Getting found in Google is a top goal for any local business. And rightly so. Google is still the top search engine, with 67 percent of all monthly searches happening there, according to comScore. But some businesses remain mystified about how they can get found by more local searchers using Google.

An active Google+ page that’s linked to your optimized Google+ Local listing is an important part of your SEO strategy. Not only does Google+ make your Google Maps listing more robust and useful for searchers, it’s also a great place to share content and connect with your audience and influencers, who in turn can help share your content. Plus, it can help boost your website’s SEO. Here are five reasons Google+ can improve your visibility in Google search.

1. Your pages can rank well in search. Having a claimed and optimized profile on Google+, along with updated content, can help your business get discovered on the search engine results page. In addition, your optimized Google+ Local page can perform well in local search. But, it’s not enough to have your pages claimed and optimized; you also need to post engaging, shareable content on Google+ that will tell Google that your page is an active, useful resource. And, asking your connections to share your content increases your activity as a business, helping your page become more visible in the search results and driving traffic back to your website.

2. Google+ drives personalized map results. As users search Google Maps, add places to their “favorites,” and leave reviews, Google Maps will start to suggest similar or complimentary local businesses they might enjoy. In addition, the new Google Maps is furthering integration with Google+ by allowing users to filter searches by those in their Google+ circles. This means the more active you are on Google+ as a business, the more opportunities you have to influence local search results by boosting positive fan engagement. You can also help your local search results by encouraging your best fans to add you to their Google+ circles and favorite your business. Plus, the more active your customers are, the more they can help others discover your business when they search in Maps.

3. Social signals may impact your website’s visibility. While there is no definitive proof that social signals like +1s can do anything to boost your page or your website’s visibility on search engines, some studies have noticed a correlation between these signals and your site’s position on the search engine results page. That’s because these virtual “props” on your social media content can tell Google that your content is relevant and authoritative. And, when this content links back to your website, it can signal to Google that your site is relevant and authoritative as well.

4. Positive reviews help you stand out. Reviews for your business on your linked Google+ and Google+ Local page are extremely valuable because they appear along with your map listing on the search results page. But, nobody wants one-star reviews prominently feature on their web presence. So, ask happy customers to leave you positive, thoughtful reviews to make sure consumers new to your business see great things about you and want to visit your website or contact you to do business. Plus, the more reviews you have that include your target keywords, the higher your map listing may display in the search results.

5. Google authorship boosts your site relevance. Authorship is a feature of Google+ that lets you link content you publish on another domain directly to your personal Google+ profile. When you do this, your Google+ profile picture will appear directly next to content you have written in the search results, emphasizing your content and helping increase clicks to it. This is great for building your personal brand, which can help you build credibility for your business by establishing yourself as the expert in your field. Plus, using your personal Google+ account is a great way to spread the word about your business to drive interest and shares among your personal network.

To learn more about how Google+ helps you express your brand, create deeper connections with your audience and get discovered across Google and the web, enroll in the Online Marketing Class, Build Your Brand Across Social with Google Plus. You’ll hear real world examples from brands will show you how Google+ help brands meet their marketing objectives — such as building awareness and influencing consideration.

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