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How to Take Advantage of Changes to Google+ Local

After the recent merging of Google Local and Google+, many of our clients were left with questions about Google’s plans for their practice’s listings. The Rosemont Review asked our senior consultants about what to do with the changes to Google+ Local.

Google+ is the Future of Business Listings

Rosemont Review: With the recent changes to Google+ and Local, what’s the single most important thing our clients need to know?
Reps: At the end of day, Google’s goal is to present searches with the most relevant content to the user. Google is always striving to improve search and the user experience.
Now in order to accomplish this they are tapping into social media and Google+ is their social media platform. With the recent migration of over 80 million Places listings to Google+, clients are going to have to engage with patients on Google+. We should think of Google+ as our new interactive business listing complete with a “wall” for publicity updates, photo section and ratings and reviews area.

Maintain your Google+ Profile to Keep Search Positioning

Rosemont Review: What are clients’ single biggest concern about these changes?
Reps: With all the recent migration there’s been a lot of innacuracies in regards to listings on Google Maps. Clients are also concerned they will lose their positioning on traditional Google search.
Luckily, Google is addressing the glitches. But remember, things are going to continue to change so we should be ready to adapt to future changes by Google.
As for ranking in Google searches, there are a number of variables that dictate the “ABC” map listings in seach results. In the future, your position may be affected by the number of reviews and amount of activity on your Google+ page and geographic positioning related to the search. That is why is it important to maintain your Google+ page.

Encourage Reviews and Engage Your Customers Through Google+

Rosemont Review: Give us three things clients should be taking advantage of to ensure they’re successful on Google’s platform.
Reps: The three things clients should be doing on Google+ are:
1. Reviews: Clients should encourage reviews by customers on Google+. Soon, the only way to write a review on Google will be through a Google+ account. So educate your patients on the process of writing a review and start to build your review portfolio on Google+.
2. Be engaging on Google+: Add photos, fill out the “About” section, post news as it happens. Your patients expect your profile to be complete. An ignored business listing won’t help your practice’s reputation while a responsive, updated listing will build customer loyalty and brand awareness.
3. Merge Google+ business page with Google Local: Below is an example of the future of business listings on Google+. It is basically a social media page complete with ratings and reviews which the owners can’t control, but it includes tabs for posts, photos, and videos that the business can update.

Google+ is Referencing Your Friends’ Reviews in Searches

Rosemont Review: Is it important for clients to consider Google+? Why or why not?
Reps: It is imperative for all business owners to begin using Google+, it is more powerful than Google Local and is going to be the future of business listings on Google.
Another thing Google has added to Google+ is displaying friends’ ratings relating to the search terms. If you look in the example below, a restaurant search in Google+ turned up not only the listing, but reviews from the user’s Google+ friends who had been to those restaurants. Users are more likely to trust reviews by friends and this can be a powerful tool for gaining new customers. This is also why customers should be encouraged to leave reviews, so the reviews appear when their connections on Google+ do searches.

Complete Your Google+ Profile Now

Rosemont Review: When should clients consider Google+?
Reps: Clients should be using Google + right now. Focus on filling out your practice’s Google+ Local and when Google enables consolidation of business pages with Google+ your customers will have a completed profile to welcome their searches. It is unknown when Google will enable consolidation of business pages with Google+, so it is better to be prepared now then play catch-up with a blank profile and missing out on potential leads.

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