Google+ Local launched yesterday, and if you haven’t already started using Google+ then now’s the time – especially if you’re a business owner!

Google+ Local

To use Google+ Local you’ll need to have a G+ account, and these are free to set up. (Just follow the directions on that link – shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes!) Once you’re logged in there’s a tab for “Local” on the lefthand side of the page – just click, search and start reviewing.

They’re also adding Zagat ratings to every listing.

Claim your page

If you haven’t set up your business’ page (let’s face it – if someone wants to review your business they may have already added your listing!) you can easily claim it. Just search, go to the page listing, go to the righthand column and click “Manage this page”. This lets you update the information, add pictures and respond to reviews.

Trusted reviewers

Unlike most review sites, Google+ Local uses reviews written by Google+ users, which are attached to real names instead of online aliases. This means you, as a business owner, can see exactly who is saying what about your business and there’s no more LickityKisses85 spamming your listing and offering “good times”… but I digress.

Reviews from trusted reviewers also take priority over users with fewer reviews, even if they aren’t the most recent.

Directions, the easy way

Each listing’s location is marked on a map, which is pretty standard for review sites.

However, if you click on the map image you’ll be brought to Google Maps, where you can quickly type in your starting location and get directions. (If you’re in London this can also be used to get directions via public transport, so you don’t even have to go to the TFL website. You’re welcome!)

That’s what she said!

It just wouldn’t be right if a product by Google didn’t use some sort of crazy algorithm, so here it is: when you search, you’ll see recommendations from your friends. So if Mary says that XYZ coffee shop in Manchester was absolutely amazing and you search for coffee shops in Manchester – that result will appear towards the top for you. I’m sure you can see just how great that is for free advertising, especially if you have a loyal band of regulars who will post reviews about your business

SEO

It’s no secret that using Google platforms can be good for boosting SEO, and using a G+ Local listing, linking it to your business’s G+ page and linking those back to your website could potentially help out your search engine ranking.

Also, with Search, plus Your World, when you conduct a Google search you can see results that your G+ friends have +1ed. This is just speculation, but I’m pretty sure that this also means that places your G+ friends have reviewed would appear when you searched for a related item – even if you’re not searching through Google+ Local.

P.S. You can also add us to your circles!

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