Picture of SEO Cube

Source: Flickr – SEOPlanter

In a post on Tuesday, Jenn looked at what makes Google Plus unique in the social media world, as well as reasons why you should be using Google Plus for your business. One reason listed in that post is SEO – so let’s explore that a little more.

What is SEO?

SEO is just an acronym for Search Engine Optimization, but you probably already knew that. What it really means is that your business is listed when someone searches for you, your industry, products, or services. SEO is often talked about with regards to website design/content. It’s becoming more prevalent and relevant in regards to social media because business social profiles sometimes pull up before their websites do. Depending on your business, this can be a good or bad thing. If you are a small business with local customers, it’s not the worst thing – and here’s why.

Changes to Google Business Pages

Over the past couple of years Google has made significant changes to their business pages. They recently integrated business pages into Google Plus, giving a much more complete profile of the company, simplifying profile management, and connecting customers and businesses more fluidly. This last part is the one that really matters in this discussion.

Showing up in Search

There’s no doubt that social media is great for direct referrals. When someone posts a picture of himself eating at a restaurant and how great the food is, then his friends see it and think, I want to try that place. That’s a direct, clear referral. There’s no question that every business owner wants that! However, there’s also great, growing power in referrals through search relevancy. Facebook is using their Graph Search function to harness this power, and Google is doing it through their Google search function. We know who’s winning that search battle now, and probably in the future.

Since Google is still the de facto search provider, it only stand to reason that you should take advantage of any potential you have to move up their rankings. Connecting with people on Google Plus is an immediate way to do that. If someone has your business in his Google Plus circles, you are more likely to land on the first page of his search list. Your business will also have a symbol next to your Meta description, a clear indication that you stand out from the other search results.

Doing More

Because Google integrated local business pages with Google Plus, people can now rate and review your establishment from within their own Google Plus account. Get 10 reviews and you will start to move up the search list for all local searches.

Another way your business connects with customers in a search is that Google allows people to search only for place that their friends like. This can be done either from a computer or through the Google Local smartphone app. Not only can they find you that way, but if your Google Plus profile is completed correctly, these potential customers can connect with you with one click of a button through a phone call, a map to your location, or a link to your website.

Learn more about the features of Google Local from their website: http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/local/

If you’re wondering how to optimize your profile to take advantage of these features for your business, contact us and we’ll be happy to help. It’s past time for your local business to be on Google Plus with a Local Business Page. So don’t hesitate. Get on board now.

Even though this post is only focused on Google as the search engine of choice, you should not overlook the importance of others, notably Bing and Yahoo when assessing your SEO strategy and effectiveness. Google is on top now, but the internet is built on disruptive innovation. Be prepared for anything.

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