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Google+ Pages A Must For Businesses, But Come Off As Rushed

It can't be smart to ignore the search giant's network

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Google+ Pages A Must For Businesses, But Come Off As Rushed
[ Business]

If you’re ignoring Google+ as a business, you’re ignoring Google. Google+ is Google, according to Google. Google+ also provides Google Search a window into our social activity on the web, providing a view that it does not have access to via Facebook or even Twitter. Facebook may have the social network users, but Google+ is growing, and its importance to business goes beyond that.

Do you believe Google+ Pages will become essential business tools? Tell us what you think.

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Social and authorship are two big elements in ranking success these days, and Google+ plays to both of these. The +1 button, which we know influences rankings, is obviously a big part of the Google+ feature set. This is a signal that helps Google determine how good people think a piece of content or a website is, and now, perhaps even a business in general (it’s not a perfect signal, but it’s a signal).

Now, with the launch of Google+ Pages, businesses get to tie the +1’s on their Pages to the +1’s on their site (though this doesn’t seem to be working fully just yet), which should send a stronger signal of brand reputation to Google search. If only you could tie your Facebook page likes to it too, that would probably be a much better indicator, but Google does what it can. This is in effect why Google has to have its own social ecosystem – so it can have access to this kind of data. It needs that kind of data to remain relevant and deliver relevant results in an increasingly social world. That’s not to say Google can’t see when people like your page on Facebook. That is public data. I’m guessing Google’s not ignoring that.

On that search note, Google is also giving searchers easy ways to add brands to their circles. You can add from the search result itself, when a Page is returned, or with the “Direct Connect” feature, you can enter a “+” with the Page you’re looking for, as your query:

Businesses can also link their Pages to their AdWords accounts. +1’s there count too.

“The new +1 aggregation may also affect the auction on the display network,” says Pamela Parker, an editor at Search Engine Land. “Google has said it would use +1 data to better target ads on its display network, serving advertisers’ ads more often to friends of those who +1ed the ad or the landing page URL. Presumably, this new way of aggregating +1s for the brand as a whole will make this affect all the more powerful.”

Set up a Page. Local Pages have a little more.

To set up your page, simply sign into your Google+ profile, click “create a Google+ page” on the side of your stream, pick the category of page you want to create, and click “create”. Categories include: Product/brand, Company/institution/organization, local business/place, arts/entertainment/sports, or other.

“Don’t stress out about choosing the perfect category,” Google says. “Use the ‘Other’ category if none of the others seem to be a good fit. The core functionality and discoverability of a page isn’t affected by its category. Right now, only pages that use the Local business or Place category have different features. Local pages are designed to help people locate the business using its physical address.”

Local pages include a map of the business’s location, and include address, phone number/address, and hours of operation.

Pages/Profile interaction

Pages and profiles can interact with one another, as if they were all profiles. This means, as a Page, you can +1, comment, and reshare posts, add people and pages to circles, start and join hangouts, mention people in posts and comments, and block/ignore people and pages.

“If you’re worried about how deeply a page can interact with your Google+ profile, don’t be,” the company says. “Unless you show that you’re interested in a page by adding it to a circle or mentioning it, there’s very little that page can do to reach out to you.”

You can also remove the page from your circles, ignore the page, or block the page if you want to limit its interactivity with your page.

Limitations

There has been a fair amount of criticism about the limitations of the Pages for business purposes, and rightfully so. Google has kept these away from businesses for months since the launch of Google+, giving the reason that they wanted to get things right, so one would have assumed, they would be right at launch, but clearly there is a lot missing.

Robert Scoble lists a number of these, and says, “Google+ brand accounts are woefully inadequate for public companies’ needs.”

The most glaring hole is the lack of being able to let multiple people admin the page (as you can do on Facebook). When Google+ itself launched, it was clear that they borrowed a lot of ideas from Facebook. This is an idea that not only would’ve made sense, but is critical for a company to maintain a brand page as needed. Frankly, it’s pretty astonishing that Pages did not launch with this functionality.

Multiple admin support is said to be coming in the “near future,” so that should be resolved in time.

There are various other bugs that we’ve come across while setting ours up – most notably, circle adding errors. Adding Circles to your Page from those you’ve already created for your personal profile is incredibly cumbersome at times, especially for larger circles. This should all be “seamless” to use a term Google likes to throw around a lot. People have already invested a lot of time into their personal profiles.

