Effective immediately, it is critical that your company starts using Google+.
For the purposes of this article, I have broken down your business’s Google+ presence into 3 options, or phases.
- Mandatory Google+ Presence
- Suggested Google+ Presence
- Advanced Google+ Presence
If at any point you get overwhelmed please note that we offer Google+ Page configuration, management, and Google Plus Marketing.
Your Mandatory Google+ Presence. These steps are mandatory, and I’ll show you why. Yes, there is something new to learn here, and you probably had better things to do. Well, this is your new priority. I’ve been the business owner, and understand. At the same time, this can not be ignored. You really have to take this and run with it. Those that chose to remain ignorant or are too lazy to make the basic changes will be left behind.
- Your Google+ Local Business page needs to be claimed. If your business has an address where customers can come to visit you, you most likely have a Google+ Local Page. If you set this up prior to fall 2013 and forgot about it, you are thinking of a Google Places Page. Places have been changed to Google+ Local Pages.
- If you have claimed your business make sure the page is verified. This is usually done via a phone call or postcard. Sometimes getting the Google+ Local Page verified can be a task. We do offer assistance with this.
- Your Google+ Local Page should be linked up with your website, and your website should link back to Google+.
- Your business hours need to be correctly configured with the page. Let’s say you own an Italian restaurant and your page is not configured. If I pull my phone out and ask it “Where is the closest Italian restaurant?” I might get the competitor’s results before yours or think that your business is CLOSED. This is a giant, neon closed sign on your front door in today’s world of mobile search.
- Your business should be getting reviews, and you should be responding to them.
- You company logo and photos of the business should be on your Google+ Local Page.
- Your Google+ Local page is likely ready for a vanity URL which needs to be claimed.
- You need to be sure the address to your facility is correctly displayed.
- A properly configured business has a better chance at showing up in Google search, Local Google+ listings, Google Maps
- Google Places still exists at and is your business center where you should add descriptions of services, offers, manage AdWords Express, etc. (This will be changing soon, yay!) Please note, if you are setting up a new business, consult with us first on the best approach to take.
Your Suggested Google+ Presence will help your business become significantly more visible in Google+ and in Google.
- Your Google+ Local Page should be managed and have new content posted to it. If you have a blog post, a great customer review, a new Youtube video, pictures of a new product, description of a new service, a small update, etc, it can be shared here. People like to compare this to Facebook but it really s different for all of the above reasons and more. Also, a great Google+ presence can affect the way your business is displayed in Google SERPs (search engine results pages).
- Google Events allow you to create events. People can add themselves to the event. Having a Christmas party? A Black Friday sales event? Create an event! Get people who are following your brand or circling you to attend.
- Build an audience. This takes a significant amount of time and not everyone can do it. But, it leads to people circling you. The most fantastic thing you can do on Google+ is engage with your clients, patients, or customers. Posting some useless information on a different social media network typically results in people never even seeing your post. Please don’t waste your time or money doing this. This is NOT social media marketing. A Google+ post is there forever, and is able to be indexed by the search engines.
- Engage. To properly build an audience, you need to engage in other people’s conversations. The conversations do not have to be limited to your own page. Circle others, talk to them, join communities. Start your own Google+ community.
- Google+ Hangouts. You can always host a hangout. Hangouts are a live online video even that anyone can attend (or you can limit the audience to whoever you’d like). The hangout may be shared afterwards on your YouTube channel for everyone to see afterwards. This is creating new content. The more content you have, the better. Of course, content is useless unless the content is properly marketed and bringing more people in your door.
Your Advanced Google+ Presence. Ok, so you may want to sit down for this one because your head is going to explode. You’ve got to understand that Google Plus Marketing is a long term investment.
- Strategy. There needs to be a clear marketing strategy. Long term goals. Google Dominance. The benefits from an advanced Google+ presence will not happen overnight. They may take months, or even years to pay off. How fast they pay off depends on the amount of time spent marketing the business and a million other variables which differ for each business out there.
- Outreach. An advanced Google+ Presence will include someone with a Google+ presence out there marketing your brand. Your Google+ Local Page can act as a person on the network, engaging in conversations. I recommend this account has someone “holding it’s hand” and monitoring it non stop. This person will be constantly bringing the business into conversations that are taking place, mentioning the brand, and including it as they see fit, when they see fit. This needs to be a daily thing. It can be a social media professional or an internal employee. They may take part in hangouts, comment on YouTube videos, etc, all of these things are now tied in with google+. For example if you have circled me and I +1 comment on a company video, the comment will show up in my home stream and my followers will see it and a percentage of them are going to click through and watch the video.
- Google Maps Business Photos. Think street view for your business. A photographer comes in takes photos for your business which may be applied to your Google+ presence. This is not mandatory for every niche.
- Advanced Content Marketing. This is the fun part and should be a major part of your strategy. If you have blog posts coming out weekly or daily, this content needs to be marketed on Google+ in creative ways. How it is done will differ for every single business. There is no single one size fits all solution for this.
This article is just the tip of the iceberg. I have a hard time articulating the myriad of ways it is going to affect the future of search, but I will have more articles on this soon. Google+ is affecting search. This is the new SEO. Get on board or get left behind. I have been online since the BBS days, when the Internet had 10 websites and I was a 13yr old kid in the early 90’s. I grew the biggest BBS around and was the first to offer Internet email. I stay ahead of the curve. I’ve absolutely dominated any and all competition I have ever set my sights on in an ethical and respectable manner. From 2000-2012 I owned a laptop repair business did so good in the search engines, instead of just getting local people in from Cary, NC people started sending them in from California, Puerto Rico and Guam, before I knew it I was repairing laptops for major companies, emergency vehicles, and movie stars. I sold that business to help other businesses. If you are a local business owner, I want to help you. I’ve even donated my time assembling buildings for business owners. To me, small business owners are the heartbeat of America. I am not a sneaky salesperson, in fact I stink at sales. If you want a salesperson please call someone else. I am not here to sell anyone something if they don’t get it. True SEO is no joke, and if you are in a competitive market, Google+ needs to be embraced. I call the Google Plus Marketing. If you want to know more please contact me or visit my Google Plus Marketing page.
Final words. This has been brewing in my head for quite some time. One day I was talking with someone on Google+, someone I never would have met without engaging on the network, and we started talking about cell phone carriers. T-Mobile jumped into the conversation, so I shared it on my wall. When coming up with a title for my post, I almost named it “Using Google+ as a business is important”, but the more I thought about it, I thought, hey, this is vital, this is critical. So, I named the post, “Using Google+ as a business is critical.” T-Mobile then jumped into this thread as well. Then +Vic Gundotra (Senior VP of Engineering at Google) +1’d the post, so people who have Vic circled saw is +1 in their stream. This lead to over 100 +1s but more importantly over 55 +1s just in the comments! A proper and fast response by CSRs at T-Mobile was perfect timing and they looked like Google+ rock stars. Here’s the post:
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