High visibility in Google’s local search results can win you many
customers. Because visibility there is free, it can also save you
huge chunks of advertising dough.
But even many business owners who know about local Google and try
to get visible there don’t actually profit from it. Either they
fall prey to common myths, or they don’t know the specific
circumstances under which visibility in local Google can actually
bring in real, breathing customers versus when it won’t.
Here’s when Google+ Local can be either worthless or profitable to
Worthless Situation 1: Seeing your business in Google’s local
search results only when you search for it by name.
Profitable Situation 1: Seeing your business in Google when you
type in your services or other terms that most people use to search
locally, like “roofing” or “roofer Ft. Lauderdale” (for example).
Explanation: Unless you’re Wal-Mart, it’s not enough to be visible
only when people specifically look for you by name. You’re not
worried about reaching the people who already know about you and
exactly how to find you. Your potential new customers usually
search broadly – just to see how many and what kinds of businesses
in the area seem to offer what they’re looking for. Those are the
people you’re trying to get visible to.
Worthless Situation 2: Having your business listed on the 2nd or
3rd page of the Google+Local search results.
Profitable Situation 2: Being listed on the 1st page of the
Google+ Local search results – among the top-7.
Explanation: Most people won’t dig past the most prominent
businesses – the ones listed on the first page. In the newspaper,
do you think most people are more likely to read the front-page
story, or the little op-ed piece on E4? You want your business to
be as visible as the front-page story – which means page 1 must be
Worthless Situation 3: Having a Google+ Local listing but no
Profitable Situation 3: A Google listing that encourages visitors
to go to your website and discover more about how they’ll benefit
from what you offer.
Explanation: If you don’t have a website, people can’t learn
nearly as much about what you offer – or why they should fork over
They’ll also wonder why you don’t have a site.
Most of all, if they go to your site, that means you’ve won their
attention for a couple of minutes, which means you’ve got a golden
opportunity to impress them.
But if you don’t have a site and people can only visit your Google
page, you’re giving them only two choices: call you immediately or
leave your listing. Probably 90% of the time they’ll leave, never
to return. A good website is the best way to turn more casual
browsers or “maybes” into real clients.
Worthless Situation 4: Trying to get visible in cities that are
more than a few miles away, just because you think they might be
Profitable Situation 4: Making sure you get highly visible in YOUR
immediate area first, and then using other means – like Google
AdWords and/or “organic” SEO – to get visible in farther-away
areas you’re not as visible in.
Explanation: Location matters in local Google. They’re called the
local search results for a reason. Your first task is to outrank
your competitors in your city. You can get visible in other
cities, but that depends on a lot of factors, particularly how many
competitors are located there.
Generally, businesses can’t get visible in the Google+ Local
results more than 5-10 miles away from their location. Very
If your business is the only one of its kind within 20 miles,
you’ll probably have good local rankings in many nearby towns. But
if there are 3 other services like yours right on your street, then
the battleground is much smaller geographically – and therefore
much more competitive. Go after your home turf first.
If you apply these suggestions, you’ll be ahead of a solid 95% of
your competitors – both in terms of creating real visibility to
people who search locally for your services, and in terms of
turning those people into real clients.