Google+ Local in AdWords: What, when, who, why and how to start using Google+ Local
What is Google+ Local?
Google+ Local is an excellent and simple to use product which allows users to list a local business so it can be found both on Google Maps and the regular Google search engine via a desktop, laptop or mobile device. There are no additional charges in using the service so most brick and mortar businesses are encouraged to use Google+ Local.
When should I use Google+ Local?
If you have the services and capability to process walk-in customers or cover an area surrounding your business then there is no reason not to get started with Google+ Local right away. It is important to remember that customers will have the ability to review your business online which will then be presented to other local potential customers; it is therefore essential you don’t activate a Google+ Local listing for your business until you are confident that you can carry out a professional service as an online reputation can greatly assist or devastate a business!
Who can use Google+ Local?
Any business that serves a local area can create a listing on Google+ Local. In some cases it is not necessary for the business to accommodate walk-in customers though as it can be stated on the listing that customers can be served at their own location. A pizza restaurant might provide a delivery service to its customers within a specific radius for example.
Why should I use Google+ Local?
Google+ Local is an excellent way to advertise to potential thousands if not millions of local searchers within your catchment area. Creating a listing is incredibly simple and quick to complete while you are provided with premium options that are completely free. There is no risk in creating the listing providing you are confident that you can give a good service to your customers as receiving good online reviews will likely result in generating more business whereas negative reviews can reduce the likelihood of somebody visiting. It is an additional medium of advertising your business and definitely one that should be considered.
How does Google+ Local work with AdWords?
There is the opportunity to link your Google+ Local account to your AdWords campaigns using location extensions. Doing this lets you include your business address within your AdWords ads in an attempt to attract more customers to your physical site and can even help confirm that you are a legitimate business. Enabling this ad extension with your Google+ Local account will modify the appearance of your ad so that users can expand the ad itself (without clicking through to the landing page) to get a map overview and pin location of where the business is situated.
This ad modification can provide various benefits including the ability to stand out from competing ads due to the difference in style, improve customer interaction as they can navigate directly to directions from the ad itself if they wish to and also display all other owned business sites in that local area.
How to start using Google+ Local?
Primarily you will need to make a Google+ Local account here and then go through a verification process involving a phone call, SMS message or postcard (which can take a few weeks to receive). Once verified you should fill in your business details and then login to your AdWords account, navigate to the campaign(s) you wish to use the Google+ Local listing with and then go to the Ad Extensions tab. By default you will be presented with the Location Extensions page where you have the option to check whether you want to associate your Google+ Local account.
I have been managing AdWords accounts for over 8 years now at an international marketing agency level and also as a freelancer. I am very passionate about Google's PPC platform and pretty much anything else that is Google related. My theory in life is to learn something new every day and this community is definitely a good place to do so; I would recommend anyone reading this to stick around as it's an excellent source of information with great people contributing to it.
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