Did you know over 300 million people are currently active on Google’s Social Media platform, Google+?  Internationally, Google+ is considered the second most used social media platform seen in over 31 markets – the largest of which is the United States, followed by India.

Don’t forget that Google+ IS Google!  When it comes to the world of social media, Google+ rules over all other social media platforms.

The activity seen on your Google+ profile directly effects your search results.  Every ounce of interaction – +1s, comments, shares, and reviews – add up to a major factor in how Google continues to measure site relevancy.  After all, an obviously active website, with a proper Google Local listing, proves that the site is trustworthy through consistent engagement.

Your business should be on Google+!

Without question, even if none of your customers have a personal account on Google+, Google+ is the way of the future and an undeniable force in search engine optimization.

I bet, at this point, you’re asking why Google+ is so important?  That’s a great question!

Consider this scenario.  You are a dentist.  Someone has recently moved to a new part of the city, far from their previous dentist.  They have a dental emergency.  In extreme pain, they instantly turn to their phone and type in, “Dentist in City Name.”  You know what happens next?  Google pushes local listings to the top of those results based on a mix of shortest distance to travel and highest reviews.  Where do these results come from?  I bet you know where I am going with this… Google+!

While previously, Google Local listings were managed separate from Google+.  As Google+ grows in activity it becomes the central point for all Google Business products.  Hence Google’s recent update, Google My Business.  You can read more about that here.

Today, if you want to list your business on Google so you can show up at the top of the SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) when users search locally, you need to open up a Google+ page for your business.

How do I list my business on Google+?

You’ll need a Gmail address.  Once you’ve logged into the address you want to use at Gmail.com, you’ll type into your browser: plus.google.com.

Here, you’ll be taken to a window that will automatically encourage you to sign up for a personal Google+ account.  Go through the steps if you don’t yet have an a personal account.

If you already have a personal account or you’ve completed the steps to create one, then you can continue to creating a Google+ page for your business.

Make sure you are still logged in to your personal Google+ account (this account will become the Owner of your Google business page), you’ll want to go to this link https://plus.google.com/pages/create to create your business page.

What type of Google+ page should my business have?

At this point, you’ll need to choose between Storefront, Service Area, and Brand.  Keep in mind that many businesses manage more than one page.  One reason you may need to have more than one page is if you have a Brand established for your business, yet you still serve multiple locations.

For example, Dunkin Donuts is a well known brand throughout the world!  You can view their verified brand page here: https://plus.google.com/+Dunkin-Donuts/

However, if you find yourself in Berlin craving a Berliner (jelly donut) you’re likely to type into Google: Dunkin Donuts Berlin.

Here, you’ll see at the top of the SERP a link to the Berlin Dunkin Donuts  listing on Google.  This is where you’ll find individual Store Front listings, managed now through Google+.  Users will be able to review individual locations through their listings page.

The same goes for a company that operates within a Service Area such as a plumber or electrician.  The only major difference between a Storefront and a Service Area page is found by asking yourself – Do I go to the customer (Service Area) or does the customer come to me (Storefront)?

How do I verify my Google+ is the real one?

Once you have chosen the proper category for your page, you will be guided through the process to set up a Google+ profile for your business.  This process includes the steps needed to verify your business through Google.

In short, to verify your Storefront location or Service Area, you’ll be prompted to enter in an address for your business and Google will send you a pin number to your given business address.  You’ll then, go to the given URL (on the postcard you receive) and verify your business location with the pin number located on the postcard.

For all page types, in order to verify that you own the brand you are representing, you’ll need to include a given line of HTML code in the header of your website’s homepage.  Google will detect this code and give your Google+ page a little check mark next to the business name, indicating for all to see that you’re profile is verified.

From that point forward, if you choose to create more business pages for multiple service areas, all you need to do is enter your already verified website URL and that page will automatically pop up as a verified page. In other words, you won’t need to add a line of code for every business page in order to ensure the respective Google+ page appears verified.

Once your Google listing is completely filled out via your Google+ business profile and your website is verified, you’ll begin to show higher in local search results.  The best part about that is, local search results are always shown at the top of your search engine results.  For that, we jump for joy!

For more information on creating and verifying a local business on Google+, visit the Google My Business help center article here.

For more information on linking your website to your Google+ profile, visit the Google My Business help center article here.

Have a question about local listings and/or Google+?  Let us know in the comments below!