So what is all this “Google+ Local”/”Google Places for Business” talk? What is the difference between the two? And do we need to verify our business on both? Let me answer those questions for you.
Google Places for Business
When you verify your business on Google Places, the search engines receive the information you submitted there and uses it to list your business. Your business will probably already be listed in the search engine results pages (SERPs), but verifying your business on Google Places will give you the privilege of controlling the information a search engine has and what shows up in results. Verifying is also a way to protect others from editing your information.
IMPORTANT TIP: When adding your business’s information to Google Places for Business, do not underestimate the power of adding categories. Google allows you to add up to five. The more categories you add, the better chance more customers will find your business online. As GetListed.org states in this article, “The search engines use this data when deciding which businesses to show for particular searches.”
Google+ Local for Business
This one is more for the social side of search. It is where you can connect with customers and others in your industry by adding them to your circles. You can also post updates from your business from your business’s blog or anything you wish to post on your feed. Similar to Google Places for Business, Google+ Local also includes all the general business information and photos for social users to see.
“What is particularly interesting about Google+ is the idea that Google is starting to offer personalized search results based on your Google+ connections. For example, if person A puts your company in his/her search results, then when person A searches for something related to your company you are more likely to pop up at the top of that SERP. If person B types in that exact same query but does not have you in his/her Google+ circles, you might pop up at the very bottom of the SERP instead. …
Google is beginning to move to a more holistic approach to search results. Link building is still important, but social (amongst others) is starting to become just as much of a ranking factor. The more information you can give Google, the better.”
Conclusion – The Best Solution
As you can see, it will be very wise to add your business to both. Google Places will put your business listing on Google Maps and Google Search, and Google+ Local will allow to connect with others, which consequently may in fact help you rank higher in the SERPs for people connected to you. The easiest solution to all this is to submit your business to both Google Places for Business and Google+ Local. They are free, easy to use, and powerful tools for increase your local rankings.