Taking full advantage of the SEO and PPC benefits associated with a strong Google Plus presence requires creating a complete Google Plus Brand Page. The following post serves as a tactical guide for Google Plus covering page creation, daily management, and key optimizations with other Google products.
For more detail on the SEO benefits of Google+ for individual user accounts, check out AJ Kohn's amazing and comprehensive post.
Creating a Brand Page
Brand Pages are created only after logging in to an existing Google+ personal account.
The Create Page workflow can be found here: https://plus.google.com/pages/create
Similar to Facebook’s workflow, you must first create a personal account through which you can create and manage pages. Thanks to initial feedback from Google+ users you can now set up to 50 administrators for a single page.
Pick a Category
Each business is different, and each page serves a different type of organization. Drag the mouse over each option for a list of examples.
Add Your Information
Google will then ask for information specific to the category. The create flow is identical for the following categories, asking for the same information in order to complete the process.
Product or Brand
Company, Institution, or Organization
Arts, Entertainment, or Sports
Google has fields available for: a name for your page, your website, your category (or industry), who should see your page. There is also an opt-in to be kept informed of future relevant Google + information. Agree to Page Terms and verify authorization to create the page.
After entering information and clicking “Create,” Google provides the opportunity to upload a profile picture and choose a tagline for the page.
After uploading your image and tagline, click “Continue.” Google then prompts the page creator to notify his/her circles about the new page (using their personal account). To skip this step click on “Finish” at the bottom of the screen.
Key Design Elements of a Google+ Page
Prepare a logo at least 200x200 pixels. Your thumbnail strip of 5 images can be coordinated. Please visit http://gpluspic.com/banner for more information.
Tip: Animated GIFs can also be used in the scrapbook.
Complete your profile information
Google’s welcome page provides more information about: posting, linking the Google+ page to the website, sharing your Google+ page URL, and building circles.
The “Settings” link is now visible. From here invite additional page administrators.
Toggle between personal account and business pages when posting.
Navigate to the business page in order to fill out the ‘About’ section and thus complete the page profile.
There are also various profile options under the “Photos” section of your profile. Google + allows customization of: who can see photos, if viewers can download your photos, if other users can tag the brand in photos, and listing geographic location in uploaded photos.
While your Google+ profile will be a source of content and information for followers, the about section is used by Google to categorize and rank your page for related searches. We recommend a thorough and robust ‘About’ tab which includes relevant keywords. Place key terms in multiple fields for added SEO benefit.
The Recommended Links section should include a corporate blog and any other social profiles the company maintains.
The importance of Recommended Links for personal Google Plus pages representing the individuals in your organization will be covered more in the Authorship section.
Please note that the “About” tab is highlighted. Below is a list of editable fields in “About” for PERSONAL PAGES:
- Bragging Rights
- Places Lived (Places of Operation)
Please note that the “About” tab is highlighted. Below is a list of editable fields in “About” for BUSINESS PAGES:
- Contact Info
Google recommends having 10-20 prewritten and preformatted posts. Posts are published while logged in as an administrator. Before you begin posting in earnest you will want to connect your G+ business page profile to your business website.
Plan posts well in advance, and make sure to stagger posts throughout the day. Along with circle counts recent posts is an important signal for the quality of the account. The page should be well populated before it is promoted directly.
Link Google+ to Your Website to “Verify” The Account
There are two ways to verify your Google+ Page:
rel=publisher is a simple code that your webmaster can easily implement on the homepage. The presence of the code is a simple verification for Google that the plus page and the domain are actually associated.
- Markup only (preferred by Google search)
- <a rel=”publisher” href=“[plusPageUrl]”>Join us on Google+</a>
- Hidden Markup only (allowed in <head><meta>)
- <link rel="publisher" href=“[plusPageUrl]” />
The Google+ Page referenced must also have the company domain listed as ‘website’ in the about section.
Google will begin to use the information right away, and this step should almost immediately ‘verify’ the Google+ Page.
To get the code to link your Google+ Page to your website, visit: https://developers.google.com/+/plugins/badge/config
This tool will generate the rel=“publisher’’ snippet of code that must be installed on your website.
Linking your Google+ Page to your website qualifies you for:
- Enabling AdWords social extensions (+1 sharing between your AdWords ads and the Google+ business page)
- Enabling consolidation of +1’s between your Google+ page and website
- Enabling Direct Connect (Simple discovery in Google search)
Installing a Google+ Badge / Chiclet
Including a Google+ Badge is recommended for your homepage, blog, and any other locations where you have implemented Chiclets for the major social media platforms.
