The Backstory—The Elimination of Google+ for Consumers
It’s rare that Alphabet—the parent organization for search giant, Google—has seen a venture experience anything less than widespread adoption. That is, except in the case of Google+. What was seen as Google’s 2011 response to the astounding growth of Facebook, Google+ was intended to act as a platform for communicating and sharing everything from content to photos to personal conversations among connections. With a large-scale initial effort put forth resulting in less-than-stellar results, eventually Google shifted resources away from the platform.
And now, with the recent announcement of a Google+ data breach, it comes as no shock that Alphabet is pulling the plug on plus. By Google’s own accounts—it was a dying platform with “90% of user sessions lasting less than five seconds.” Not a great measure for a platform designed to attract, connect and engage.
The Impact on Local Businesses
There’s no doubt that to dominate local search, businesses should ultimately be present and active on all platforms where consumers are active. Until recently, that would have included Google+ as a necessary—albeit less influential—online presence. With its small market share among social platforms, it was important to ensure your business utilized Google+, but that same small market share also meant that the impact to your business was minimal at most. The decreased focus by Google makes it near impossible for a Google+ page to even be found in the organic results of a search.
The good news is that the real power player in the Google family for local businesses is Google My Business (GMB) . If you don’t have your Google My Business listing claimed and optimized—you’re missing out. GMB is becoming increasingly important for a local business wanting to be found by consumers in search results. Here’s 3 ways to use Google My Business to your business advantage.
Announcements, Sales and Deals
Your GMB profile is a source for curating all the pertinent information about your business. Quick and frequent updates about offers sales or special events are simple to keep current. This not only keeps you relevant with customers, it keeps you relevant with Google’s search engine, so you can dominate the rankings.
If you’re any kind of frequent Google user, you’ve probably done a search for a business, service, product, etc., and seen the information for a local business show up on the search results page (separate from the listings). A photo of the business, location, phone number, hours, etc. are all listed there. This is entirely powered by a business’ GMB profile. So, you can see how your GMB profile is crucial to keeping your current and potential customers in-the-know. There’s nothing worse than a customer who arrives at your business only to find you’re closed. GMB provides a simple way to keep that information up-to-date.
Encourage and Curate Reviews
It’s no secret that online reviews are increasingly important to how your business performs on- and offline. Consumers trust online reviews nearly as much as personal recommendations, and even Google’s search algorithm places strong emphasis on reviews when ranking search results. Providing a centralized repository for this feedback, Google My Business provides credibility and visibility among consumers. Never underestimate the power of reviews to drive growth for your business.
The importance of a strong, optimized and active Google My Business profile can not be overstated. For best success, and to really dominate local search, ensure your business is fully leveraging Google My Business.
For help managing your business’ Google My Business profile, or for questions on Google My Business, contact us.