Have you put your business in Google+ Local yet?  Over a year ago, Google made the switch from simple Google Pages to the much more powerful Google+ Local.  If you haven’t made the change and implemented it yet, you are losing a tremendous opportunity to boost your studio’s business.  In order to stay ahead of your competition, it is important that you understand the real differences between Pages and Google+ Local…and implement Local as soon as possible.

Google Pages to Google+ Local

I assume that since you are trying to promote your photography business on the internet, you already have a Google+ Page for Business set up.  If you don’t, do it right away!  What Google has done is place a map to the right side of their search results…which allows users to instantly see businesses in their geographic area when they search using any applicable phrase.  When I searched for “Photographers in Norfolk, Virginia” I got the following list, automatically ranked in order of review scores (including some magical positioning of Google+ Local pages.)

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Now, with just one listing, your business will be found across Google searches, maps, mobile apps and Google+.  In addition, your customers can now easily review your establishment and recommend it.

This is becoming vital since research shows that on average, 50% of all searches for businesses are coming from mobile devices.  With the growth in smartphones and tablets, the percentage of mobile app searches is only going to rise in the coming few years.

Perhaps the biggest feature that will help your business is that Google+ Local pages are being advantaged in this index (since Google wants to add value to Google+ Local!)  As a result, your chances of being found increase…especially if you are getting customer ratings.

What should you do next?

Set up a Google Business Page if you don’t already have one but, more importantly, claim the Google+ Local page that Google has already created and is ready and waiting for you. Next, use the features that this page gives you to optimize it up for Google+ Local.

No search algorithm uses any single variable; after all, search providers are trying to present the user with “satisfying and extremely useful results.” This means that you will need to do more than just set up your page, but trust me…it’s extremely important and valuable.

Here are some additional things you should consider:

  1. Be sure to post more than just a few pictures
  2. Build out your profile and focus it on things that your photography specializes in.
  3. Consider holding a hangout that shows off one of your photo shoots.
  4. Post frequent updates to stay in the “top of mind” for your customers.
  5. Get Reviews!  This is extremely important. Don’t hesitate to ask your clients to leave a review.

Reviews are key

I simply can’t emphasize this enough. Without reviews, you will miss out on the power of digital word of mouth.  Personally, I no longer buy products or services if I can’t first read customer reviews. Internet providers like Google and Amazon already understand this. Simply stated, the more reviews you get, the better your positioning and search results will become…and the more internet referrals you will get.  But it’s important to note that Google wants real reviews and will go to some extreme measures to verify this.  Make sure customers do them from their home or a different location.  You don’t want reviews to all come from within your business itself.

Don’t think that the Google+ Local pages are just another feature from a social network. The enormity of what’s already been accomplished with G+ is amazing. Considering what’s ahead and how quickly they are adding new functionality, we’re certainly in for quite a ride. Social Media capabilities offered by search engine providers are extremely powerful and important.

Get more insight into what this Google+ service can do for you. And be sure to watch the video for more tips.

 

Georgia-ProfileGuest post by Georgia McCabe follow her on Google+ – As an author, speaker, trainer and social media and photography evangelist, her perspectives on social media appear in print in her newest book entitled “SocialMorphosis – Transforming Your Business through Social Media”. Georgia is also a co-author of the book “The Relationship Age”, with social media guru Mari Smith. Georgia is a frequent guest blogger for our professional photography lab.

 


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