The whole thing feels pretty rushed, which is unfortunate, given how critical this could become to businesses.

That brings us to the next section.

Using Google+ for business, beyond Pages

Over 40 million people are already using Google+, according to the latest numbers from the company. Many have not been waiting around for Pages to be launched to reap the business benefits of the network.

In fact, social media industry thought leaders Chris Brogan and Guy Kawasaki gave an interesting presentation on this subject at BlogWorld last week, prior to the release of Pages.

Kawasaki and Brogan Talk <a href=Google+ for Business” src=”http://cdn.ientry.com/sites/webpronews/article_pics/kawasaki-brogan.jpg” title=”Kawasaki and Brogan Talk Google+ for Business” class=”aligncenter” width=”616″ height=”462″ />

“Google doesn’t index all of Facebook right now. It’s a lost cause for SEO, they’re also no longer indexing Twitter. Google does index anything publicly for Google+,” Brogan noted.

Kawasaki said, “I think Google+ is to Facebook what Mac is to Windows. Think about that for a second.” He also said, “Twitter is much more threatened by Google+ than Facebook.”

Think about those two points. Facebook and Twitter are both pretty widely accepted as being tremendous business tools, and if Kawasaki is right, that can only mean that Google+ is and will be an exceptional business tool. Again – this is before Pages were even announced.

WebProNews interviewed Brogan after the session, and he had some more to say about Google+’s impact on business:

“You gotta look at the facts. Google is the number one search engine in the world,” he says. “That Google+ offering is sitting there in the top part of that number one search engine. Gmail is used by millions and millions of customers, all getting advertised for Google+. More Android phones are sold every single day – 500+ units an hour now or something – than iPhones, and all of that is pointing towards getting on this network that is indexed by the number one search engine in the world.”

Well put. I’ll leave you on that note.

Of course, WebProNews has created a Google+ Page. I’d encourage you to add it to your circles.

Do you think Google should have done more with Google+ Pages before launch? What ways do you use Google+ for business? Join the conversation in the comments.

And by all means, +1 us.

Google+ Pages A Must For Businesses, But Come Off As Rushed
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  • http://interactive-arts.com Chip Jones

    Yes, I do believe that Google+ Pages will become an essential business tool. It won’t be the only tool, but it’s obvious that it will play a huge role in search marketing efforts and rankings.

    Google+ and Google+ Pages will allow Google to follow links and conversations and determine who the online influencers are in different areas and topics. If you’re in business, grab your Google+ Page now before someone else does.

  • http://www.thewebhostadvisor.com Basil Rehill

    You have to admit that Google is trying to give us what we want in their Google kind of way. It would be foolish not to use what they have given us since they are the leader. They will get better as they always do.

    • moonlight

      What we want from Google is relevant search results, but that is not happening.

  • Steven

    It’s my belief that this push for +1 as a ranking signal which is tied to Google+ is two fold. For one it’s a push to get businesses to use Google+ and thus push the use of Google+ not because it’s better than Facebook, but because it will become necessary as a ranking signal. The other part is the advertising. Eventually Google will throw up Adsense ads. It’s kind of inevitable.

  • http://morganservice.net Mobile Home Repair

    Everything Google does is significant since they dominate the web and all virtually all the traffic your site will get. I put Plus1 on my site.

  • http://smmseo.com smmseo

    Brogan is right. Google has the power to leverage Google+ and in turn give users tremendous power to leverage their service, business or brand on Google Plus.

    • http://www.gbepackaging.com Tony

      No one told the people or the customers this I guess.

      OK everyday customer are calling and telling us how they wished they had found our low prices before and how they will tell everyone they know about our low prices. But you know I guess google never told them about the Google+ button because we can get 1000 orders a day due to our low pricing but not one customer has felt the need to press our Google+ button. We still have the same 15 likes on our facebook page button even if we have the best pricing and we can beat anyones price on packaging supplies.

      Our customers really do not care about buttons or ratings or page rank. Wake up its about service and quality product and pricing. How do you suggest to make good customers press a button for you.

  • Small Business Owner

    I’m puzzled as to why GooglePlus didn’t have ‘pages’ from the very beginning.

