Now that Google+ Pages has launched you might be asking yourself, do you really need another page for your business? The answer is yes. Though there is a lot of debate on whether Google+ is going to be a truly competitive social network for Facebook, there is one area that Facebook cannot compete and that is SEO.
SEO (search engine optimization) is one of the most powerful tools that Google+ has to offer a business.
- When you create a page you are instantly indexed
- You are creating more backlinks to your website
- Direct Connect – Google’s new way to search online
Direct Connect is one of the more interesting elements of the SEO boost. It is trying to give pages more visibility in the search engines. Now if someone is searching for you page all they have to do is add “+” before your business name, ie. “+Your Business “, and they will pull up your page.
Harnessing Pages for Your Business?
Lets walk through setting up a basic business page and then we will look at how to give your page an edge.
1 . Sign up: Go to: http://www.google.com/+/business/
- Click “Create your Goolge+ Page”
3. Category: Select the main category for your page.
- Local Business or Place- this is for if you are primarily local or have a physical location.
- Product or Brand- if you are creating a page for one specific product item or for a brand. Tip: Bloggers this is where you want to be!
- Company, Institution or Organization- this is the general business category
- Arts, Entertainment or Sports- anything having to do with these categories, though often these are people like artists and musician or groups of people like a sports team.
- Other- If you just don’t quite fit anywhere, you can assign your own category. Tip: I don’t really recommend this unless you have to because you are missing out on the “category” search benefit of Google+.
4. Sub-Category: After you select a main category you will be able to select a sub category that best describes you.
5. Page Name: Enter in your page name. This is what everyone will see as your page name and how people will find you. Do not make it too complicated and keep it to something that is easy to remember.
- Though vanity URLs are not currently available, they will not be long in coming and you would rather have plus.google.com/mywebsite than plus.google.com/dontyouwishyourwebsitewerecoollikethis as your URL. Keep it clean and keep it simple!
6. URL: Enter in the URL for your website.
7. Age Restriction:You can opt to have age restriction on your page. This is good if you talk about mature issues, alcohol or drugs. The ages restrictions available are 13+, 18+ and 21+.
8. Profile Photo: Your profile photo is your face to the world. You may want to put your logo in here, or a picture of you. But whatever you decide make sure that the picture is square. Unlike Facebook, Google+ Pages give limited real estate to your pic.
9. Tag Line: This is where you get to put some quick little tid bit about your business. Think of this as your elevator pitch. You want something that describes your page and essentially draws someone into the page. Tip: Give yourself an SEO boost and use keywords in this tag line.
Once you are done you will be asked if you want to share your page on your Google+ profile. Go ahead and say yes. This is a great way to share your page with your various circles.
Give Your Page an Edge
You may be thinking that the set up process was really easy, and wondering why you did not have to fill out a ton of questionnaires about your business, information, description, contact information, etc. That is because you don’t have to have any of that information on your page. But trust me, you want all that information on your page.
Once your page is set up, you will want to go view your page profile and start editing information.
When you click the edit button (a blue button on the top right of your page profile) it allows you to edit nearly all sections of your page. All you need to do is click on a section to edit.
- Introduction: Write something descriptive about your business. This is your space to make your first real introduction and tell people what you are all about. Make sure you use key words that are related to your brand to given an even bigger SEO boost.
- Contact Info: You can add an email address or phone number. To protect your privacy, I recommend just an email address. You don’t necessarily want anyone who can find your page able to call you.
- Website: This is where your website URL will be.
A note on Privacy: you can set the level of visibility as you set up these fields. You can control whether you only want your circles to be able to see this information or if you want it completely public. If you are worried about privacy you should restrict your visibility to “only circles” or even custom circles. For your website, I recommend leaving this viewable by anyone.
Google+ offers another way to build good relations with other websites. Like a blog, where you can share your blogroll, you are able to share your recommended links. This is to the right column next to your information. If you have websites that you particularly like or support, this is a great way to share them with your followers. Plus this is a great way to breed good relationships with those websites. If you link someone, make sure you reach out to them and tell them.
The photo strip is one of the most powerful visual aids of your page. You can add any photo that you like on this strip, and unlike in Facebook, you can place them in any order you like. All you have to do is upload the photo directly into the photostip. Once they are loaded you can drag and drop them into any position you like.
With a little creative photography you can make your photostrip be an excellent brand ambassador for you page….or you can just have some fun with it and create a really interesting panoramic.
The number one power of any social network is the ability to be social. Pages is no different. Similar to Facebook, you can use Google+ as your page. You can go and add other pages to your circles. You can comment on their posts and interact them. Though people can add your page to their circle, pages cannot add people to their circles.
On the left column of your page, you will see your profile pic, a button to share your page and then a section showing who is in your circles and who has added you to theirs. By looking at this section on other pages you will be able to find a lot of relevant and interesting pages to network with.
The more you network with other pages the more they will network with you. Ultimately the more people who have circled you, the more people who are reading your posts. So get out there and network!
Google+ Pages for business is not hugely different than Facebook Pages. However, the SEO value they add is reason enough to get a page set up for your website. The pages are easy to set up and offer the opportunity for more exposure to your website. So go out there and set up a Page and make sure to tell everyone about it!