Google+ Local Business profiles have become increasingly important to businesses who want to be found in search results locally. Basically its a Google + profile geared to show up in local results. e.g. If you were looking for accommodation in Hastings, and type in Hastings accommodation, you would potentially see up to 8 local listings that relate to local accommodation.
Why is this important to you as a business owner?
Finding yourself in local results with the rest of the businesess that are like yours – the importance of this speaks for itself. If you have not created a profile yourself, check first to see if you may already have one. (Google will sometimes create one out of details it has found on the internet) Heres what the listings look like below.
If a listing for your business already exists (and you didnt create it), you will need to claim it. Having ownership of your listing is essential for being able to update your details when required. e.g. You may shift your business address or change your phone number. It’s also essential for handling online reviews that customers may offer.
Reviews of your business via your listing
Your listing comes with the capability to receive reviews and its worthwhile making your customers aware that they can do this online.
- Potentially attract new customers
- Offer you the business owner valuable feedback about your customers’ attitudes to your business and service
Ok, I’d like to ask someone to review me. How would I do this?
[box]UPDATE – The tool at the link below will help you create a link that you can send to your customers. This link will take them to a page where they can leave a review.
Frequency of reviews
Be careful of this as Google has filters in place that try to keep the process of receiving views SPAM free and fair. e.g If a number of your clients all posted on the same day, this may be seen as an attempt to manipulate the review system. To avoid this, you might like to ask existing customers one by one over time to post a review. Possibly weekly would work well here. Ideally reviews should follow the natural process of your customers having received a service from you. i.e after you have completed a job or service.
What if someone gives me a negative review?
Ofcourse you’d hope this would never happen! If it does, then heres where the importance of owning your Google+ Local listing kicks in. As the owner of the listing, you are able to respond publically to the negative listing and this response will be shown by the review. Hopefully you can work out an amicable solution with your customer and they may adjust their review as a result.
Hopefully the above helps add some clarity to what a Google+ Local listing is and how it may help increase your visibility to potential new customers.
At the very least, a first step for a business owner would be to claim ownership of their listing if it already exists, or to create a new listing if it doesn’t. As old methods of advertising become less relavant, understanding the benefit of services like Google+ Local has become increasingly important for taking advantage of new customer possibilities.