3 Ways to Increase You Local Google+ Visibility

Increasing Google+ Visability

It’s no secret that in the world of marketing, everything is going local.

With constant changes to Google algorithms playing havoc with the modern day marketing department, businesses of all sizes are having to find new ways to drive traffic to their websites. But it doesn’t all have to be about paid search listings or organic SEO.

Formally known as Google Places, a Google+ for Business page is one of the best ways you can be found by your customers. With people turning to the search engines to find local businesses and services; you need to increase your local Google+ visibility to tap into this lucrative market.

Google+ for Business Pages in the organic SERPs

There are two ways you could – and should – be including Google+ in your marketing mix:

With the search engines placing more weight than ever on social signals, can you really afford to miss the boat?

Here, we’re going to focus on optimising and increasing the visibility of your local Google+ for Business listing. With users typically only paying attention to the results above the fold, you need to make sure your website – in one form or another – is ranking here.  These are three ways you can increase your local Google+ visibility:

  1. Claim a location

The Google Venice update has already gone a long way to enhance local search. Without the need for users to be logged in, the search engine uses your ip address to draw local results for searches. By changing the location – in the left side bar – you can see a whole new set of results.

A Google+ for Business page can help you tap into this market, but you need to claim your location.

To make sure your brand page shows up for local searches, you should use Schema Markup to make sure your business address and local telephone number appear prominently on the page. This should correspond to the details on your website itself, and can quickly and easily be marked up via Google Webmaster Tools:

  1. Log into your account and click ‘Search Appearance’, and ‘Data Highlighter’ from the dropdown
  2. Click ‘Start Highlighting’ and add your business URL, choosing the ‘Local Businesses’ option from the drop down. Make sure ‘Tag this page and others like it’ is also selected
  3. Webmaster Tools will then pull in your website homepage, and ask you to highlight your business name, address and telephone number. It will then pull in a second page and try to find this information. Correct it where you need to, and click ‘Save’
Adding local data via Webmaster Tools

Once you have completed all of this, you can create your Google+ for Business page. If you operate out of multiple locations, you will need to create a page for each location and mark them up in this way.

  1. Be a local brand

Having a prominent SERP presence isn’t always enough to drive clicks. You need to become a local, recognised brand. One of the ways you can do this is by ensuring your website appears in the Knowledge Graph when a user searches for your name.

Example of the Knowledge Graph

This is easy enough to do, and helps you prove to Google that you’re a local brand.

To do this, you need to add the rel=publisher tag to your website homepage. You can do this via the Yoast plug-in on your Wordpress CMS. Simply head to the ‘Titles and Metas’ option within Yoast, and include the link to your Google+ for Business page. You should then make sure that your Google+ page includes a link back to your website in the links section.

Again, it is still possible to utilise this when you have multiple locations. Simply link your rel=publisher tag from your homepage to each of your relevant Google+ for Business local pages.

  1. Authorship

Google authorship is a great way to increase the click-through rate of your blog content. This not only protects your content, but adds a personal edge and has been proven to encourage website visits. This is another great way to increase your Google+ visibility, and make the most of your local presence.

Google Authorship in action

To do this, add the rel=author tag to your web pages. Writers with separate accounts on your blog can do this via the Users option in the admin; all you need to do is add your personal Google+ URL. You then need to include your website link in the ‘Authors’ section of your Google+ page, and wait for Google to refresh its data.

Google+ may have been largely ignored when it was first introduced, but it is becoming more and more integral in business marketing. Whatever your business size, and whatever audience you’re trying to attract, increasing your local visibility in this way can provide a much needed boost to your website.

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