How are people finding your local business? Does your foot traffic come from word of mouth, social media, Google search or a combination of all three?
Most people use Google to search for a business in their area, look for the number to a restaurant in the neighborhood or to find the directions to their local grocery store. According to Search Engine Watch, 50 percent of mobile search is local. Is your business showing up for these searches?
Prior to Google+, a business would upload all of this pertinent information to help searchers find their address, phone number, hours of operations, menu and more into Google Places. This dashboard helped business owners verify their business and establish a listing in Google search.
Today, these features are fully integrated as Google+ Local. From the Places for Business dashboard, a business can manage its listing in Google search, reviews from customers, their AdWords accounts if relevant, its local Google+ page and insights about their listing in search.
According to Moz, Google takes the following factors into consideration when ranking local businesses as of 2013. As seen below, the place page signals are a large portion of Google's considerations when ranking a website in local search.
Setting up and optimizing your Google+ local pages for each location of your business is important to ensure your organization appears for the right local search queries, customers can review your business and to help populate various rich snippets of information on the search results page depending on the type of business.
For instance, hotels can benefit from an optimized listing in Google search since their rich snippet can help support a paid ad that allows searchers to book a room right from the results page as seen below.
Many local businesses neglect to set up their Google+ local pages properly, missing out on the vast search opportunities it can offer their organization.
To better understand what it takes to run a successful Google+ local page, here are three examples of local pages and why they stand out.
1. Consistency is Key: Lockhart Smokehouse BBQ
Unlike many other local pages on Google+, Lockhart Smokehouse BBQ consistently updates their page with engaging posts featuring articles about the restaurant, images of their dishes, promotions and more. By consistently sharing content to their Google+ local page, they are continuing to improve the likelihood that their company will rank for relevant keyword phrases in the local search results.
Google+ is a highly visual platform, which Lockhart makes use of by posting high quality photos in their updates. Some of their photos are taken from a mobile device, which helps give a behind the scenes perspective to some of their content. These photos feature their dishes, specials of the night, staff members cooking and more. Lockhart also shared a how-to video of its owner showing how to properly prepare a brisket, which adds value through education to their audience.
Duplicate their approach to Google+ local by sharing relevant content on a regular basis that is of interest to your audience. Focus on sharing high quality images and other visual media to best reach your customer base. Also offering a look at what's happening at your business behind the scenes is another way to connect with an audience on Google+.
2. Quality Visuals: Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino
In order for your business to get the most of your Google+ local page, fill out your profile in its entirety like Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino. One of the things that the casino does right on their Google+ local page is upload high quality images to their profile photo and cover photo.
This is important because it is one of the first impressions a person has of your business when viewing your listing in search or visiting your Google+ local page. If there isn't a photo uploaded or it's a poor quality photo, it could send the wrong message about your business.
The casino also completely filled out each section of its profile on its local page like contact information, address, category of business, description and claimed a custom URL for the page.
The description of the casino includes important keywords like blackjack, poker room and more in a natural way to help further rank the business for the right searches. Once they updated their web address, they made sure to verify it by adding a link to their Google+ local page on their website to confirm that they are the official page for their business.
When setting up your own Google+ local page, upload quality images to give the right impression to your audience and any potential customers seeing your business in the search results. Fill out the profile of your Google+ local page in its entirety, while making sure to organically integrate keywords related to your business. Verify your contact information and website address with Google to add another layer of authority and credibility to your Google+ local page.
3. Use of Videos: Big Mill Bed & Breakfast
Big Mill Bed & Breakfast in North Carolina is another example of a business taking full advantage of their Google+ local page by consistently posting relevant, content, using high quality images on their profile and in their posts, completely optimizing their profile with all the necessary information and using video to reach their audience in a visual manner.
One thing that stood out with Big Mill is that their local page is integrated with its YouTube channel. One of the biggest benefits of Google+ is its integration with other Google products like YouTube, search or Gmail.
Big Mill has connected their YouTube channel and their local page, allowing their video content to be displayed on both locations for wider visibility with their audience. As a bed and breakfast, Big Mill's videos highlight sightseeing opportunities in the area, tours of their facilities and past events held at their location.
To create a worthwhile experience on your Google+ local page, integrate your YouTube channel with your page and incorporate videos into the content you're sharing on a regular basis. By mixing the types of content you're sharing on Google+, you'll be able to cater to different audiences who react differently based on the type of media used.
Have you setup and optimized a Google+ local page for your business? What online strategies have worked the best for driving traffic to your offline business? Share your thoughts below.
This article originally appeared on the iAcquire blog.