Google Plus (Maps) will help your SEO
Some businesses still aren’t set up on Google Plus (also known as Maps, Places and Google My Business) which is pretty much crazy. Often, even if they are set up, its not properly optimised, claimed or even accurate etc. Whilst its fair to say that Google never quite got this whole service right from the start as it’s very confusing, it does have the virtue of being free and can provide traffic and business all on its own. It has become very confusing due to the constant rebranding and it has had an almost never ending stream of changes, hence why so many listings are not optimised correctly. Many users are also confused between a personal page and a business page (like Facebook) except you don’t need a personal page for G+.
In fact, to benefit from maps you don’t even need a website. You can generate customers and business simply by being found in the map results of Google, their Apps and best of all, even in organic search queries that show map results. Quite why some high street businesses have not created a listing is almost baffling. The most obvious benefit if you have a site is that you can have 2 results on the first page if you are lucky, which can obviously double your chances of generating traffic and business.
Google Plus is also a social network, you can post to followers, it caters for groups, it also handles reviews and is connected to all their other services. It requires a simple verification process then you can complete your profile. The better optimised and the more info is in your listing the better your chances of appearing in the organic search.
How does Google Plus help your organic SEO?
There are many ways it can help. Posts on G+ generate their own URL’s and so increase the size of your relative index with Google. Regular posts with traffic, followers and comments can increase your organic rankings by about 15% which can make the difference between page 1 or not, let alone getting into the top 3 positions for the most traffic and highest conversion rates. In its simplest form its a verified business listing which is about as good a link as you can get, after all, its with Google themselves. Your opening hours, pictures and reviews are all easily accessible and so will be found for more search queries.
It’s really up to you how much time you use it and are active on it, but not having the basic listing is simply stupid, especially if you have a web site that ranks or is trying to rank.
How does Google Plus and Maps actually work?
G+ is essentially a business listing much like Yellow Pages etc, except that it works live and interacts with Googles own maps. Other directories have added more features and maps on their pages, but you have to be inside them to view locations. Having a G+ account means your directory is completely optimised and integrated into the maps section of the search engine results page, Googles Maps apps on mobile devices and most importantly, you may feature in the organic search results when Google chooses to display local listings. This last section varies a lot but is easily worth the most when it comes to gaining business.
When Google put map results at the top of the organic search, users can’t help but to be drawn to the top and the easy to understand graphic. We also subconsciously trust the organic results as they are not paid for and we know Google is trying to give us the highest relevancy to our search query.
Appearing here will depend on quite a lot of other factors, but it’s also possible to appear with an unclaimed and unoptimised listing.
Claimed and unclaimed makes a huge difference
To maximise your appearance in the organic search results will largely come down to how much competition there is and who got their first. Whilst you may now not have the luxury of controlling those two factors, you can help in many other ways.
Most Digital Marketing Companies are fully aware of the importance will normally include this as pert of their SEO or Social Media strategy. Google caters for admins in case you are worried about someone else using your account.
Many people can be present on G+ as someone has added their business to it so they see their pin when they look at their local area in maps or search their company name. Basically the general public can add a place of interest to maps, but this is an unverified and unoptimised listing that is often inaccurate. You must claim your listing or better still create your own account.
If you have been working on your SEO in any way then you will probably already be listed in other directories. If your name, address and phone number is consistent in these other directories (especially if they are old) then this will dramatically help your chances of increased exposure in the maps.
Completing your profile (by being verified) will also help, as will reviews, posts and any activity showing Google you are active and real. Not just a pin created by a tourist 3 years ago. Basically a verified listing that is active is a lot better, way more trustworthy and important to Google to one that isn’t. Maximising a free service is such a no brainer in todays marketing world, especially when it can benefit your SEO rankings.