Want a way to make it to the first page of Google?
Then check out this simple yet free tactic that your micro business can take advantage of.
Google+ Local pages are Google-hosted web pages that show up in the search results for local searches.
They were formerly called “Google Places” until May of 2012. Google merged the Places listings with the Google+ social network. These pages are available to micro businesses in more than 100 countries globally.
In most cases, Google will only return the Google+ Local pages for those businesses that are physically located in the city that a customer is searching from, or the city they include in their search. For example, if a customer is located in Egham and searches for “pubs,” or lives outside Egham and searches for “Egham pubs,” only pubs located in Egham will be returned on the first page of the search results. There are exceptions to the rule but in most cases the rule holds true.
These pages give your business a distinct advantage.
If you are located in the city a customer is searching from, or searching for, you have a great chance of your Google+ Local page showing up on the first page of Google. Your competitors located in nearby cities, on the other hand, will be shut out of the Google+ Local page results.
If you’re not familiar with what these pages look like, you’ve probably seen them many times and just didn’t realize it. If you search for “Egham pubs,” here are the results you’ll see:
The Google+ Local pages are marked by the balloons, or teardrops. You’ll notice how they get prominent placement on the first page of Google for these local searches. The opportunities should be obvious but here are 5 reasons why all microbusinesses need to take advantage of them.
1. Local Search is Hot
One out of five, or approximately 20% of searches have local intent (source: ComScore). In addition, 82% of people performing a local search follow up with an inquiry, phone call, or visit to the business they found during their search (source: ComScore). Having a Google+ Local page that is well optimized will allow you to tap into this opportunity.
2. Mobile Marketing Is Hot
According to Google, 40% of browser-based mobile searches are local and this number is only going to get bigger as mobile usage continues to grow. It is predicted that mobile usage will outpace the desktop by 2015, by a gap of over 20 billion searches (source: BIA/Kelsey)!
Google+ Local pages are mobile-friendly and are favoured by Google when local searches are done on mobile devices. These pages are returned as the primary search results for local searches on mobile devices. If you want your micro business to be found on mobile devices, you must have a Google+ Local page.
3. Google+ Local Page Get Preferential Treatment
Since Google+ Local pages are owned by Google, Google has a vested interest in driving traffic to their own properties before sending them to your website. As a result, Google crowds out websites above the fold on the first page by showing mostly Google+ Local pages first. Here’s what you see when searching for “accountants Egham.”
If you were an accountant in Egham, the best way to get found on the first page of Google would be to have a well-optimized Google+ Local page. If you were just relying on your website to rank above the fold, you would be facing an uphill battle.
4. Google+ Local Can Dramatically Increase Your Bottom Line
As a result of the above-mentioned points, a Google+ Local page that is ranking well can provide your business with a dramatic surge in leads and sales. Businesses in some industries can experience a 30% to 50% increase in their sales just by taking advantage of these pages.
5. It’s Free and Easy to Set Up
Usually to get the kind of preferential placement you can get with a Google+ Local page you would need to pay Google via the AdWords program. This opportunity, however, is free! And better news yet, it doesn’t take more than 15 minutes to create your Google+ Local page.
Now I don’t want to mislead you and have you believe that simply having a page is enough. Just like your own website, there are a variety of things you need to do to make sure your Google+ Local page ranks well. After all, there are likely many businesses in your city that you are competing with. The devil is in the details as they say.
The point of this article is to simply introduce you to this awesome opportunity. With a well-optimized Google+ Local page and website (that’s a hint by the way – your website plays a key role in your Google+ Local page rankings), you have a great opportunity to see a significant boost in your visibility and sales online!
Today’s Micro Action:
The first step is to obviously have a Google+ Local page. Go to Google+ Local and get a page for your business. The form you have to fill out takes less than 15 minutes. Once you’re done, you’ll have taken the first crucial step towards dominating local search!