If you have a local business and most of your customers come from within a 20-mile radius, you need to merge your Google+ Local Page with a Google+ Business Page.
If you aren’t sure you have a Google+ Local Page, you are not alone. A while back, Google changed “Google Places” to “Google+ Local”, so if you had previously claimed your Google Places listing, you are on the right track. To determine if you have a Google+ Local page, search for your business name and location in Google. You should see something like this:
If your Google listing is missing a bunch of information, or has incorrect information, then you probably have not claimed it or it’s been a while since you’ve done anything with it. (More info on Google+ Local here.) Your Google+ Local listing should have your business name, location, contact info, hours of operation, and any Google reviews you might have received. It’s also a good idea to add your logo and some applicable photos to your listing.
Now, to determine if your business has a Google+ Business Page, go back to your Google listing. You should see this:
If you don’t see a link to a Google+ Page, then you either have not created one, or you haven’t linked a page you have created to your Local Page. Another way to check is to go to google.com/plus and search for your company. You’ll need to sign in with a Google account. If you do find your company listed, you can go through the process of claiming it and filling out all of the information. A Google+ Page allows you to gain a following, post news, photos and links as well as interact with customers and prospects (much like a Facebook page).
If you don’t merge your Google+ Local page with a Google+ Page, you will miss out on the opportunities for increased SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as well as engagement with customers and prospects. You will get improved search results as well as an expanded venue to tell the story of your business. You will also have better control over what appears when a customer uses his smartphone to search your business in Google Maps. Visitors to your Page will be able to see what you’ve posted and share your posts with people in their “Circles”, thus expanding your company’s reach. Merged pages also have access to analytics so you can see how many people have visited your page. Keep this in mind: Google+ Local and Google+ Pages are Google products and they are meant to be merged, so why wouldn’t you take advantage of the opportunity?
Stay tuned for more on Google+.