These days, it’s pretty much a no-brainer for businesses to claim – at the very least – a Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn company page. A strong social media presence can not only help build your brand but may also start affecting your SEO.
So what about Google+? Is it just a sad, wannabe version of Facebook you should leave in the corner?
So is Google+ important then?
A resounding yes.
Believe it or not, Google+ has immense business benefits. Unlike other social media platforms, Google+ company pages appear directly in organic results and can actually impact how your customers see your business on search.
So how does Google+ actually benefit businesses?
Google+ reviews influence customers’ purchasing decisions
Think back on your middle school days. Remember when a popular kid would buy a new pair of sneakers, and a week later, everyone was bugging their parents to buy them that same pair? Online reviews work in a similar fashion.
It’s a simple matter of psychology. People like popular things, so it comes as no surprise that customers’ trust is based on other people’s opinions.
Let’s take a look at an example.
Which looks more appealing to you: the restaurant with near-perfect ratings or the one without?
(I’m going to assume you said the restaurants with the star ratings)
First of all, the star ratings on the search results page caught my eye and drew my attention to those businesses. Additionally, based on my own experience as a consumer, positive customer reviews positively influence my purchasing decisions. I am more likely to buy from a business that other people trust.
And I’m not alone in this.
Recent studies show that 90 percent of consumers admit that their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews.
Therefore, positive Google+ reviews directly correlate with increased customer trust and can lead to more site visits and sales.
Google+ impact your local rankings
While on-page site signals are still the most important ranking factors for local searches, Google+ page and online reviews account for large portions of off-site local ranking signals (see the below chart for overall local search ranking factors).
Let’s analyze the pieces a bit further.
Google My Business – Google’s new name for Google+ business pages – accounts for 14.7% of your local rankings. This means that having a well-optimized Google+ page is an important ranking factor for local businesses.
Reviews account for 9.8% of your ranking. While reviews are not limited to just Google+ reviews, as I explained above, Google+ reviews can be seen directly on the first page of search results.
This is important, because it essentially cuts out the middle party. Users no longer have to click through to a site like Yelp or YP to see customer reviews. They see the reviews when they’re already searching and will decide right then and there whether they’ll go to your site and search elsewhere.
Google+ posts are indexed
Unlike other social media platforms, Google’s search bots actively crawl Google+ posts. This means that Google+ posts are indexed at a faster rate than posts from Facebook and Twitter and can thus appear as a listing on search results pages.
Why is this important?
So you know how we’re always saying that SEO in 2015 means publishing high-quality site content that Google can index? Well, think of your Google+ posts as indexable content that ranks well on search results. Google+ posts provide another avenue to explore to get your content out there for prospects to discover and click through to your site and services.
So, what does this all mean?
Regardless of whether your business is national or local, you can’t ignore Google My Business when creating your social media pages. Google+ is highly valuable SEO and social media marketing tool that can help your business improve local rankings, build your brand, and make your business look amazing on search.
Therefore, get started by creating your Google My Business page, then start asking happy customers to leave you a review on your page!
Need more info? Check out my other blog on how to ask your customers to leave your business a Google+ review.