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Local searches are the key to driving traffic through the door of physical stores. Given that 2016 will be the first year that mobile searches surpass desktop searches, we can’t stress enough the importance of creating and maintaining a Google+ Business Listing. As mobile searches soar through the stratosphere, local businesses need to become more visible on local searches and maps, and this is precisely what a Google+ Business Listing will do.

You might ask yourself, “Wait, Google+ is dead, isn’t it?” It’s true. The official Google blog has even declared that Google+ as a social network is more or less useless, and that Gmail users will no longer be locked into creating Google+ account. But this doesn’t mean that Google+ is not important for local businesses. In fact, Google is making it more important!

As noted in the official Google blog mentioned above, the search engine giant is making changes that cater to mobile searches. With a Google+ Business Listing your customers can not only find you more easily through local mobile searches, but can also see your business information, phone numbers, website information, address, hours of operation, and even the times of the week when your business is the most busy or popular.

According to Google, “­­­your Google+ Business Listing will give your customers the right info at the right time – whether that be driving directions to your business in Maps, hours of operations in Search, or a phone number they can click to call you on mobile phones. Your Google+ Business Listing can also help you build a loyal fan base. Your customers can show their appreciation with ratings and reviews, use the +1 button to endorse your content, and re-share your Google+ posts across the web.”

The images below show what a local mobile search result looks like when a company’s Google+ Business Listing is active and verified. (Photos courtesy Google My Business)

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A Google+ Business Listing is especially important for restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, hotels, and resorts. These types of hospitality businesses already rely on local mobile searches to drive in-store traffic, and will rely on them even more so in the future.

The local mobile search numbers speak for themselves. Fifty percent of consumers visit a store within a day of searching for it on a mobile device. Fifty percent!!! Furthermore, 72% of consumers who searched for local information on a mobile device visited a store within 5 miles from their location (source: Google). This emphasizes the importance of getting your business listed on Google+ immediately.

And the best part, it’s FREE! While creating a Google+ Business Listing may be free, it’s only as good as the company that created it. Businesses that want to benefit from their Google+ Business Listing will also need to make sure that they provide a customized experience with a full description of products, services, images, videos, and social reviews. After a Google+ Business Listing is verified, it then needs to be updated with interesting content and special offers for your customers.

Another benefit from having a Google+ Business Listing is that the Google dashboard provides a connection to your Google Analytics, Google Adwords, and YouTube accounts. These are powerful tools in deciphering your website’s effectiveness and can show you how your business can get to the top of local search listings. Your Google+ Business Listing is also automatically upgraded to Google My Business, which provides businesses with even more tools to help them drive traffic from local searches. Once you create and verify your business listing, Google will send you detailed insights and analytics about your Google+ Business Listing as in the image below.

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As this trend in local mobile searches continues to develop, make sure your business capitalizes on the way Google displays your information to the public. A fully functioning Google+ Business Listing is a major component of a brand’s local online presence, and should be treated as such. Contact us and let us show you how to optimize your Google+ Business Listing to reach your company’s full potential!

Data provided by – “Have you Claimed Your Local Business Listing Yet?”