We know, you’ve probably heard that Google Plus is a ghost town. That nobody uses it. That’s nonsense, but we understand that’s the perception.

But that is no reason for your company to ignore G+, and not a reason to leave G+ out of your social media marketing and content strategy. In fact, we’re here to give you 5 big reasons why it should be a prominent part, if not a primary part, of your social media marketing and content strategy.

1. Local searches
Google Local Pages are now G+ Pages, and as you hopefully already know, those Local Pages factor strongly in searches where a location is involved (43% if not more of total searches are local). For example, if you’re searching for a restaurant in NYC, location and proximity to you are now used as factors in the results that you see. Getting your business to feature prominently in that local search is a much better strategy than trying to win the keyword wars. The best way to get higher in local searches? Cultivate an engaging G+ Local Page and keep it accurate and active! Learn how to claim your Local Page or how your Local Page is actually becoming your website’s landing page in Google.

2. Increasing your search engine profile
We continually talk about creating and executing a user-centric content strategy as a key to earning quality traffic. Linking your site and blog to your G+ page, and sharing your content through G+, puts your content more easily into a sea of readers who are actively finding and sharing quality content. Those shares are indexed by Google (obviously) and can factor into your search engine rankings.

3. Personalized search results
In some ways you need to think of G+ as jumping into a huge recommendation engine. Every person you’ve circled becomes a potential source of recommendations for both you and for everyone in their network. For example, lets say that someone circles you (and you’re a restaurant in NYC). A connection of theirs is now searching for a restaurant in NYC, and because they’ve circled you or +1’d you, your listing now features more prominently in that person’s search.

4. No paying to reach your fans!
By now you’ve likely heard about Facebook’s EdgeRank and Promote your Post. We’ve discussed why, in generally, we believe that focusing on Facebook is a bad idea, especially the fact that you’ve likely spent money to get a Facebook following, but then have to pay again to communicate with your Facebook fans. There is no requirement to pay to reach your fans in G+. In addition to this, very little of that Facebook content is being indexed by search engines, so whereas a G+ share contributes to your search engine rankings, a share in Facebook likely doesn’t.

5. Engagement
The statistics aren’t out yet, but we’ve seen incredible engagement on our G+ pages/properties, and been a part of lengthy and involved discussions in G+, much greater engagement than we ever experienced in Facebook. One of the reasons in our opinion is how people use the networks. For Facebook (for example) most people use the network to connect to just their friends and family, and perhaps “follow” brands that they like. One of the reasons they shy away from engaging with people outside their immediate network is because of how much personal information they have stored in their profile. By contrast most people use G+ in a more business-oriented fashion, actively seeking out businesses, brands and topics that they want to discuss, then using Circles to delineate the permissions of who is able to see what within their posts and profile.

Do you have other reasons why a business should be on G+ or persons why it shouldn’t? What is the most compelling reason for you?