This week we have a guest blog post from Local 360 Photos owner and fellow internet nerd, Todd Pillars.

I know you’re busy so I’ll get right to the point.  If you don’t have a Google+ Local page for your business, or maybe you have an older Google Places page, you’re going to want to finish reading this article and then take 10 minutes to to sign up for Google+ and claim your page today!

First a couple of staggering statistics. One, according to BIA Kelsey and ConStat, shows that “Nearly all consumers (97%) now use online media to shop locally.”  Of that number, 90% use Search Engines.  Second, according to ComScore, Google holds 66.8% of the Search Engine traffic while Microsoft Bing and Yahoo garner less than 16% each. And if that wasn’t enough, the folks over at Search Engine Land figure that Google enjoys a roughly 95% market share in Mobile Search.

So you know why you want to get ranked high on Google. How does Google+ Local play into that?

In April of 2010Google Places was launched to allow businesses to highlight important information about their place.  You got a map with directions to your locations and could add your hours of operation, upload photos and add YouTube videos, and most importantly you could get reviews and feedback from your customers.  In June of 2012, Google Places was merged withGoogle+ Local to harness the social power of Google+.

The Google+ Local for Business page says it best

  1. Share
  2. Promote
  3. Measure

Share anything – specials, coupons, events.  Promote across the social web with the +1 button and Google+ badges.  Measure your results like interactions and reviews.  And, since May of 2012, Google+ displays Zagat Scores to help customers make better decisions.

A little example of the difference a Google+ Local page.  The first image is of doing a search for a “Armed Response” company in “Albuquerque, NM”.  You see the first organic result has a Google+ Local page.  It also has a very complete website and well-defined keywords.

We then did a search with the same terms in “Toledo, OH” and no results came back.  So we altered the search to just “Security” this is what came back.  You can see the results are much different; only one local company.

As you can see having a Google+ Local page stands and does help a wee bit with the rankings.

One of the most exciting things that Google+ Local allows you to include is Google Maps Business Photos.  Think of this a Street View for your business.  A Google Trusted Photographer comes to your place of business and shoots a 360-degree panorama of your store, restaurant, or other location and turns that into fully interactive virtual tour so your potential customers can get a peek into your place 24/7/365.

Click on the image to take the virtual tour of Balance Pan-Asian Grille in Maumee, OH

It’s the opportune time to stand out from your competition and have it hosted on the #1 search engine in the world.  The process to claim your page depends on a few factors.  The easiest way is to follow the instructions on the Get Started Guide.

If it’s confusing or you’d just like assistance setting up or verifying your Google+ Local page, or if you’d like more information on Google Business Photos, call me at 419-855-2273 or email


Todd Pillars is veteran technologist working with Open Source Software and the Google Apps platform since its inception. An avid photographer, as well as a Google Trusted Photographer, Todd spends his free time creating images of landscapes, people (mostly his two toddlers), and events in the N.W. Ohio region.