  • http://marketsecrets.biz Caleb

    I don’t think it was rushed instead it’s unique marketing in order to get ppl on board faster..

    Bloggers and gmail users will get the word out in a viral type fashion and once G+ reaches a certain figure then more features for the pages will be released…it is sort of like fishing in that thay bait us then reel us in with more enticements :)

    With that being said, they could have at least allowed blog rss feeds

  • http://www.CaptainCyberzone.com CaptainCyberzone

    Quite frankly, it’s ALL getting a little too much. Too time consuming, too information overload, too exasperating … too life wasting!
    It’s time for a long walk on a long beach.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      You make a fair point, but I’m not sure Google is the one you want to ignore.

      • moonlight

        Sorry Chris, but not everybody kisses Google’s ring or that mad tyrant’s arse.

  • http://www.gbepackaging.com Tony

    Still do not see the big excitment. Our customers do not know about Google and most do not care. Where does that fit into your plans Google. They are just good loyal customers that have been buying from you for years and now to suit the great computer you must all press this button or Google will indirectly cause them great pain by cutting traffic and sales off even if they were selling the best product at the lowest price actions and reputation mean nothing now that Google has a button. Trick enough people into clicking a button and you are a superstar.

    I think it would be cheaper in the future to pay our customers to click +1 than use pay per click advertising by Google.

  • William

    No I don’t think Google+ nothing more than another social networking environment to the public. Few if any average Joe will spend any money on a cloud based collaboration site so if Google wants to make this work they need to make it a Web-based office.

  • Sophia

    Definitely! I like what im seeing from Google already, and we any new good thing, there will be hiccups but it will be worth it!!

  • http://www.tradesman4u.com David

    Hi Everyone, excellent post. I tend to agree with Tony’s comments above. I have google+1 buttons and a facebook fanbox right on my homepage and really nobody bothers too much with them. I don’t think the average consumer is fully conscious yet of what these are and in many ways have developed ‘button blindness’ towards them. In otherwords they are right there on the page but we are subliminally being hit with little facebook, twitter and google icons so many times a day now we are starting to subconciously not see them.

    Literally every single product being advertised finishes there advert with somesort of ‘follow us’ or ‘like us on’ request. Most of the times for products that you simply could not engage with and so there is no need or desire to follow them. Its simply social conformity that we feel as webmasters we need to have a facebook icon and tweet box so that any visitors to our site see something for a fleeting second they are familiar with and then perhaps will stay on your site and transact with you.

    The fact this site, my site and many others actually ask for visitors to ‘like us on facebook‘ is surely wrong as if someone genuinely likes us they will click it anyway. We know though they won’t hence why we ask.

    I’m sure eventually Google will get the message out there for google+ and the +1 button as they are so powerful now they could get any message across. I’ve already installed my google+ business page to my site. (purely to conform of course) as not doing so will leave us behind the competition. It really would not shock me at all if in 5 years time google+ is on par or even ahead of facebook.

    Best regards

  • http://www.vacuumspot.com.au Alec nelson

    The fact is I care about the results of SEO so I will be incorporating +1 as much as possible with our website. However I would dearly love to see it kill twitter so i have less jobs to do. I am all for conversation but it gets time consuming when the channels are spreading and our consumers are fragmented in their communication channels.

  • http://www.javascriptsandmore.com JavaScript’s and More

    I have been using Google plus for Business for the past1 1/2 months.My PageRank is already a 2 and I now receive between 600-1000 visitors a day. Every day I link back to my blog or a page on my site.My site is 2 months old. I like Google+, it has great potential!

  • Bart

    It might be alright but it will never compare to Linkedin, nor Twiiter, nor Facebook, nor ecademy or any other business network.
    Their mew gmail is a real bad joke!

  • http://www.sitebuilder.ws Scott Barnes

    thanks for the great interview with Chris, I’ll have to hit him up on google+. It was really insightful and I can’t wait for the book, hopefully it won’t be outdated by then ;)

  • Pat

    Google plus is utter crap. It will be until they sort out languages.

    How can you use something when you can’t even read it? Google + (or Google if you like) has decided that it will display + in my local language which I don’t speak! (Greek).

    This is despite ensuring that my language choice is English!

