22 Jan A Google+ Account Is Now Essential For Hospitality Businesses. Here Are 5 Easy Steps to Nail Yours.

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For years, it was safe to ignore Google+ as a social platform, given its small audience and limited user base. Then, Google figured out they could link the platform up with their search and make it essential for businesses, and suddenly, there isn’t a more critical place on the web for hospitality businesses. 

If you’ve been caught flat-footed by this major shift, you’re not alone, but you lose local search traffic and brand awareness every day your page sits unused. Here’s a five-step guide for creating and maintaining an effective page that will result in better traffic and opportunities directly from Google.

CLAIM AND UPDATE YOUR BASIC LISTING

If you’ve already created a Google+ listing at one point or another, you’re ahead of the game. Simply search for your business name, claim the relevant account, and make sure your information is up to date. If not, you’ll be given the option to create one from scratch.

Either way, it’s critically important to ensure your information is correct, because your telephone number, email address, and street address will then populate in searches for your business and business type, making it easier for customers to connect. The more complete your profile, the more Google wants to trumpet it for you, so take a few minutes to make sure you have everything filled out.

CHECK YOUR GOOGLE MAPS LOCATION

Once you’ve updated your listing, you’ll want to type your business name into Google Maps and make sure your address is correct. Old listings can persist for years and confuse prospective customers, so make the quick change by following this easy guide.

ADD QUALITY PHOTOS

The first place Google’s search algorithm will look for photos is your Google+ page, and if you don’t have any loaded into your account, your listing will be a Google map location and nothing more. For businesses like hotels and wedding professionals, that’s a huge missed opportunity. Having four or five representative, professional photos that show your company culture and products can make your business listing much more attractive in searches.

ASK FOR REVIEWS

It’s tricky to ask for reviews, but Google doesn’t have the same kind of stringent “no-ask” rules Yelp! maintains, and so find natural opportunities to solicit reviews. Include links to your Google+ page and a mild nudge to review on placards in rooms and in post-stay emails, and be sure to address negative reviews thoughtfully. Those little stars on your Google business listing originate from these reviews, and someone who stumbles across your hotel is much more likely to book if they see four stars.

SHARE YOUR CONTENT ON YOUR GOOGLE+ PAGE

Your number of views and interactions with your content will probably be pretty dismal, especially at first, but on-page numbers are the least of your concerns here. Google+ content can show up in search results and help drive guests toward your enterprise site; any +1s (the Google+ equivalent of likes) push your listing up in search results. Blog posts, company updates, photos, videos, and even memes qualify here, and sporadic content updates will have Google crawling your page more frequently. When you’re trying to get noticed on the search engine giant, every bit helps.

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