A Small Business Guide to Google+
Guest post provided by Matt Puettmann, Content Manager at the nation’s leading provider of VA mortgage loans, Veterans United Home Loans.
Google+ still lags behind Twitter and Facebook in social media traffic and users, but it’s becoming an increasingly important piece of search engine optimization. After all, Google is still the king of search, holding 66 percent of search engine market share.
So it makes sense that Google is trying to boost its social networking site by incorporating content into its search results. Google+ directly affects search results and page rank. Although many people have stuck to Twitter and Facebook for personal profiles, G+ offers small businesses a wealth of opportunity to increase both social engagement and search promotion.
So how do you use Google+ to your benefit?
Name it properly
According to the experts at Blind Five Year Old, Google gives “enormous weight” to names on pages. What does your company do? If you’re a bakery with an abstract name, you’d better incorporate “Bakery” your page name.
If your audience is big enough, verify your brand.
Verification proves the identity of your brand and ensures you haven’t hijacked a brand name. Google has set up a process to verify your brand, but there’s a catch: 1,000 people have to add you into their circles. If you’re a local coffee shop in a town of 500, this isn’t your ballgame. If 1,000 followers is a possibility, verification can help search results immensely.
So how do you do this? Google explains on its support site. I’ll paraphrase:
– You must link to your website from your+ page and vice versa
– You must have the 1,000 people in your circles
– You must submit your page to Google
And what do you get out of this? A check mark beside your page name – and better search results.
Content is Still King
Publish smart, pointed content that is easily shareable and inspires comments/ clicks of the Plus button. Schedule hangouts and be sure to comment on other user’s posts that relate to your brand. Don’t just re-post what was on your Facebook wall yesterday.
Manage Your Circles
One of the best concepts of Google+ is its Circles feature. Google+ allows you to group who you follow/ share with into segments called Circles. Use this. You can group customers, business partners, and other businesses in your field.
Google has built this feature in to allow you to interact and share only what matters with those groups. By sending content that consistently applies to a Circle’s interest, you will increase engagement and ensure an audience more active with your content.
Follow your Metrics
Google built custom analytics into G+ to give users an easy way to track brand engagement and how social affects page views, etc. Become familiar with the interface and make sure you pay attention to what works when you experiment with new content.
Have you used Google+ to market your small business online? Let us know in the comments section below.