Google Plus and Local SEO Collaborations

Are you a business owner and rely on Google to promote your business? Then you might not have been startled when Google recently announced that it intends to convert the existing Google Places pages into Google Plus Local pages. This was speculated long back by the web experts. This transition of from Google Places to Google+ Local pages has resulted in three major changes:

  1. The addition of the ‘Local’ tab to Google+ provides users with social and personalized recommendations for particular Google+ local pages.
  2. The old Google's five-star system has been replaced with Zagat review data and also the paywall has been obviated.
  3. Google+ Local pages are integrated with Google search, Google Mobile and Google Maps.
There is no doubt that there is a correlation between social media and SEO. These changes are sure to affect local SEO best practices. Wondering how? Read below:

  1. The new Google+ Local pages will be indexed by Google in comparison to the older Google Places pages. Local businesses can take benefit of this effect, simply by creating new Google+ pages. This will also support the natural blended SERPs.
  2. This transition is sure to benefit the future social functionality available via the Google+ network. For the purpose of SEO, the social signals tracked on Google+ Local pages could be shifted to traditional search users by using local annotations in the SERPs, and featured recommendation within internal Google+ Local searches.
This transition to Google+ Local pages will not affect the natural SERPs. Thus websites will not jump in the rankings on the basis of its absence or presence on Google+ Local pages. It has been noticed that the order of the listings displayed in the traditional SERPs closely mimics the page organization within former “Places” SERPs.


Suggested Actions businesses need to take
As a business owner it is important to manage your information in Google Places for Business. So that people can verify the basic listing data, respond to the reviews and make updates. For business owners who use AdWords Express, the ads operate normally as they redirect  the audience to the selected destination.

In case you don't have Google Places page, you can do it by visiting  www.google.com/places and clicking 'Get Started Now'. Below mentioned are some of the local SEO best practices that can be used with social media executiion that you must keep in mind while creating this page:

  1. It is important to use a phone number with local area code of the city in your Google+ Local listing. Remember proximity is a critical factor that is used in the local ranking algorithm.
  2. Minimize the usage of keyword in the business title. Extra words results in data center mismatch between the keyword-optimized title and business name.
  3. Make full use of 'Location' and 'Contact' page in the Website field, as the landing pages have stronger geographic signals.
  4. Make sure you include target keywords in Category and Description field of your listing, when articulating the business objectives.
  5. It is very important to have an impressive profile. It is suggested to add pictures to make the profile as attractive as possible to attract new visitors.
After completing the Google Places pages, the next step is to create Google+ Page under Local Business or Place category. As a best practice, select the specific category to assist you with future consolidation with Google+ Local. Put efforts to beef up the presence of your website. As social signals affect local SEO, it is suggested to follow these steps:

  1. Build your personal Google+ profile and start connecting through Google+ circle to develop individual authority behind Google+ Local page and Google+ Page.
  2. Regularly post updates and connect with followers on Google+ Page. Also encourage your customers to leave reviews or feedback on Google+ Local page.
  3. E-mail your newsletter subscribers who signed up with Gmail account and request them they “+1” the Google+ properties and leave reviews on the page. It never hurts to get the word out in as many ways as possible.
Apart from these actions you need to keep a tab of the changes made in Google algorithms and announcements, so that you don't miss on the opportunities.

Mumtaz Ali works at Techmagnate as an SEO professional as well as teach in SEO Institute but spends a lot of his time hanging out on Social Media. He’s the perfect example of blurring lines between search and social marketing. 
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