Google’s latest big shake up in the search ranking algorithm looks at social media clues — specifically through its own social network Google +. In short, Google + users who do a search while logged into their Google account may see some results from pages that people in their network have shared in Google + or have clicked on a +1 button for that page. Those pages will now rank more favorably for that searcher. And the searcher will see icons of the people in their network who have +1′d that page. In other words, people they know and trust have already vouched for that page.
Google search has been going through a lot of recent changes. A search ranking position is no longer a number as much as it is a probability within a range. Factors such as localization, personalization, the user’s search history, whether the user is a Google user and whether he/she is logged in, and whether the user is using a mobile device to search, all effect position in the search results. And means your business’s next position in the rankings can vary considerably.
This could be big for local businesses as Google + use continues to grow. As Google injects + 1’’s into its search results, Google Plus will get more exposure and see more growth. The average user will have networks consisting mainly of friends and family and those networks will be predominantly local.
And as a local business, you want to encourage locals to Plus 1 vote on your pages. This will help your search results to be favored for more and more local searches by local people logged into their Google accounts.
Here are some ways to encourage users to +1 your small business website.
· Place Google +1 buttons on every page of your website
Place the +1 button in a prominent place on all your web pages, much like you’ve probably already done with Facebook and Twitter icons.
· Include a message about sharing your link in “Thank You” emails
On emails you send thanking customers for doing business with you, place links to your social media profiles and ask for the +1. Also include links to your Google Places listing, Yelp listing and maybe a couple other local review websites.
· Include the Google +1 button with a message in your contact form “Thank You” pages
If you have a “Thank You” page after a customer submits a form (or makes an ecommerce purchase), customers are often are more likely to take an extra action. Show them a special message on that “Thank You” page about + 1’ing you.
· Create a Google Plus + profile for your business
Google has now opened up Google + to businesses. Set up your business profile then build circles by adding locals.
· Link to your social profiles in your email signature
Create an email signature (if you haven’t already). In addition to your name, phone number and website address (at a minimum), your email signature should include links to your Google + profile, Facebook page and Twitter pages.
According to Google, 100 million people are using Google+ each month — numbers that your small business can’t afford to ignore.