More and more people are looking online for somewhere new to eat, and there is no where better than the internet to find somewhere new. How would you find a new restaurant? Would you Google it, Or maybe have a look on TripAdvisor? 62% of diners search online before eating out, and there are over 33,000 Google searches for restaurants every hour, feeling a little left out? Google+ is the main key to local visibility. In this post I will talk about the benefits of having a Google+ page, and how to set one up.
How Can It Help You
Having a Google+ page is kind of like having a second website. It allows you to display a range of business information, share posts and even allows customers to leave reviews. So I want to show you two examples of Google+ pages for restaurants. Below is a great example of what a Google+ page should look like. It has the logo along with a nice banner picture of the restaurant interior. It also lists the website, address, opening hours and phone number. The other important thing with a Google+ page is it being verified. We can see that this page is verified as it has the shield icon with a tick inside, displayed next to the logo.
and below is what your Google+ should not look like:
So this is what an actual Google+ page looks like, but lets have a look at where this can benefit you when people search for restaurants.
There are many ways people could find your Google+ page, with the most popular being a localised search. A localised search is when Google displays local businesses that are relevant to your search term. So for example if you search for a plumber, it will display what we call a local pack that will show between 3 to 7 businesses. The information that Google displays is all pulled from the Google+ page.
So here is the local pack that is shown when I search for ‘Indian restaurant in Birmingham':
As you can see it displays the business name, address, phone number, website and reviews (if they have any). When the local pack is displayed, you can view more information by hovering over the business you want to view and clicking the arrows the display on the right. For this example, I tried to keep it simple to understand so I have used the same restaurant that I used to show what a good Google+ page should look like. When you click the arrows, it will open up a box on the right which should look something like this:
The other way that people can find your Google+ page is through a cool new feature on Google Maps. When you fire up Google Maps on your phone, it should display a little bar at the bottom saying ‘Around this area’. If you click on that it will display a new page giving you the options to choose distance (5 minute walk etc) and also the time of the day that you wish to do something. Depending on your selection, it will display a range of attractions, restaurants and other cool things in the area. Here is an example of what it looks like:
So now that you know where customers can find your Google+ page, its time to create one.
Lets Get Started
The first steps is to claim and verify your Google+ business page. To do this, head over to www.google.co.uk/business and sign in. Once signed in, you need to click ‘Get your page’. As the topic is Restaurants, you want to select ‘Store front’ as the type of Google+ page. This allows Google to understand that you do not serve customers at their location, they must come to you.
The next step is important, you must search for your business name as there may already be a Google+ page created for your business. If the search displays a page, claim it! If it doesn’t, click ‘add new business’ and enter your business information. Once you have done this, you need to verify your page. Unfortunately this can only be done by postcard so you do have to wait about two weeks for it to come in the post. On the postcard is a 5 digit pin, once you put this in it should all be verified.
So while you wait for your pin to come in the post, you need to start filling your page with content and information. The basics include web address, phone number, photos, logo, header, opening times etc.
The final important task to complete for the Google+ page is choosing the category. Now it shouldn’t be too hard as this topic is for Restaurants but make sure you choose the most specific option. For example if you are an Indian Restaurant, I advise you not to choose the category ‘Restaurant’ but too choose the more specific ‘Indian Restaurant’ option. I know this is common sense but you would be surprised how many people would choose the opposite.
One Final Thing
Your Google+ page should be looking great, and once you have got it verified you can start to build some reviews! Try to get more than 3 reviews a month, and as soon as you get 5 positive reviews you should get the 5 golden stars as shown in the examples. I hope this has helped you guys set up a Google+ page and if you do have any questions or need help with anything, just fire them over!