Ready to Connect on Google+ Here’s How

Man having an idea!
A Bright Idea!

I consider activity on Google+ important for business owners. The real SEO and search benefits are however not achieved by updating your Google+ Business page, but rather your Google+ personal page.

So, how can you connect with others to start building your Google+ empire and improved rankings for your company website in the organic listings? Start by making sure the content you write is on target, on topic, and engaging. I use my Google+ page for business and not personal use. Consider doing the same for now.

Work to actively add users to circles and respond when someone adds you to one of their circles. Click +1 and leave comments on posts you find interesting. You’ve simply got to spend some time.

Consider starting a hangout. Well I am still thinking about that one, but have participated in several others and they can be fun. I have just not initiated one.

I personally find that for placement Google+ should be considered important. As Google does not allow any automated or scheduled updates to be passed to your Google+ personal page (Google does to your business page), you will find the community of business people,legitimate, real and engaging.

Personally, I use Facebook for personal interaction on my locked down private page and Google+ as my face on social networks for business.


Google Pushes Google My Business Forcing Google+ Pages

The Google+ Carrot and Stick in AdWords.
The Google+ Carrot and Stick in AdWords.

Google will simply not give up on Google+. They have tried over the years to push individuals and businesses into Google+ and now have take the original GMail model to try one more time to build growth in this social media network that simply has not caught on.

Google’s most recent push started in October using the AdWords platform to require participation on a Google+ page in order to use their AdWords location extensions. Here’s how they are doing it:

1. If you did not already have a Google+ location page tied to your same Google AdWords login or used manual address extensions, Google stated that you would not be able to use location extensions anymore.

2. Google then auto-created a Google+ page for every Google AdWords login and automatically tied it to Google AdWords. Too bad if you already had a Google+ page under a different user name, for it to show in AdWords the page had to be tied to your AdWords login. Welcome to your new page.

3. What is even more complicated is that actually Google has auto-created two pages for every AdWords account; a location page with map that points to your website and is pointed to from your AdWords ads AND a new Google+ page that they are hoping will become a new social media portal for your business and a central location for your online reviews.

This heavy handed approach shows how serious that Google is about growing Google+ pages and location identification for local advertising. Google took the exact same model when GMail came out. Google required that to use GMail, you had to set up a Google account forcing everyone to open a GMail account. They are doing it again to force businesses to utilize location specificity via Google+ via AdWords.

If Google thinks Google+ is so important you may want to reconsider if you should consider it important too. We offer minimally priced options to have content created to keep your Google+ page updated. Just a consideration if you are going to embrace what Google thinks is key to them.


Google My Business Explained

Cover of my own Google My Business Page.
Cover of my own Google My Business Page.

If you have been using Google Places or Google+, Google has a new property call Google My Business that you need to be looking at and migrating to.

First notice that even if you have been posting on Google+ pages you may not have a Google My Business site. For that matter if you’ve had a Google Places or Google Maps page, you may still need to re-verify to migrate that page to Google My Business.

Here’s what I’ve found out. I have a number of Google+ pages that I routinely post to as well as a personal Google+ page. I even had one Google Places page. When I set up my own Google My Business page, it was a different URL than any of them. Sigh… that means I had to start all over in building a fan base as any of my existing pages did not migrate into the new Google My Business page.

The Google My Business pages even look different. You’ll know you have one if over the cover image you see things like your office hours, your address, and website URL. You can see the cover image of my own in this post and view my site online.

Google is really pushing the Google My Business pages. My Google AdWords account rep even told me this past week that Google AdWords will be doing away with the ability to add business addresses manually in AdWords and using only the Google My Business  page for locations in the near future. This means that it is time to get going on embracing this new Google product.

Personally I hate that the migration did not allow me to pick up one of my existing pages about my business that had a nice number of followers, but this is Google, it is their way all the way.

So, better get prepared for the future, as it is clear that Google will want to only deliver Google Maps and Google organic results pointing to a verified Google My Business page in the very near future.


Google+ Announces +Post Ads

Here’s another way that Google is monetizing the Web and the newest way that Google is boosting Google+ participation.

