by Lily Bradic
Let’s start by getting this out there: Google+ is weird, confusing, and it’s okay if you don’t know what it’s for. Most people feel the same way.
Google+ is huge in some industries and regions, but barely used at all in others. If you work in media or technology, you need to be active on Google+. All your competitors and most of your clients are!
But, if you own a small pet-store or bakery, you may be wondering what’s in it for you. And you’re right to do so: local businesses often find that their customers don’t use Google+, and if they do, they don’t use it to connect with local businesses.
People use Google+ to connect to global communities, discuss mutual interests and share knowledge. People don’t generally use it to connect with those on their doorstep.
Consequently, you’re likely to find it empty, save for you and that tumbleweed that just went by.
Unfortunately, that’s not an excuse to forego Google+ completely, especially if you have a website. Google+ puts it this way:
By adding a short line of code to [your website], you can make your Google+ page eligible to show up on the right hand side of the Google search page for relevant queries and make your Google+ page more discoverable.
There’s also a big online debate as to whether, when you verify your website with a Google+ account, +1s (the equivalent of Facebook “Likes”) increase your Google search-ranking.
According to some bloggers, linking your Google+ account to your website will get it indexed faster than any other SEO tactic. Whether or not that’s true, Google’s search algorithm does take Facebook and Twitter presences into account when ranking your website.
Local businesses don’t have to spend hours a week on Google+ — the time would be far better spent on Facebook — but even a minimal presence on Google+ can be beneficial. Which means you have nothing to lose in trying. Need a little help getting started? Give us a shout and we can walk you through it.