In 2012 ‘Google Places’ changed it’s name to ‘Google+ Local’. If you are a local business with a physical location then this part is something you will want to set up. In essence, it is a Google Plus Page and has the ability for people to give you local reviews as well. They are very simple to set up so here’s my down and dirty guide to google local optimization
How To Find Google+ Local Pages
Any Google search for a business location will now display a result like this in Google Maps. When you click the “More Info” button, you’ll visit the new Google+ Local Business profile.
Or, sign into your Google+ profile and click on the new “Local” tab. Then, search for your business name and city.
Tips to Optimize Your Google+ Local Page
When it’s time to update your Google+ Local page, your dashboard will look exactly the same as it did for Google Places.
Most of the local business optimization tips rely on the phonebook rule, which means all of your business information that appears online should appear exactly as it does in the phonebook. Since you’re not 65 and don’t have a phonebook handy, just make sure all your online and print business listings are congruent.
At the bare minimum, every business location should contain the following information:
Business Name: This should be the official business name, as it would appear on everything from phonebooks to business cards. It shouldn’t contain any keywords or local describers, unless it’s part of the official city name for that location.
Address: Write out the full address of your business and use second address line for suite numbers, etc. Also, double-check your map listing to see if Google placed you location pin in the correct area.
Local Phone Number: The “main” number should always be a local number, not a non geographic number. If there is a free phone number, add it as an “alternate phone.”
Website: If the business has only one location or if the location pages contain little or no content, the URL should point to the homepage.
However, if the business has two or more business locations and the website has devoted pages to each individual location that include 5-6 sentences of original content, then the URL should point to that location page.
Categories: You must have at least one category description tag by default, but every business should have five (it only displays two at a time). Category description tags are sorted in order of importance and you should use one of the preferred, pre-populated categories whenever possible. The categories should not contain any local describers.
Business Hours: Business hours are signals of trust to users and search engines. If you don’t want to share your hours, Google might list your business as “closed.” It doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s been known to happen.
Pictures: You should have at least one image larger than 250×250 but less than 1024×1024 and under 1MB. This square image should be your logo or a picture of your place of business. Each page allows you to upload 10 images. By default, if you upload one image or less, the page will display a map of your location along the photo strip a Google+ (which I think looks pretty cool)..
What’s frustrating about uploading images is that Google doesn’t give you the option to rearrange photos or select a photo as the page image. Sometimes it doesn’t show your photo at all (we’ve been having issues with the ROARlocal logo for at least a week).
Your Google+ Local Dashboard has areas to submit additional information. It isn’t required, but this info might improve the page user experience in the future.
Description: Your Google+ Local page will add a “from the owner” box under the business hours. Use this opportunity to add short sentence or two about why you’re special.
Email address: Your email isn’t currently displayed anywhere on the Google+ Local page, but it does appear on a Google+ Business page, which means Google may incorporate this into the listings in the future.
Videos: Videos will enhance your “profile completion percentage,” but videos do not show up on a Google+ Local page. Since Google+ Business pages do incorporate videos, this might be another feature added later.
Consider this your bare minimum and reminder that Google plus pages rank VERY well for your main buying keywords.
This is a must for any business and I’ve seen examples of affiliates using Google plus pages to rank well for keywords for affiliate offers… a hum 😉
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