What You Need to Know About the Latest Google+ Local Updates

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Have you logged in to your Google+ Local listing lately? There have been some major changes!

Last year Google Local and Google+ began merging to form the Google+ Local business listings. This allowed businesses to create a more robust local business profile that would appear on Google Maps.

Flash forward to 2013 and Google is still improving on the system – much to the benefit of business owners. For once, the cries for new features and settings are being heard and implemented!

Of major note is that Google is now allowing office locations with multiple professionals at that address to have separate Google+ Local listings – a huge help to law firms with multiple attorneys! So let’s take a look at what your business needs to know about the improved Google+ Local and search optimization.

Fix Those Multiple Listings and Gather Your Team under One Roof

Your law firm has multiple attorneys but only one physical address. In the past with plain Google Local, this was a problem. The rough solution was to create multiple listings with “The Smith Law Firm, (attorney name)” or “(attorney name) at The Smith Law Firm” as the business name. The big problems here were that Google would either reject the listing because of the business name, or because the listing didn’t have a unique contact (meaning it listed the main phone number for the law firm).

Google+ Local saw the problem this created for law firms, medical facilities and other establishments that may have several professionals working from a single address or suite. In early 2013, the rules changed and businesses can now list multiple departments at one address. This works for more than just law firms and doctors – if your business has a sales team and a marketing department, you can list them as separate Google+ Local places.

The caveat to the ability to create these multiple listings is that you still have to list unique contact information for each partner/doctor/department. For example, if you have attorney John Doe who handles your car accident claims, you’d create a listing for his department with his direct phone line, website link to that practice area page, and his e-mail address. Attorney Jane Doe who handles the defective product cases would have her own division listing with that practice area’s web URL, Jane’s direct phone number, and Jane’s e-mail.

We’re Learning More about How Google Looks at Google+ Local Search Optimization

Until recently, local search optimization has been a bit of a mystery to Internet marketers. Google’s been fairly open about how their search algorithms, Penguin and Panda, have affected search engine result pages (SERPs), but hasn’t given much word on the impact they have on their local business listings.

Google’s hush-hush attitude on their local search ranking has left local search optimization services like ours to develop their own theories and best practices. Currently, We Do Web Content has found the following tips to be the most beneficial to enhancing Google+ Local listings:

  • Make sure your primary keyword is in the title and Google+ Page description.
  • Good SEO strategies that make your web page a relevant authority.
  • Use the automatic business categories that Google suggests before you start creating custom categories.
  • Priority is given to Google+ Local listings that have customer reviews.
  • Fully developed Google+ Pages are considered more relevant and therefore better ranked.

There’s one main tactic to take advantage of these tips: LOCAL SEARCH OPTIMIZATION!

While the main info content on your Google+ Page is limited to only a few short text fields, it’s still important to target your keywords in the right places. Make sure before you perform your local search optimization that you’ve got a primary and at least a secondary keyword in mind.

If you want to rank for “Colorado personal injury attorney” you want to lead your Google+ Page with “Colorado Personal Injury Attorney – Steve Smith” and start your description with something like, “Looking for a Colorado personal injury attorney with more than 20 years experience?”

The relevancy and overall authority of your page is determined by a number of factors, including inbound/outbound links, author tags, and the overall SEO health of your content. Google loves pages that link to authoritative sites (.gov, .edu, high ranking sites) and that get linked to by such sites. They also place emphasis on whether or not you have author tags set up (a topic we’ll be discussing in future blogs). Finally, and as we’ve always said, SEO content is the best content! If you’re using relevant keywords, write quality content, and provide useful information, you’ll help improve the authority and relevancy of the page.

You can choose to list up to four unique business categories, but we’ve found that Google prefers when businesses use their existing categories. When Google categorizes a local listing they want to categorize it as quickly and accurately as possible. Their programs can do this much easier when listings use their pre-determined categories rather than a unique category which is more ambiguous.

Our final tip has to do with the completeness of your Google+ Local listing. If you’re not adding pictures, videos, and all your vital information you’re missing out on opportunities to show customers why your business is the best. Above all, the one thing that no Google+ Local listing is complete without is a review. In fact, the more the merrier – Google sees listings with multiple reviews and determines that it must be a listing worth ranking in search results. If customers are taking the time to talk about that business, it must be relevant!

We Offer More Help for Google+ Local Search Optimization!

Don’t have time to be requesting listing verification post cards or managing all of your attorneys in your new law firm department listings? Let We Do Web Content do the work for you!

Our local business listing services put your company on the map in your local area, helping make sure you’re getting the attention of relevant, local customers. Contact us today and get in touch with our sales team to learn what We Do Web Content can do for you! Call 888-594-5442.