With a continuing effort to integrate their services with social capabilities, Google recently introduced Google+ Local, a Zagat infused Google+ tab, which will eventually replace Google Places. Google+ Local features Zagat’s 30-point score for local establishments and recommendations from your friends on Google+. Before Google acquired Zagat last year, some of the Zagat information could only be accessed for a fee. Now, all information is accessible for free.
The new Local tab will take you to a Google+ page that includes photos, Zagat scores and summaries, reviews from people you know; plus other useful information including address, website link, and opening hours for local businesses and establishments. For example, the scoring system allows users to rate different aspects of a restaurant such as quality of food, customer service, and decor.
So we know how Google+ Local will transform the world of social media, but what does the release of Google+ Local mean for businesses and real estate marketing? For local businesses, you will have to do much more than simply sign up for Google+ Local to maximize the SEO potential. There are specific actions to take in order to maximize the local SEO and real estate marketing benefits of the new Google+ Local for your website. Here’s a few to consider:
• Claim both your old Google Pages listing and your new Google+ Local page. Google+ Local listings are essentially replacing the old Pages listings. Because the transition hasn’t rolled out to all users yet, participating on both sites until the shift occurs can help insure that your online presence remains consistent.
• Link to your new Google+ Local page from your website. Also, link to your Google+ Local page on your social media sites. Doing so can get the ball rolling, conferring both a local SEO benefit to your business’s website, as well as the social boost you’ll secure by exposing your existing customers to your new Google+ Local web presence.
• Set up your Google+ account. You would assume this goes without saying, but many real estate businesses still have not joined Google+. if you haven’t already done so, now’s the time to get active on Google’s social network. Set up your own personal profile, begin adding friends, family members, and customers to your circles, and start sharing content on the site.
One of the biggest benefits to this transition will be the enhanced social sharing features available within the Google+ platform. You can only take advantage of this if you’re active on the network.
• Contact all Gmail users on your email lists. Filter your email marketing list to create a sub-list of subscribers with Gmail accounts, and then send this group a message informing readers of your new Google+ Local page. Politely request that they “+1″ your page or add you to their circles, as social signals like these are playing a larger role in SEO than ever.
• Move forward with traditional local SEO best practices. As of now, it doesn’t appear that this interface update has significantly impacted the organization of the search engine results pages. So while it’s important to undertake the actions described above to maximize your local SEO benefits, it’s also a good idea to press forward with any existing marketing campaigns that follow current industry best practices.
How do you think Google+ Local will change real estate marketing as opposed to Google Pages?
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