Is Google+ still worth it? Do I still need a Google Plus listing? Is Google Plus going away? As a digital marketing agency, we hear a version of these questions fairly frequently.
A lot has changed with Google+ business listings over the years. At one time, Google+ business pages were generated from personal Google+ profiles. There was also Google+ authorship in which content could be attributed to a personal Google+ profile. This was beneficial from a search perspective, but it caused all sorts of difficulty when people changed jobs.
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Today, a Google business listing may be set up directly through Google My Business. The process is straightforward, and having a complete and accurate Google My Business listing is valuable for local SEO. Google My Business listings feed information directly into Maps and the Knowledge Panel.
The Knowledge Panel is the box with content about a company that shows up to the right of search results. Optimize the content in your company’s Knowledge Panel by:
- Ensuring the information in your business listing is complete and accurate (hours of operation, etc.)
- Adding photos
- Verifying your listing by phone or postcard
While optimizing your company listing, you also can be added to Google Maps by re-positioning the red map marker at your business front entrance. Gone are the days of having to set-up a separate Maps listing.
The Intersection Of Social Media And Local Search
Google+ Business Listings live at the crossroads of social media and local search, so it makes sense that improving one benefits the other. Google has been reluctant to share data on the total number of active users on Google+. Simply Measured reported 540 million active users in 2016, whereas Statistic Brain estimated 375 million active users that same year. Regardless of the exact number, it’s fair to say that this platform currently lags behind Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Still, several hundred million active Google+ users are worth engaging.
Even though authorship is gone as a ranking factor, Google still pays attention to social signals. Being active on social media is an opportunity to promote your brand, connect with relevant people, and drive qualified traffic to your site. An increase in engagement to a page of your site can influence the number of terms that page ranks for.
Amplify Your Brand
Posting regularly to Google+, looking for relevant profiles to add to your circles, and joining communities are all positive signals to Google as well as to potential customers who click through your listing in local search. Just like with other platforms you might post to, sharing content regularly on Google+ is another opportunity to engage and strengthen your brand message.
To reach a large number of relevant people at once, try researching and joining Communities. These are groups of people interested in a particular topic. Find a community for a topic related to your business, and you’ll be able to increase your exposure to a very targeted audience.
You can also group your content into Collections – not just your own content, but also relevant content curated from others that you’d like to share. Collections can make your content more accessible and will help your feed look less cluttered.
Improve Local Search Visibility
Through regular interaction with customers on Google+, it’s only natural that you’ll score some reviews. Until recently, a minimum of five customer reviews were required for Google to display an orange average star rating in search. Google has (very quietly) eliminated this threshold and now shows the average orange star rating regardless of the number of Google+ reviews a listing has received. So even just one Google+ customer review gets your business a bright orange star rating in search.
What’s most compelling about Google+ reviews is the strong, positive correlation between the number of Google+ reviews and pin map ranking. Every review counts! The correlation with pin map ranking appears to do more with quantity vs. quality. Like the example below, we frequently see listings with more reviews (but a lower average rating) outperform listings with fewer, higher ratings on the pin map. We’ve even seen a few cases in which just one additional review was enough to nudge a listing up a position on the pin map.
If you’re looking for more exposure, the methods in this article are sure to help. Get on the map with Google Plus!
Leverage social media to improve engagement and visibility. Call periscopeUP today at (443) 475-0787 or Contact Us online.