    So while it may be great for those that can use it, spare a thought for those who Google has chosen to ignore:- those that don’t speak the language where they just happen to live!

    Google Plus? Google MINUS more like!

  • Tim

    Ignoring google+ is equal to ignoring google? Absolutely! I am totally and successfully ignoring google. It has become evident over the last several years that using google for small business internet advertising and marketing is both a huge waste of time and money and is equally unsustainable. Really I’d like to tell them as a corporation what they can do with their “algorithym” but hey, who would you tell, their not listening, can’t even get in touch with them or get a response to a simple inquiry. And google adwords? Why would you pay the same money for a search string keyword bid value based on global search when a particular ad is set with a local geotargeted limit? Obviously google has intentionally made it so difficult for a quality site to show up organically specifically for the purpose of driving inexperienced small business owners towards utilizing adwords. Rather than spending thousands of dollars on adwords or paying a company to handle adwords and seo I went to school on both myself with the money. It didn’t take long to figure out how out of balance google is regarding small business advertising a service within a specified local market. Bing and Yahoo is the venue for small businesses as well as countless other local directories. So if you own a small business and want to make your phone ring via a website don’t throw your money away on google. Google+? Who cares! A complete waste of time!

    • Thomas

      Tim,

      I am with you a lot of the way, but advertising on Bing and Yahoo exclusivly instead of Google AdWords just don’t cut it for me.

      My main geographical market is a small country with about 5 million people. Nobody has used Yahoo for years and if I had to rely on Bing alone, then I would only get 5% of the targeted visitors I get from Google AdWords. Facebook is not a good alternative for me either, because for non-English countries it is not possible to target ads with group membership (primary indicator of their interests), so the quality of visitors I get is far below search engines – I still use FB ads, but the cost per click I am willing to pay is way below what I pay on AdWords/Bing.

      However, I do get good traffic at a much lower CPC when advertising on Bing in the UK and in the USA, so I have stopped my AdWords campaigns for those markets. I am too small to deal with 100% of the English speakers searching for my kind of service anyway, so there it does not matter that the Yahoo and Bing coalition have a lower market share than Google – it is still enough to keep me well supplied with new leads.

  • Tim

    I keep hearing “Google owns the internet and the majority of traffic comes from google” or “google owns the market as a search engine”. Really? Says who? Google? Even if this really is the case, why would you want to condone this as a customer? I derive more than enough traffic to sustain my business and don’t spend one minute wasting time, energy, or most importantly my hard earned money on google. But you followers….instead of questioning and balancing your advertising efforts, follow google like a bunch of sheep being led around by a border collie. Wake up folks, google dosen’t own the internet or the market share or the search market unless you hand it over to them. Don’t you get tired of being dictated to from google, playing their little games in an effort to obtain exposure for your business? You are googles customer, not the other way around. Grow a pair!

  • Thomas

    I am so fed up with those bastards at Google. In their quest for world domination, everybody who does not conform to their shit falls through the cracks. If the real world and “the world according to Google” matched, then their bully tactics would be a level playing field for all businesses, but unfortunately it is not so!

    You do not fit the “Google world view”
    - If your business is not an online reseller or professional blog.
    - If you are selling a commodity or service that people do not have a need for on a regular basis.
    - If your customers are not teenagers or young people who give a shit about social media.
    - If you do not have time or resources to blog and promote Google+ for at least a couple of hours a day.

    My business does not fit in the “Google world” because:
    - I deliver a service that cannot be delivered over the Internet and must be sold personally over the phone with email follow-up.
    - I provide a service that people only need every 3-5 years, so periodic emails and Christmas cards is the only ongoing relationship that is feasible.
    - My clients are typically over 50 years old and less than 10% are on Facebook, so asking them to Google+ me is a complete waste of time.
    - I am a one-man business, so time spent on satisfying Google is taken from the time I can spend satisfying my clients.

    My primary source of new leads/clients is from word-of-mouth, but given the demographics of my client base, it happens off-line when they talk to friends and family. Though on-line marketing is my secondary source of new leads, the largest part of my modest marketing budget is spent on AdWords.

    I do not love Google, but AdWords is a necessary evil. Since I do not have a business that fits in the “Google world” it is a lot cheaper for me to spend a lot of money on AdWords than it is hiring a person or an agency to give Google a blowjob a day for better organic ranking!

