Here’s a question, the answer to which could help your local business dominate key search terms, and earn a spot in the Google local 3-Pack.
What was it that took a client from barely being found 10+ pages deep for a competitive local search term two years ago to now appearing in the Google 3 Pack for those same keyword searches?
Answer: Weekly Google+ engagement
This is a bit of an oversimplification – there were other optimization steps involved as well. But the workhorse has been regular, smart, Google+ engagement that took about an hour per week, once Google+ was set up correctly.
If you’re a business that prefers to give Facebook a daily go, and ignore Google+, I recommend you give this another thought. We love Facebook and its ability to appeal to just the right person, but strategically, Google+ and Google My Business (more on that later) deserve a bigger share of marketing attention than it usually gets.
Here are a few reasons why:
- Google+, unlike Facebook, is not an advertising platform, and because it keeps its advertising platform (Google Ads) separate, it’s more of a social network than Facebook is. Google+ is much better at discovering people, useful information, and sharing stories. And it’s ability to start your communities and collections make it a fun and practical experience.
- Google will index Google+ content so it can be found in organic search results on the web. They don’t index Facebook content.
- Google loves and rewards activity on its own Google+, Google My Business, YouTube, and Google Maps ecosystem. They’re all easily connectible in synergistic ways. (Make sure they’re all showing identical NAP’s – Name, Addresses, and Phone Numbers).
- Google has made confusing missteps along the Google+ development road. But in 2017 and 2018, they have gained their footing as useful marketing tools. Learnings from their mistakes have driven noticeable improvements to all four platforms, making them more effective and easier to use.
- Marketing and sharing content on Facebook today is effective only as a pay for play game. You’ll need to run ads to get your message out. On Google+, your content actually gets shared and found, not only on the Google+ platform but in organic search results as well.
The irony is that there doesn’t seem to be the kind of social engagement in Google+ that comes with the well used Facebook platform. Everyone is on Facebook – as well they should be. But few use Google+ to its full potential, creating the marketing opportunity. Just remember it this way: Google loves to eat its own cooking. Actively engaging on Google’s platforms can give any business a competitive advantage in local search, and organic search rankings while everybody else is busy with Facebook.
This isn’t to say abandon Facebook – just add Google+ into your marketing and advertising mix.
7 Tips For Creating Google+ Content and Engagement
You may be wondering how you would ever create content or engagement every week. The good news is that creating engagement is at least as important as creating original content – and easier to do. Setting up your account well on the front end takes the most time. After that, it becomes easy to use, and improve on a regular basis.
Here are tips for frequent engagement that can improve ranking results:
- Whatever your business is, focus on the visual as much as possible. Images of customers, reviews, event videos, new employees, promotions, new products, and office pictures, are all fair game.
- Follow businesses, influential people related to your business, and share relevant posts on your page. Creating a homepage feed rich in interesting people will provide an endless amount of learning from others related to your business and a supply of content to share.
- Occasionally post helpful information related to your local community.
- Like and comment on interesting posts that other people produce. People will notice that you’re interested in building relationships and will often reciprocate. Be a bit of a curator.
- Don’t be afraid to post holiday greetings, or well wishes to people for their accomplishments.
- Start a Google+ community on topics that are useful and relevant to your customer base. You may learn some things from others who join, and it can even be a fun experience.
- Involve managers and employees in posting success stories, or product and service updates on the page.
Sometimes it will seem like a lonely path within Google+ (remember people seem to be much more active on the Facebook side), but don’t let that deter you. Google sees what you’re doing, and they’ll eventually reward your efforts with higher search rankings and maybe even a spot in the 3 pack.
That could make a huge difference in your business Why? because some studies tell us that over 90% of people don’t look beyond the first page of search results. Our client’s case proved the benefits of a focus on Google+.
Next Up: Google My Business
Finally, don’t forget to optimize other parts of Google’s ecosystem – especially Google my Business. Their improvements to this platform over the last 18 months are amazing.
I believe the formula for the successful business of the future will start with excellent products and services, supported by GMB, Google+, and Facebook marketing efforts, an outstanding online reputation, with some occasional ads. thrown in. Sounds like a lot, but they don’t have to be done all at the same time.
Stay tuned for more on this and GMB.
If you haven’t claimed, verified, or started your work with GMB yet, here’s a short video to watch:
How is your business using Google+?
Photo By Phillip Wong – http://phw.co.nz