Google+ Local, which used to be known as Google Places, is a free online platform that Google provides. It has two purposes – to help business owners increase their online visibility and to help people find, engage with, and review businesses in their local area. It’s effectively the most comprehensive and accessible business directory ever created. It’s much more than just a directory though, as it’s social and interactive too.
Google+ Local pages are for businesses that serve customers primarily in their local area, with examples of types of businesses that the pages are meant for including, but not being limited to: accountants, builders, salons, couriers, dentists, driving schools, gyms, photographers, recruitment agencies, restaurants, caterers, electricians, estate agents, garages, plumbers, and solicitors.
Whenever someone is using anything Google related, and searches for something which Google determines to have local intent, such as ‘dentists London’ or ‘restaurant in Newcastle’, links to 3 Google+ Local pages will be displayed. These local business listings in Google are valuable for a few reasons:
- They’re normally located above the standard search results.
- Your business’s address and phone number is displayed alongside them.
- A direct link to your business’s location on a map is provided.
- A direct link to reviews left by your customers is provided.
When clicking through to a business’s Google+ Local page, people can see the following:
- The business’s name, address and phone number.
- A description of the business.
- The business’s location on a map.
- The business’s opening hours.
- A link to the business’s website.
- Photos and videos related to the business.
- Reviews of the business left by previous customers.
- A rating out of 5 for the business (based on scores given by previous customers).
This is an example of what a Google+ Local page looks like:
Now you know what Google+ Local is, let’s look at the reasons that your business should not just be aware of the platform, but should be actively embracing it.
For those reasons, and also because the platform is both free to use and simple to set-up, you should definitely start using Google+ Local today. The sooner you get started, the sooner your business will be visible when people in your area search for keywords relevant to your business, and the sooner you’ll start receiving a steady flow of customers from Google.