When certain search phrases are used, Google can infer that people are looking for local businesses by understanding the business type and geographic location. For example, someone searching for “Raleigh nail salon” is clearly looking for a hair / nail salon to visit in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Google can come to the same conclusion when someone who is sitting in the Raleigh area (Google has a pretty decent idea of your physical location when you perform a search) types in “nail salon” without specifying a geographic location.

local business google

When these certain phrases are searched on, they trigger a Google+ listing. This listing is typically just below the paid ads and just above the normal “organic” search engine listings. It consists of a map and push pin type markers that identify the businesses and where they are. These can be VERY powerful listings as they look like enhanced yellow page ads with the phone number prominently displayed.

Google+ optimization consists of all the tactics, strategies and efforts to ensure that your company will show up in the top of Google+ when it is triggered by certain search phrases (and the research to determine exactly what the target phrases should be).

GOALS:

  • Find the best search phrases to target

  • Ensure that your company shows up at the top of Google+ when the search phrases you’re targeting are searched for

HOW DOES IT WORK?:

Finding the correct search phrases to target is normally done through proprietary software. The goal is to examine historical search volume and trends to determine what search phrases are searched for the most that trigger a Google+ listing.

After the search phrases are decided on (normally 1-3 are picked as targets), the actual Google+ optimization process can be started. There are two components to the optimization process, the business listing itself and citation building. The business listing must be “claimed” and set up properly in order to target the search phrases you’ve identified.

This will ensure that your site is “considered” for that search phrase. Once your site is under consideration for the targeted phrases, we must ensure that it shows up near the top. This process is very similar to search engine optimization in that it can be thought of as a popularity contest. The big difference however, is that instead of backlinks from other sites being the “votes”; Google+ optimization uses citations. Citations are simply reviews and mentions from other business directory sites such as Yelp, Citysearch, Yahoo local, Angie’s list etc.

Google+ Optimization

RETURN ON INVESTMENT:

  • New customers – Google+ optimization is typically a great way to attract new customers as people search for products and services that they’re interested in and will come across your site. In addition, Google+ optimization is critical in order to be found through searchers using smartphones.

  • Keep existing customers – Not normally as powerful here, however, many people use Google as their yellow pages/address book. For example, a searcher (in Raleigh North Carolina) may be an existing customer of Nancy’s nail salon who wants to make her next appointment. Instead of having the salon’s number handy, she searches for “raleigh nail salon” assuming Nancy’s will pop right up. If it does, everything is great for Nancy. Otherwise, if some other place shows up, she may be tempted to try elsewhere.

  • Increase revenue from each sale – There is usually not much of an impact here from Google+ optimization.