google+I have a confession to make.  I hate Google+.  Thanks to some business connections, I was among the first to receive an invitation when the service launched, and at the time, I was excited to give it a try.  Two years later, I find myself as unimpressed as I was when I first logged in.  As social networking sites go, G+ is cumbersome and inconvenient.

Looking at Google’s social media history, one could speculate that the company just doesn’t have a knack for that particular sector.  Buzz only hung around for a year, Friend Connect survived a bit longer but folded last year, and Orkut has been pawned off entirely to Google Brazil.  Google+, on the other hand, is poised to succeed.

Why?  The answer is simple.  Google hasn’t made its newest social network better than any other.  They’ve simply made it count for more.

Today, local businesses must maintain a Google+ Local Business Profile in order to – quite literally – put themselves on the map.  Google’s algorithms also emphasize the importance of a Plus page to improve your rankings in organic search and generate visibility on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.  Like it or not, today’s most successful online marketing strategy will incorporate Google+.    

How does it work?  Google Plus Local Business Profiles are designed to act as dynamic listings for your company, and a strategically designed listing has the potential to

  • Establish your brand as an authority via +1’s and positive user reviews.
  • Improve your rankings in Google’s organic search results.
  • Present your company on mobile devices to searchers who are statistically likely to patronize your business.  

Your Google+ listing literally puts you on the map, and optimizing your profile with fresh content, reviews, and +1’s will keep you there.  Outrank your competitors, make yourself available to shoppers on-the-go, and establish yourself as an authority to Google users and search robots alike.  

It all starts with a verified listing which will confirm business details like location, phone number, and website.  From there, you can enhance your Plus page with photos, logos, product information, categories, and more.  Once that’s done, you can start accumulating keyword-rich reviews, +1’s, followers, and shares to increase your authority as a relevant business in your location.      

Getting set up with Google+ is easy, and as local search continues to dominate the market, it might just be the most important thing you do for your business this year – like it or not! 

(image: AHMAD FAIZAL YAHYA / Shutterstock.com)