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Google+ Local vs. Yelp

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It may seem that Google is gunning for Yelp with their new Google+ Local listings. The two services, however, have very different implications for SEO and your online reputation. Yelp reviews are, for the most part, confined to the Yelp universe. They have little if any bearing on SEO. Google+ Local reviews, on the other hand, pop up in search results and may have a greater impact on your online reputation. For now you'll need to pay attention to both if you want to maximise your presence online.

Build Your Reputation

First, build your Google+ Local page. Google has a fantastic step-by-step guide here. First, you'll create a Google+ profile, then a page. You'll add your location to the map and start building a following. The process is just as easy for Yelp. The guide is available online here. Both Google+ and Yelp are free for businesses. Add links to your Google+ and Yelp pages to email signatures and marketing materials. Follow industry leaders in Google+ and offer promotions to residents or tenants who fill out Yelp reviews. You'll soon have a solid following on both sites.

Reap the Benefits

Lots of people check Yelp reviews before making a purchase or signing a lease. But many more do simple Google searches and that's when your Google+ page will pay off. The more positive reviews you get on G+, the higher you'll rank in Google search results.

It's too early to tell whether Yelp will yield to Google in the online review space. For now they're both big players and you can't afford to ignore either.

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