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Contributing Editor Mark Claypool gives step-by-step instructions on how to improve your shop’s search engine rankings.
Last month, I covered Google+ and whether it was a plus for business or not. The answer was yes, it is. I’m more convinced than ever that Google+ will have an impact on your position in a Google search when the public searches for the services your business provides.
For years, Google has had something called Google Local, but Google is starting to make a transition from the old Google Local to Google+.
Google probably has a Google Local page of your business. Your next step should be to create a Google+ page of your own and get your business verified by Google. Then, Google will merge your old Google Local page with your new Google+ page, giving you full control of your content.
All Line CARSTAR in Bolingbrook, Ill., recently built a new website. It was well optimized and is now ranking No. 1 in their hometown. They’ve been participating well on Facebook and Twitter. Take a look at the graphic of a Google search. We used the No. 1 term the public uses, “auto body,” and “Bolingbrook IL.”
Notice there are two sponsored pay-per-click listings at the top, then the Google+ Local listings start. These are showing up with map pointers labeled A to G. Notice who is now top dog: letter A… All Line CARSTAR. Notice the link to their website and a link to their Google+ Local page.
Google has clearly rewarded All Line for its well optimized website. There is a link to the Google-created Google+ page. We’ve claimed a separate Google+ page for them as well. Google will be sending out a validation postcard verifying that this shop actually exists and the shop owners want to control their own Google+ page. When this validation takes place, Google will merge the old Google+ Local page with the fully validated Google+ page. Here’s what that looks like:
By the time this article hits the streets, we’re hoping that All Line will have received the postcard from Google and its business listing will have been validated. If so, when they show up on a search, hopefully in that coveted “position A” at the top, their actual Google+ page will be what people see. All Line can defend this position by actively posting and seeking followers who “+1” their business (same as “Liking” on Facebook), write testimonials, share posts, etc. I believe that active, good quality posting and interacting with followers is what will determine who earns that top “letter A” position, and then B, C, D, etc. Google is making Google+ a priority one way or the other. You can either participate and have a chance to win, or fall behind the crowd.
But wait, there’s more! Watch what happens when your cursor hovers to the right of the listing: a double arrow shows up and a snapshot of All Line’s Google+ page appears in the panel to the right.
When the validated page comes online, we’re hoping to see even more information showing here – photos, reviews and recent posts. That will be even more powerful.
Confusing But Necessary
There’s no doubt this is all confusing. Google’s transition hasn’t been very smooth. But follow my advice, and these steps, and it will be a snap.
You need to claim your listing and control the way your information is being portrayed. To do so, you must first set up a personal profile on Google+. Follow these steps:
1. Go to www.google.com. See the +You button? Click on that. If you don’t have a Gmail
account, you’ll create one by clicking on “Sign Up.” Otherwise, sign in.
3. Add a profile photo that represents you (not your business just yet).
4. Continue on to Google+ by clicking on the button. You’re still creating your individual Google+ page at this point; choose things of interest to you, then click on “Continue.”
5. Choose a photo that represents you; fill in the rest of the details in the fields provided.
6. Once this has been set up, it’s time to start creating your business page. Click on the following link: https://plus.google.com/pages/create. Then, click on “Local Business or Place.”
7. Next, enter your business phone number. Google will search for your business and ask you to confirm that this is you.
It’s really self-explanatory from there. It only takes a few minutes and is well worth the effort. Next, have your webmaster put the Google+ badge on your website and start inviting people to “+1” you.
Start experiencing the power of 1! It won’t happen overnight, but you’ll be on the cutting edge. And I firmly believe that participating in Google+ will boost your ranking potential and your local map positioning over time.
BSB Contributing Editor Mark Claypool has 30 years of experience in the fields of workforce development, business/education partnerships, apprenticeships and Web presence management. He is the CEO of Optima Automotive (www.optimaautomotive.com), which provides website design, development, search engine optimization (SEO) services and Social Media Management services. He’s also the Director of Business Development for Metro Paint Supplies in Chicago. Claypool’s work history includes VP of VeriFacts Automotive, founder of Mentors At Work (now a division of VeriFacts), executive director of the I-CAR Education Foundation and the National Auto Body Council (NABC), co-founder of the Collision Industry Foundation and national director of development for SkillsUSA. Claypool served, on a volunteer basis, as the SkillsUSA World Team Leader for the WorldSkills Championships.