Google+ Local: What You Need to Know

As a business owner, you may be familiar with Google Places and the benefits of being found in local search. Recently, Google began offering a new service, as an improvement to Google Places, under the name of “Google+ Local.” This new service boasts a variety of features and benefits to local businesses, combining aspects of social media with an improved layout and a unified presence across all of Google’s services.

Google+ Local is integrated with Google+

Google+ is a social network by Google. According to the search engine giant, over 400 million people use their new social platform, and that number is continually growing. Additionally, over one million business and brand pages were created on Google+ within the first six months of launch. The new Google+ Local allows businesses to reach and interact with people on Google+ through status updates, multimedia posts, events, and hangouts.

Unified Presence

By claiming and verifying your practice’s Google+ Local page, your presence will become unified across Google Maps, Google Search, and Google Mobile.

This unification enables you to easily control the information you share across Google’s services, all from a single page. The new layout also allows you to upload a unique cover photo that can help people instantly identify your practice.

What About My Existing Google Reviews?

Google states that when converting your Google Places to Google+ Local, you can carry over reviews and any uploaded images to your new Google+ Local page. Under the new service, anybody that wants to leave a review for your practice will also need to be signed into their Google+ account. This requirement makes it more difficult for users to post illegitimate, negative reviews that can harm your practice image.

How Do I Get Started?

1. Visit http://plus.google.com
2. Create a personal Google+ page.
3. Select “Create a page” from the pages tab.
4. Select “Local business” and enter your exact phone number.
5. Update all information and request a verification postcard.
6. When you receive the postcard, log back in to verify your Google+ Local page!

If you already have a Google Places page and wish to convert it to a Google+ Local profile, you will need to have a valid Google account and a personal Google+ profile. Once you set up your personal account, you can navigate to the “Pages” tab of the Google+ interface and select “Create a Page”.

It is important to select the “local business” category and enter the same phone number that is used on your existing Google Places profile. Doing so will allow you to select your previous “Google Places” page for the upgrade.  Google states that any reviews you have received should also carry over. Once you claim your page, you can update any information you wish. Finally, request a verification postcard for Google and complete the set-up process after receiving the card in the mail.

If you are interested in taking advantage of Google+ Local, our SEO team can help you claim, merge, and verify your way onto this new social network. To learn more about optimizing your local business listings, please contact one of our SEO Analysts today at (888) 932-3644.