Why You Need a Google+ Local Strategy

Some of you might have recently heard that the Google+ Local app for iPhone is being retired because almost nobody was using it. This might leave some of you thinking that Google+ Local is a waste of time. This is the opposite of the reality.


The truth is, while less than 1 percent of iPhone owners were using the Google+ Local app, a staggering 35 percent of them use the Google Maps app, and all of the Google+ Local features are being ported over to Google Maps.

Google Maps is by far the most popular platform that people use to find local businesses, no matter what device they are searching from.

For better or worse, Google has decided that Google+ Local is where Google Maps gets most of its information. The reviews, the business profiles, it’s all being poured into Google+ as Google Places falls by the wayside. If you learn to leverage this fact, you can dramatically improve your visibility in Google Maps, as well as Google’s main search results.

Ignore it, and you will go unnoticed.

Making the Most of Google+ Local Reviews

In addition to citations (copies of your business name and contact info) and links (either to your website or your Google+ Local page), reviews have tremendous impact on your visibility in Google and Google Maps.

Google Maps App

On top of that, it should be obvious that reviews in Google+ will also impact people’s first impression of your business, especially since that information will now be plainly visible in Google Maps. Furthermore, Google+ Local reviews now pop up on the same page in Google’s main search, rather than opening in a new window.

So how can you encourage more, and more favorable, reviews on Google+ Local?

We recently discussed the impact of customer service on Yelp reviews. This applies here as well. Customer service plays a bigger part in positive reviews than anything else, including your products. That’s just as true for retail as it is for restaurants. You absolutely must be nice, helpful, and friendly to your customers if you expect to get positive reviews.

Here are a few tips when it comes to encouraging reviews:

  • Don’t talk about Google+ Local. Even Google has realized what terrible branding that is. Mention Google Maps instead. Everybody’s heard of that.
  • Talk to family and friends. You don’t want to burn through your whole personal network in the first week, but there’s no harm in asking these people to contribute to your online profile (as long as they don’t come across like salespeople).
  • If you regularly email customers with helpful content (and you should), then it’s a good idea to include a link to your Google+ Local page to encourage reviews.
  • Train your employees to politely ask for reviews when they notice that a customer is especially pleased with their service.
  • Include CTAs on your website that direct visitors to review your business

Remember, it’s becoming increasingly common for a consumer’s first impression of your business to occur online or through an app, and that’s almost always through Google Maps. People trust reviews form people like them more than anything you can possibly say, so don’t let these opportunities slip by.

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