In early 2012, Google expanded the focus of its search results from great content, links, keywords and site architecture to include three new areas:
1. Personal results, such as Google+ photos and posts created by or shared specifically with the search user.
2. Profiles in search, meaning Google will display relevant people based on the search term.
3. People and Pages, including people profiles and Google+ pages Google thinks match the search query.
When Google users see fun pictures, people and profiles listed above your search results, you’ll probably notice a significant decrease in hits to your website.
To ensure your business isn’t left out of the mix, you’ll need to create a Google+ Business Page and post to it with some frequency.
Six Quick Steps to Launching Your Google+ Business Page
Visit Google+ for Business to start. To make the process a little easier on you, we’ve created this simple guide that sticks to the basics of Google+ Business Pages.
1. Choose the correct category. You’ll be presented with five category choices. Making sure you select the correct category now saves a lot of headaches down the line.
2. Enter your phone number, or add it to Google. If Google can’t match your business phone number with your business, you can easily add your business to Google’s directory in this step.
3. Change the profile photo. Personal pictures are for personal pages. Of course, every rule has its exceptions, and a personal picture is fine if you’re a professional like an insurance agent, financial planner, doctor, etc.
4. Spread the word from your personal Google+ account. You can promote your new Google+ Business page from your personal Google+ account. If you haven’t created a personal account, it’s a good idea considering customers love to hear from small business owners.
5. Post on your brand new Google+ Business Page. Congratulations, you’ve completed your Google+ page! Like Facebook, it’s essentially an info page until you start making posts and engaging with other users.
6. Link your business website. Click the “Get the badge >>” link to add a badge to your website that links directly to your Google+ page.
Keeping Google+ in Perspective
Google+ may feel like the new toy you can’t stop playing with, but realize its role in the grand scheme of things. Facebook reaches about 800 million users, and Twitter lays claim to more than 300 million tweeters. At this time, Google+ only reaches 62 million users. Google+ will have to fit into—not dominate— your overall social media plan, even though it plays a role in your Google search results.
But make no mistake: As Google controls what’s displayed in search results, using Google+ is critical. Until, of course, Google changes everything yet again.
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