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Small and medium business owners have been told for years that claiming and maintaining a Google Plus Local page is vital to online marketing success.
Up until recently, Google Local worked hand-in-hand with Google Search, which meant businesses could potentially rank higher on search results just by having an updated Google Plus Local page. This also gave businesses the ability to draw nearby customers in by providing key information such as location, directions, phone numbers, and hours of operation.
But now that Google has been separating Google Plus pages from local search listings, is it still worth it to have a Google Plus Local page?
While claiming and maintaining a Google Plus Local page may no longer be as important as it once was, the practice of local page optimization is still a great way to gain qualified leads.
The way Google is presenting your information is different, but the same local optimization rules apply. There are always ways to tweak your current marketing strategies to make them relevant to ever-changing social and digital platforms.
If someone clicks through to your website, you want to make sure the landing page you’re sending them to is relevant to increase the chance that the person will convert into a lead for your business. If your target audience is located within your service area, they are more likely to buy your products or services. It just makes sense.
At Blue Corona, it’s our job to stay on top of digital marketing trends, so we’ve already done some research of our own to alter our strategies for local optimization in light of Google’s recent changes.
Here’s what we found:
Google Generates Map Listings Rather than Local Plus Pages
Let’s say you own a Mexican restaurant in Charlotte, NC. A hungry person who is craving unlimited chips and salsa in the Charlotte area might search for:
That particular search query yields the following results:
When you click on the first listing, here’s what you get:
Instead of interacting directly with your Google Plus page, the general public can now view your local business information through this new Local Finder page (after clicking on the local 3-pack). Essentially, your new Google business listing page is your Google Maps listing.
As a result of this change, any features that were previously supported through your Google Plus Local page are no longer available. This includes reviews, stars, categories, photo uploads, app integration, and more.
So how do we take all this information and use it to our advantage?
1. Update Your Google My Business Dashboard
For now, the most important thing you can do in terms of local optimization is update your Google My Business Dashboard. This data will still feed to all the different Google interfaces, including Google Maps—and in turn, local Google search listings.
2. Clean Up Any Broken Links
You may notice that any links that have previously directed viewers to your Google Plus page are now broken. It’s important to locate and clean up any broken links to ensure your site remains as user-friendly as possible.
3. Use a Link Generator to Get Reviews
Since reviews are no longer a part of the Google Plus experience, you can’t send customers there to leave reviews. But reviews are still important, so you need to make sure you’re still providing a way for customers to leave feedback.
For now, you can use Google Review Link Generator, which creates a link that allows your online visitors to leave reviews for your services.
4. Stay on Top of the Trends
There is no way to know when the next Google update will be, and how it will affect your current marketing strategies. To make the most your online presence, you should stay on top of current trends and build effective strategies accordingly.
Need Help Keeping Up with Changes in Online Marketing?
Most business owners don’t have the time to keep up with digital marketing trends so they can optimize their strategies. In a world that relies heavily on the Internet to find and purchase products and services, you absolutely need to make the most of your online presence.
If you think your digital marketing strategies could use improvement, contact Blue Corona, or enter your URL into the form below for a free assessment of your website.
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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