    However, no empire has ever survived in the long run. I can’t wait to see the Google swines fall!

  • http://hjoseo.se Tomas Ohlum

    Most businesses will benfit from using Google+ and stay updated. This will open up for exciting possibilities to integrate search engine marketing and social media branding.

    • http://Www.jdstt.com Carlotta

      I am a brand new business owner that is just trying to take advantage of everything Google is putting out – boy it is confusing I am so unsure of where to spend my advertising $. It seems like there are sooooo many options!

      • moonlight

        Spend your advertising dollars with a reputable SEO company who uses only pure organic white hat techniques that withstand Gargoyle’s behemothly destructive algorithms.

        The right company can put your business in front of local customers in need of your products and services. Meanwhile you can concentrate on growing your business.

        Trying to navigate G’s confusion will only give you warts on your eyeballs. Pay a professional to do it – one who has rolled around in the mud with Gargoyle and their BS.

        Don’t let people tell you that the only way is G’s way. It absolutely infuriates me to see how sheeple bow down and lick Google’s crusty toes to be in their good graces. And when I see crap like “I don’t think you want to ignore Google” are words of the brainwashed.

        As was said elsewhere here, people need to grow a pair.

        Don’t get like most people around here and start shytting your pants every time G coughs. It’s really not a good life.

        I don’t use the Gargoyle’s + button and never will. My clients are all on the first page for their keywords and primary markets, and algorithm changes don’t change that.

        Yes, I’m a HUGE meta tags fan. I don’t give a hang what Gargoyle says or its much heralded minion, Matt Cuts.

        Not one of my clients have a +1 button on their sites and they are getting all the traffic and work they can handle. Yep, right on the first page of Google the Gargoyle. lol

        They are not into the +1 and social media kind of stuff that G is pushing. They are busy adults running their businesses and don’t have time to fart around with Google nonsense.

  • http://www.the-black-angel.com Gothic Clothing Shop

    I hear many people ranting about not being able to get top ranking on Google when you’re a small business, unless you throw lots of money at them – I can’t agree with that, and I do run a small business. And consistently get top ranking for my keywords. All organic.

    I hardly ever pay for adwords and never rely on third party SEO companies, it is all done by providing fresh quality content relevant to my business, on a regular basis.

    Am I worried whenever Google changes things? Yes I am, who likes changes that you don’t know how they will change your business, relevance, market position? But G+ for business is not something that got me worried, in fact I think it is a blessing for all of us who lack the time to spend hours updating various social media websites. I very much prefer to only update my G+ account rather than also having to cope with Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and whatnot.

    I am pretty much sure G+ will sooner or later take over the role Facebook has now, with much better features for business than FB offers.

    So G+ is definitely something my small business is looking forward to using.

  • EconomicSocialist

    Short answer: No. G+ is not in the social strategy for my business. And it probably never will be.

    Google makes an average of $18 off of each individual account. Most other data mining organizations are lucky enough to walk-away with only making 5 cents.

    What is Google doing with information that no one else is? That’s a better question. Sorry Chris.

  • Pat

    I thought I might be the only Google Basher on here! Thank heavens there are others who do not like to be told how, what, when, where, to take a dump!

    If they stopped their quest for world domination and just got on with doing what they’re supposed to be doing, you’d have a lot more respect for them.

    Ignore Google? No, you can’t do that but kiss their ar5e ? No way Pedro!

    Google + may be good… BUT I CANT FIND OUT BECAUSE IT INSISTS ON TRYING TO MAKE ME READ A LANGUAGE I DONT UNDERSTAND. Google… remove head from orifice and sort this out!

  • http://www.cmymails-smn.com Michael S.

    Hello, every one. Chris, Google+ seems pretty cool but it seems more likely to be a copy cat of Twitter. Google and Facebook, seems to be more worry about being number one and forgot what people are really thinking. Both needs to stop thinking of profit and more about users and how we can help each other in accomplishing our goals. I’m sticking with Twitter and a little bite of Facebook.

    Check out sites such as Cmymails.com , this website seems to connect with just about any social platforms.

    Google wish you the best of luck and no worry I’m sure you will always be number 1…

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