Less of a copywriting post this one, more of an online marketing issue. Specifically a quick heads up on Google+ Local. It’s being rolled out to replace Google Places (see the new Local Menu option on the left hand side of your Google+ page). Some friendly advice though – don’t think too hard about the transition as it could send you utterly mental*. Suffice to say that if you don’t have a Google+ page for your business or if it’s incomplete or a bit shabby then now’s the time to sort it out. With Google telling us that these days 73 percent of activity online one way or another is related to local content, it’s pretty clear that having you Google+ page up to scratch matters.
Here’s an example why. Do a search for say…. Manchester Photography and beneath the Adwords ads you’ll see the 7 pack of localised returns each with a link to their main site and a Google+ link. At No1 is Jessops with a half arsed Google+ page that includes the standard map and the address, a crap review but little else. Second on the localised returns is Manchester Photographic Gallery. Take a look at their Google+ Local page and shazzam – a full interior 360 degree presentation as part of Google Business Photos. Impressive or what?
It gets better. Search for Manchester Photographic and though in this case there is no 7 pack of local returns what you will see is that (maybe not unsurprisingly) Manchester Photographic Gallery is top of the returns but also that a location map, and even more importantly the Google+ Local 360 degree images are instantly accessible from the Google search page. Perfect – especially if you want to find out more about the new exhibition of Ian Tilton Stone Roses photographs. You can even zoom in on them through the Google+ page. And what a nice bunch of fresh faced young lads they were.
Band on the Wall is the same – Looks great, ranks great.
Does the inclusion of Business Photos on the Google+ Local page help the site rank better? Is it good for SEO? Dunno. Won’t do you any harm though I’m sure. Do Business Photos help showcase your business better? Yes. Is Google+ Local going to be a big deal? Without doubt. Do many businesses ‘get it’? It would appear not.
So if you’re based in or around Manchester, want to rank higher on Google and win more business through your web presence then take a close look. Get in on the ground floor. Talk to the delightful Malcolm Maybury or Nicola Williams at 360 Spin. As well as great people they’re Google’s appointed Business Photos partner in this area and will be able to tell you everything you need to know about setting up a Google+ Local page and the ways that images can help you build your business online.
And if you’re not based in or around Manchester then you’ll have a local company who has got the Google Business gig in your area. Worth a conversation I’m sure.
You know it’s noisy out there. Use Google + Local to help get above it.
*Here’s what Steve Masters of Vertical Leap says when talking about the Google Places – Google+ Local transition: “The two are not the same, which is confusing for business owners and users. When you search Google for a business, you will see links to that businesses’ Google Plus page, but that will actually be a link to what was originally called Google Places. The Google Plus business page, if there is one, will be elsewhere. The difference is that Google Plus Local pages are a new face for Google Places, with maps and scoring integrated, to create a directory listing for a business to help customers find and evaluate the business. The actual Google Plus business page includes all the social features of Google Plus – hangouts, posting, sharing, commenting, photos etc.”
Like I said… don’t think about it too hard
For a stack more useful info on Google+ Local, check out this SEO Gadget piece .