Google Plus and Local Search

Google just released it’s highly anticipated switch from “Google Places” to “Google+ Local” and the implications for your business are dire. Understanding how these changes work will provide you with a head start and, very possibly, a unique competitive advantage   You can connect to all of our insurance internet marketing information on our site.                                                                                 

Google Pages to Google+ Local If you don’t already have a Google + account and a Google Business page you should stop reading this and go set one up right now. Google recently placed a “Local” tab on the left hand side of user’s browsers so users can click and instantly see any insurance agencies in their immediate area. These pages are ranked by review scores with a special weight given to a user’s friends and family’s ratings.

With just one listing your business will be found across Google searches, Google+, maps, and mobile apps. In addition, your customers can read about your agency, write a review, and recommend that people do business with you.

One listing for multiple platforms is critically important especially since 50% of all insurance agency searches are coming from mobile phones. Without a Google + Business Page, you could potentially be missing out on half of the relative agency searches in your area.

One my favorite features of Google + for Business is that these Local pages will be indexed. This means that they show up in organic search results just like your webpage. Imagine having your webpage, Google + Business page and your blog show up on page one of the search engine result page. The chances of someone finding you increases exponentially. This is a big deal. It’s another legitimate way that you can own the page.

So What Should You Do?

As mentioned, get a Google + Business Page if you don’t already have one. Then, take advantage of the new page building features that Google is allowing with Local.

• Post more pictures
• Manage your profile and keep it lively with the new streamlined look.
• Host “hangouts” to boost attendance
• Post more updates for increased interaction to stay fresh in customer’s minds

This last point is so vital because your business will now be found by digital word of mouth. The more people are talking good about you, the better off your business will be. The key is likes, pluses and reviews.
So, how do you do it? Find a unique and fun way to have your customers rate your business on the Google + channel. We know one agency that offers a gas card at the top of every hour when people take out their phones and rate the agency. Another idea is to offer a small discount for family members or friends who have rated your business. Just have the customer come into your office showing that Local has recommended your business and receive 5% off (where permitted) or a free gas card.
Lets us know what’s working for you.