Google+ Local Updates
Google has been making some big changes to their local business listings over the past year. Most recently, they merged Google+ and Google+ Local business listings. Google+ is Google’s social networking site, which was launched on June 28th, 2011. On it, users are able to connect with their friends, share text, photos, and videos, and utilize the messenger and Hangout (video chat) features.
Google+ Local business listings are the business listings which show up in any Google or Google Maps searches based on location. They include a business’ NAP (name, address, and phone number) and website. The listing would be marked by a location pin on the map along with any reviews a business might have. For example, if you searched for “Astonish Warwick, RI” on Google Maps, you would find this result (image in thumbnail):
On a list of the most popular social networking sites, Google+ is second only to Facebook. By merging Google+ Local business listings with Google+, the business listings will probably get a lot more traffic. Increased traffic isn’t the only perk to come out of the merge, though. Insurance agencies will no longer have to create separate Google+ pages and Google+ Local business listings, which mean they will no longer have to go through a verification process for each. On one verified Google+ Local page, you can list agency information as well as social media content. Agencies can easily build an audience by posting engaging social media content and build brand authority through user reviews and +1’s (the Google+ version of a Facebook “like”). Another bonus that is coming out of the merge is that any additions or changes you make to your business information will be approved faster!
Hopefully you see now how helpful the new, merged Google+ Local can be for your agency. It is available to new agencies already and should be available for agencies that have already created a Google+ account or Google+ Local listing within the coming months.