When someone uses Google to search for a business such as 'Florist Epsom' (and over 80% of internet consumers search by adding a place name to their search) the search results will appear something like the screen grab below.
As you can see on the right there is a map of the local area with red dots and red pins in it. These red pins correspond to the grey pins in the list of local results on the left.
The results in the light coloured box and in the right hand column are pay-per-click adwords adverts (which we can also help you set up if you require, but ignore them for now).
Woods Florist have done well to be at the top of the list. Because they have a website and a Places page you can click "Woods Florist - Flower Delivery/Florists" to go to their website or click "5 Google Reviews" to go to their Google+ Local page and read what reviews people have posted about their service. You can read reviews people have posted directly to their Google+ Local page and also click links to reviews people have posted to other review sites.
More and more people are using these review sites to find out if a company provides a good product or service before doing business with them.
It is very important that people can find your business online for local search and that you are managing your online reputation, ensuring you have good reviews, otherwise it can cost your business dearly! Google+ lets you post a response to reviews underneath them as the business owner & it is good to do this, especially if you have been left a negative review, to try and solve issues customers may have.
A quick word of warning though, as anyone can post reviews online, it is important to fix any issues people may complain about before marketing your business!
Although it is not too difficult to add your business to the Google Maps in order to be listed, it is time consuming and requires some knowledge of how the search engines work in order for your website to be easily found by customers actually looking for you.
At Indigo Marmoset we specialise in promoting local companies here in Surrey on the Google Maps feature and we can greatly improve your visibility online. This will significantly increase the chances of your website being found by potential customers actually looking for a business like yours, who will be eager to do business with you.
We have created 3 packages to help you get more local business. Check them out on the right.
Call us on 01737 350 389 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Do not be tempted you add your own positive fake reviews to your business listing as Google will catch you and penalise or remove your listing for doing this.
It can take up to 10 weeks for Google to list a brand new Google+ Local page.
It is now going to be even more important to get happy customers who have Google+ accounts to leave reviews on your Google+ Local page and potentially for you to interact with the people leaving reviews. This is because of the social nature of Google+ which can be exploited for the benefit of your business.
So for example, if I am searching for a local pizza restaurant using Google and I am signed in to my Google+ account, the search results will be personalised and if any of my contacts in my circles have left a review of any of the local pizza restaurants, I will be able to see this. If a friend has left a good review I am likely to trust this and check the place out. After I have visited the pizza restaurant I can leave a review and also +1 share the place with my contacts in my Google+ circles if I liked it.
So you can begin to see the advantage of getting lots of good reviews from different people, as your business will get in front of all of their contacts who are searching for a similar product or service and your customers can recommend your business to their friends so it becomes viral.
You now have to have a Google+ account in order to leave reviews and you have to have a Google+ account to manage your Google+ Local page. So Google is forcing everyone to adopt Google+.