With mobile technology and web searches becoming the standard in locating new businesses, it is important for your salon to know all the ways that Google makes your business information available (and handy) for the consumer. The great news is that Google offers tools that make it really easy for businesses like yours to be visible in all the ways that Google is in front of inquiring minds on the web. Some more common examples of Google tools include:
Google Maps: One of the most common things clients look for (often repeatedly) on your website is: How do I get there? By using a link from Google Maps API on your regular salon website, and adding a Google Maps link to your mobile website, you are giving users the best, most detailed directions to get right to your doorstep. This information is pulled from your Google Places page, along with other information included in your Places profile.
Google Places: Places is where you likely have setup and manage your business information for Google. This includes access and inclusion in the Maps functionality along with adding pertinent information such as open hours, contact information, pictures and reviews to your business page. This will also come with direct links to click from a smart phone to call or get directions. While other services like yellow pages do exist, it is not always as practical for businesses to get problems corrected and, let’s face it, Google is just about everywhere, including other mobile apps. Google Places keeps customers from having to cipher through the links on your website for contact info and instead puts this right on the search engine results page of Google, which often displays before the regular website listings.
Google+: The new wave of Google listings, this started as a social network similar to Facebook, but is now being rolled slowly together with your Google Places and Maps functionality and has been renamed to Google+ Local. Not at all confusing, right? To make things even less clear, Google has three different kinds of pages on Google+ :
- Local Listings
- Unverified Google+ Page for Business
- Verified Google+ Page for Business
This is technically the upgraded new Google Places page. Have you noticed that your Places dashboard was changed and then got all confused on who set you up on Google+? You’re not alone. Your local listings page will have the new Zagat rating score, reviews, and tabs for About and Photos beneath the cover photo.
Depending on when you set this up, you may already have this page setup, or maybe you have one of these pages and a Google Places page and aren’t really sure what the heck is going on. An unverified Google+ page has tabs for Posts, About, Photos, and Videos. If there isn’t the option to leave a review then it’s not verified. Not to worry, it’s easy to verify and we’ll discuss that a bit more later.
If you have the full-meal deal then you’ll be displayed in Maps and your clients will be able to leave a review and you’ll have all the social goodies like Posts, About, Photos, and Videos. When you go through the process of verifying a local Google+ Page, any existing listing for your business is automatically merged with the local Google+ Page to create a single page. And you get a cute little verified checkmark. Much to your surprise, you may have also been automatically upgraded from the Places for Business dashboard to a verified local Google+ Page. If not, it’s easy to upgrade.
Bottom-line? Google is getting more social and new features like Google Carousel are looking to rely on verified pages. It’s time to have a look at getting social with Google.