Chiclets help site visitors discover your social media profiles. The Google+ Badge specifically allows visitors to add your Google+ profile to a circle without ever leaving your site. More exposure to your Google+ profile can lead to more +1’s, which can boost CTR for organic search results as well as AdWords. +1’s associated with URLs are also believed to affect organic SEO rankings and can potentially push results into Search Plus Your World results for logged in users.
Optimize +1 Button for Social Sharing
While the Google+ Badge exposes site visitors to your Google+ presence, social sharing buttons are specifically used to increase the distribution and reach of your content. Social sharing buttons should be prominent to promote sharing of diverse content throughout your site. Social sharing can result in additional traffic to site and provides you and Google with information about how visitors consume your content.
Button Implementation and Social Snippets
When users share content from your site, a Social Snippet is generated. Relevant content such as title, description, and image of the article to be shared are pulled from the Meta description. All three elements must be defined in order to ensure that a rich and appealing snippet is generated and pushed the users’ Google+ newsfeeds.
The following Google code generator can be used to generate +1 buttons for your site as well as structured markup necessary for Google+/Google to create Social Snippets that look good and function properly.
Implementation of the +1 button is described in greater detail in the tutorial below. The below post describes additional button customizations and markup parameters that can be used to generate Social Snippets. Google prefers and defaults to Schema.org in the tool above. However, Google can and will populate Social Snippets using alternative markup standards such as Open Graph.
Benefiting from a Company Blog with Authorship
(Please note this is for personal Google+ profiles only)
If your organization has a blog or if key employees maintain a blog then consider linking that blog to their Google+ accounts.
The importance of identity and relationships on the Internet and with users is becoming increasingly important and directly relates to linking authorship of content to a Google+ profile. Adam Audette's post covering this concept can be found at the RKG Blog.
Google provides simplified instructions for establishing authorship on this guide: https://www.google.com/insidesearch/authorship.html
Establishing authorship from a WordPress Blog involves verifying the author's email address as described by Google as well as implementing rel=’’author’’ tag in the following three steps. For a more detailed a guide on how to implement rel=’’author’’ using the “3 Link Method,” check out this this post by AJ Kohn.
- A link from your blog post or article to your author page using rel=”author”
- A link from your author page to your Google profile page using rel=”me”
- A link from your Google profile page to your author page using rel=”me”
To test the current authorship implementation for your site, please visit this rich snippet tool: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets
Share “Stunning” Content
Although businesses already understand that producing great content takes time and effort, a major consideration for Google+ is determining the type of content that you will post on this platform.
RKG feels that businesses should continue to focus on the identity factor that Google+ can deliver across other Google products such as its core search product and AdWords Advertising. Focus on producing relevant knowledge and recommendations that help potential customers make decisions.
Along with publishing in-depth information about your products it may be important to publish about the entire industry and environment in which your business and customers operate.
Developing Hangouts to engage your customers and offer them tours of your business and products. It is a good general practice to include rich media content in posts.
Know Your Google+ Audience
Segment your new followers into circles as they discover your page. Read through profiles and attempt to categorize them by demographics and interests. Create a few circles in which to segment followers and segment further as you go. As you define these circles you will gain a clearer understanding of your audience and the type of content they may favor. You can even ask your customers which product or service related circles in which they would like to be included.
Segmenting well allows for more relevant conversations. This New York Times Blog article details how deal and promotions oriented content can then be developed for specific circles of follows depending on how you have segmented them.
Formatting Google+ Posts
Create a bolded title for your Google+ posts
*Bold titles are offset with asterisks*
As with twitter, use #hashtags to define the content of your posts.
Drive Followers via Existing Social Profiles
Ask for follows on other Social Platforms and install the G+ badge in order to: build a following quickly, drive more interaction with content, and get added to circles.
Post often and engage followers with exclusive content, promotions, and hangouts. Start individual conversations by tagging users with the @name capability.
Utilize Google+ Ripples
Ripples in Google+ allow you to track how a post is shared across Google+ in a visual format.
Utilize ripples to:
- Understand who is sharing your content
- Understand what type of content is gaining the most momentum
- Identify influencers who’s content is being shared frequently
- Identify users who can help connect you to strong influencers
Leverage Google+ for Paid Search
Google+ records +1’s that you have accumulated across the web and stores them in one place. In order to start showing these accumulated social recommendations in your AdWords campaigns you must next enable AdWords social extensions.
Within your AdWords account, click on the Ad Extensions tab. On the ‘View’ drop down menu select ‘Social Extensions’ from the drop down menu and choose ‘New Extension’. You’ll be prompted to enter the URL for your Google+ Page.
For additional information, please refer to this RKG post with additional information regarding leveraging Google+ for paid search: /blog/google-plus-pages-search-marketing/26012012/