very easy for potential customers to find a business and as with standard Google SERPs, they are much more likely to choose between the higher ranking results.

Google Plus Business Pages and Customer Engagement

Another important aspect of Google Plus that small businesses need to keep in mind is the condition of their corresponding Google Plus Business Page.

It is important that they maintain this page if for no other reason than the fact that the links in Google+ Local mentioned above direct users to these pages. After all, it would be inexcusable to lose a potential customer due to a poorly constructed business page. These pages are easy to maintain and can provide prospective customers with valuable contact information such as phone numbers, email, website, etc. It is also to include a large Google map as the cover photo for this page, making it even easier for customers to find a local business.

These pages also present some opportunities for small businesses to engage and interact with their customers. Local business can post deals or promotions here or share important information related to their industry. While these same ideas can be applied to Facebook or Twitter, Google Plus offers a unique opportunity. It is unique because by selecting which circles a company wants to share certain content with, they can convey segmented and targeted messages to a specific audience. This presents a situation where businesses can deliver some very powerful marketing.

Google+ Local offers an advantageous situation for small businesses where they have the chance to rank highly without spending money on SEO. Also, Google Plus as a social media platform presents some interesting ways for businesses to engage with customers and send targeted messages tailored for a particular audience. As small businesses struggle to find the resources necessary to effectively market on all the different social media platforms available, Google Plus is one that small businesses must not overlook.

Author Bio

Paul Richardson is a n experienced content marketing professional who specializes in small business marketing and local seo. When he’s not writing about small business marketing he tries to attend as many different concert venues as he can.

Google Official SEO Tips

Yes Google actually has an official SEO guide that I think every person should download and take the time to comb through. If you still don’t believe what Google has to say about some of these elements below you might have some screws loose. The SEO guide is around 35 pages long and goes into great detail on everything a new or aged website should be doing in order to stand out in the Google search space.

Google also gives the community some really great advice when it comes to SEO in general. Below is some really great advice Google offers directly on their website. Click here to read all of it.

“No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.

Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.”

We have been saying this for a very long time. It sounds nice to receive a guarantee from a company but the reality is that nobody can really guarantee anything in Google except for Google. Nobody has control or power over the search space except for the search engine themselves.

“Be careful if a company is secretive or won’t clearly explain what they intend to do.

Ask for explanations if something is unclear. If an SEO creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or “throwaway” domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google’s index. Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it’s best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to “help” you. If an SEO has FTP access to your server, they should be willing to explain all the changes they are making to your site.”

There is no secret sauce when it comes to search engine optimization and marketing. There is ample amounts of data and information lingering and bouncing all over the search space that clearly and accurately can teach many people the basics steps and protocol on how to approach the process of SEO. Sure there is more than one way to get from point A to point B when it comes to visibility and rankings but there is no secret about.

“Be sure to understand where the money goes.

While Google never sells better ranking in our search results, several other search engines combine pay-per-click or pay-for-inclusion results with their regular web search results. Some SEOs will promise to rank you highly in search engines, but place you in the advertising section rather than in the search results. A few SEOs will even change their bid prices in real time to create the illusion that they “control” other search engines and can place themselves in the slot of their choice. This scam doesn’t work with Google because our advertising is clearly labeled and separated from our search results, but be sure to ask any SEO you’re considering which fees go toward permanent inclusion and which apply toward temporary advertising.”

You should always understand what you are getting for your spend. We personally layout a comprehensive plan of attack prior to starting any work for a client so they understand what is happening at every moment.

“What are the most common abuses a website owner is likely to encounter?

One common scam is the creation of “shadow” domains that funnel users to a site by using deceptive redirects. These shadow domains often will be owned by the SEO who claims to be working on a client’s behalf. However, if the relationship sours, the SEO may point the domain to a different site, or even to a competitor’s domain. If that happens, the client has paid to develop a competing site owned entirely by the SEO.

Another illicit practice is to place “doorway” pages loaded with keywords on the client’s site somewhere. The SEO promises this will make the page more relevant for more queries. This is inherently false since individual pages are rarely relevant for a wide range of keywords. More insidious, however, is that these doorway pages often contain hidden links to the SEO’s other clients as well. Such doorway pages drain away the link popularity of a site and route it to the SEO and its other clients, which may include sites with unsavory or illegal content.”

Tricks in the search space are commonly called black-hat. You want to avoid black-hat SEO like the plague or your website could end up just like the plague. These are probably some of the more important areas to consider when marketing your business online. There are many providers out there so make sure you take your time when picking out the right one.