To help advertisers create visually rich and compelling experiences online, Google today announced that it’s testing a new type of monetization for Google+ called +Post ads. The new ad unit will let brands turn Google+ content into display ads that can run across the more than two million sites in the Google Display Network.” Read more online.

This is actually pretty big news. Let me help you to understand why.

1. Different than other social networking advertising, you don’t just reach your network, you reach Google’s network! If you advertise in the Google AdWords Display network, you’ll know that this means hundreds of thousands of impressions.

2. Google is anticipating that this new format will improve click through rate and user engagement. Make sure to watch the video of how Toyota is using +Post ads.

3. The key take away is the ability to connect with a large audience, allow immediate comments to the Google+ post, and one click sharability across platforms – Pretty revolutionary stuff!

4. If you want to try +Post ads, here is the beta sign up to get early involvement. Additionally here is more information from Google about +Post ads. Although I don’t have more information as to pricing, how the program is administered or who can and will be approved, based on what Google has done before I would imagine that there will be a separate ad interface as they used for Google Local ads called AdWords Express. AdWords Express is shown in the AdWords control panel but administered outside the AdWords control panel.

+Post ads just show another innovation from Google on how they are leading the way with mobile and social interaction and how your message can be relevant using Google advertising platforms to reach and engage a greater audience.


Great Tips on Going Local With Google+

I just read this article at Website Magazine and wanted to share it with you. It has some great tips on going local with Google+ and how you can leverage exposure on Google. With local search results being pushed ahead of most organic results, leveraging your location makes great sense.

Here’s a quick synopsis as well as my own comments and suggestions on going local with Google+.

1. Make sure to focus on your About Page
Make sure your address and categories are listed as well as a descriptive paragraph about your business.

2. Encourage others to review you on Google+
I’ll add my own comments to this one… if you don’t ask you won’t get a review. Consider sending a link out to all your satisfied customers asking them to login to Google+ and leave some comments on your page. These recommendations can be a gold mine for your business so work to see if you can build your number of reviews. Don’t scam Google! I’ve seen some situations where reviews were clearly fake, don’t buy services to make fake reviews for your Google+ Local page. Google is getting too smart to not be watching the IP addresses on reviews at this point.

3. Build a free Google+ Community for your business
My comments again… Community pages are much more interactive that Google+ business pages. They operate more like a forum. You can have closed or open communities and even those by invitation only or moderator approved. For now Communities look stronger to me than Business Pages but Communities do not allow status update scheduling as Business pages do with third party apps.

4. Think about Google Offers
This could be good for local businesses. Here’s more information so you can dig deeper on this one. It appears kind of like Groupon but from Google. Interesting for possibly driving in discount traffic for certain types of businesses but not for everyone.

If you have another tip for going local, just click comments below and leave your own words of wisdom.


Are Google+ Communities Better Than Google+ Business Pages?

Google+ Communities and what they mean for you.
Google+ Communities and what they mean for you.

Some interesting things just happened in the last few days, Google got very serious about Google+ and has started requiring Google users to enable Google+ integration. Now add to the mix Google’s new addition of Google+ Communities!I would definitely keep an eye on Communities, from my perspective. For some businesses, creating a Google+ Community for their business may allow more interaction with users than the typical Google+ Business page. For now, Google+ Communities look like a great option for merchants or brands with a strong following and not yet for the typical small to medium sized business owner. To see some examples take a look at this very interesting article on Google+ Communities from Website Magazine.

Google+ Communities are not like Facebook Groups, nor are they like a Google+ Business page. They are a hybrid and much more interactive than a Google+ Business page. First, you can invite people to join your +Community versus hoping someone will discover your Business page. Second, you can do video hangouts and others can post to your wall, share +1’s with other community members, post and hold events, and easily share content. Also typically, a Google+ Community page will have a moderator and a higher degree of interaction than would a typical Google+ Business page.

Think of your Google+ Business page like your business card or brochure and your Google+ Community like a free and wide ranging forum. The real power, from my point of view, comes into play with the ability of Communities to share +1 activity in the personalized search results. For those owning Communities that is a very, very powerful tool and may be the next big thrust for SEO and web visibility to be leveraged in 2013.