As site owners and bloggers it’s very important for us to make sure that we are always improving our own online reputations and those of our sites. A blog or any business’ online reputation is often influenced by how well it optimizes the web and social platforms available. There are countless factors that come into play such as creating search engine-friendly content, smoothing out a webpage’s back-end coding structure, and appearing in guest blogs. However, it is important to note for small, hometown businesses that what is online is just as important as word of mouth marketing.

As mobile gains an edge, search engines are pushing for local, location-based results for queries. This way, users are able to utilize onboard apps for tracking down a storefront, finding contact info and calling directly from a page, and checking out online reviews. One of the best ways to optimize for this market, according to a recent article on Search Engine Watch, is to play up Google+ Local and Places.

Google Places for Business

The Place for Business

Google Places is a way to add business listings to search queries. More likely than not, any given business will already show up in one aspect or another. But like with any other Web-based marketing tactic, it is important for you to take complete control of how people find and view your company. First, Places has companies provide accurate contact information before entering a verification process.

Businesses also have the opportunity to register for AdWords directly through Place’s Business Bungalow, or control panel. AdWords is a pay-per-click service that can help a company’s inorganic search results by pulling up a listing in a query. You’re able to target demographics and adapt keywords to changing markets, but business’ will find these campaigns expensive without natural, organic search results power.

 

Local Focal Points

Google+ Local is more of a social media platform than a listing service. However, every scrap of exposure helps in the long run. By creating a business page/profile, you are able to circle up with industry-related companies and connect with consumers just like you would on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. However, unlike these other social media platforms, Local is Google-friendly. When an everyday user queries a search for a clothing store in their area, for example, results with Local tie-ins increases the chance of upping page rankings. But as mentioned before, it is important for companies to cover all of their bases instead of counting on one service rather than another.

Google Local

The Rule of Two

For almost every enterprise out there, it is helpful to register both Local profiles and Place listings. The more control you have over your own brand’s positive online exposure the better. In essence, both platforms allow companies to share business NAP info (as in name, address, and phone numbers), company images, comments, and reviews. According to Search Engine Watch, the most important feature out of the two are Google Map listings, an advantage even Web-based businesses can use by adding URLs and consumer ratings.

Whether you are an online blog, personal brand or a land based local business, be sure to take advantage of all the link building and branding opportunities you have at hand to better improve your reach and reputation online.