How To Create Google Plus Business Pages

Well, they said they were working on it, and finally it’s here. Google plus has come up with Business Pages, a similar concept to its arch rival facebook fan pages. Announced on Monday, now you can add your favourite brands to your circle. This gives business a chance to interact directly with the consumers and engage them with announcements, contests and more. Every business can claim their page on Google plus, whether it’s a small business or international brand, they can manage their social identity through business page.

You can check out +Kaushal Shah Google plus page and +1 it to keep in touch for latest SEO & PPC updates. Here are the steps you can follow to create a business page for your website or blog on Google plus:

Follow the link to create page. You need to login if you are not already logged in, and then you will be taken to this page.

Google Plus Business Page Categories

When you choose the correct category, fill up the details. If you select, local business or place, it will ask for your phone number. If you are using the same account for Google Local Business Center, it will fetch all the information from LBC to plus. Easy, isn’t it?

Google Plus Business Page Integration With Google Local Business Center

Make sure you choose the correct category, as there is no facility to change the categories right now. May be they will introduce this in future! If you choose other categories apart from Local Business, you will be allowed to fill the form with respective details!

The next step is to upload the image for your business page. Mostly this will be your logo. You can also edit the image using picnik.

Google Plus Business Page Profile Logo Upload

The next step is to get followers for your business page. You can share the created page on your stream and start attracting new followers.

Get Followers To Your Google Plus Business Page

This is how your page will look like once everything is done. I’ve also posted a welcome message for new followers.

Google Plus Business Page

It is very easy to maintain your profile and pages using the simple interface. If you have multiple pages, they all will be listed in the drop down.

Google Plus Business Page Management

Introducing Direct Connect

Google Plus is also introducing “Direct Connect” which will make it easier for people to find Google Plus Business Pages right from the main Google search. Just put a “+” and then the business name you want to find a Plus page for, and if it exists, Google will take you directly to it. Here is an official video that explains it better:

Stay tuned for more updates, as the plus box (similar to facebook fan box) which can be integrated on websites and blogs is coming soon.

Here are the few questions that come to my mind for which I would like to have the answers in the comments below:

  • Is it really going to be huge or will it be just copy of Facebook fan pages?
  • How will features like hangout help small businesses?
  • What kinda new features we might see in the future? Would you like to have page customization features like facebook?

Google+ For Business – SEO Game Changer

First came the Google+ button and as an SEO, we were discussing the effects on SEO by Google+ button, and now everybody seems to be talking about the latest love of social media, Google+. The G+ is still only for personal profiles and they actually denied people creating business profiles saying that Google+ For Business are coming soon with selected businesses. The form was open till 15th July for businesses to apply for business page and guys at Google will select diverse set of businesses which will have Google+ business page as on testing purpose.

One of the business pages I came across is Ford. There doesn’t seem to be much of a difference right now, but I am sure guys are working on it. As you can see in the screen shot below, the big and bright “Test Account” button denotes that it is still under testing.

According to Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land, this business page is actually helping Ford to rank better in Google search results. As he is connected to Ford via G+, when he searches for “Car”, Google is showing the ford homepage in search results mentioning that he is connected via G+. More details can be found here. So Google has already started manipulating the results according to the user’s likes and connections. We all know about social search and enough has been said on the topic, so just as more “Likes” on facebook or more re-tweets on twitter affects the rankings, do you think more pluses will help brands rank better in Google? Let me know in comments!

P.S. Just to share the popularity of G+, have a look at the graph below:

Google Social Search – Find your friends’ updates on Google

I would consider last week as Social Media week. News sites and internet marketing blogs haven’t had enough of Bing’s Twitter and Facebook deal along with Google shaking hands with Twitter for another great deal, now we have Google Social Search.

What is Google Social Search?

Google social search which is still in beta can be opted in through Google labs. It is nothing but an amalgamation of updates from your social network status updates in one place. e.g. if you are searching for “New Zealand”, Google social search will show updates, twits and photos of your friends who have had their last vacation in New Zealand.

According to Google Blog:

A lot of people write about New York, so if I do a search for [new york] on Google, my best friend’s New York blog probably isn’t going to show up on the first page of my results. Probably what I’ll find are some well-known and official sites. We’ve taken steps to improve the relevance of our search results with personalization, but today’s launch takes that one step further. With Social Search, Google finds relevant public content from your friends and contacts and highlights it for you at the bottom of your search results. When I do a simple query for [new york], Google Social Search includes my friend’s blog on the results page under the heading “Results from people in your social circle for New York.” I can also filter my results to see only content from my social circle by clicking “Show options” on the results page and clicking “Social.”

I was searching for “Bajaj Pulsar” and got a blog page of one of my colleague Jaydip Parikh. Here is the screen shot:

 

How Does it all Work?

Now, you will think that how does Google know your friends and connections? Here are some of the main sources that Google counts to connect to your friends according to Matt Cutts:

• Google Public Profiles

The most obvious source for Google to look into their own data. Here they can find your other social network profile links, blog links etc, which makes it possible to find your other contacts on twitter, facebook or myspace.

• Google Talk Connections
All your gtalk connections will be added to your social network and updates from them will be shown to you.

• Google Reader
If you have subscribed to some blog in your Google reader, the updates from blog will be shown on the search results.

• Extended Network
If you are friend with someone and he / she has 10 other friends, there is a good chance that some of them might know you as well. So, this extended network friends’ update will be also be shown to you in the search results.

Here is a video from matt cutts, that show how does it work?

I think this will really change the SEO game. The real time search craze is getting heat and will change how the sites are ranked, although the social search is turned on only when you are logged in to Google.

Do you think Search engine optimization experts now will have hard time getting the ranking or they will find a way through as usual? Do you think social media will be spammed now like never before in order to get ranking on Google?

Google Goes More Social – Introducing Google Sidewiki

Google added a new feature called Sidewiki to their toolbar. With the help of sidewiki, users will be able to add their comments about  the page they are visiting. This comment can be anything like more information about the topic, link from blog which is discussing the same topic, an insight on history of something and more…

According to Google Blog, sidewiki will help new users find interesting information about the page. According to them:

We’re launching Google Sidewiki, which allows you to contribute helpful information next to any webpage. Google Sidewiki appears as a browser sidebar, where you can read and write entries along the side of the page.

I won’t go into details on how you can use it. Here is a detailed post by Danny Sullivan from SearchEngineLand on Google Sidewiki which will show you how to use it and how you can add comments on other sites.

Now, as an SEO Expert, the first thing that came to my mind after reading about SideWiki is how can I improve my client’s website ranking using this feature, or can I post negative reviews on my client’s competitior’s website and improve my client’s ranking?? Google is smart enough to cover this loophole. They have got an algorithm to decide which comments to show and which comments should show up first. Here is from the official Google blog:

In developing Sidewiki, we wanted to make sure that you’ll see the most relevant entries first. We worked hard from the beginning to figure out which ones should appear on top and how to best order them. So instead of displaying the most recent entries first, we rank Sidewiki entries using an algorithm that promotes the most useful, high-quality entries. It takes into account feedback from you and other users, previous entries made by the same author and many other signals we developed.

Google is going more social this way after introducing searchwiki. This feature makes me compare it with facebook. Its almost similar; e.g. on facebook poeple share links of their interest with their friends, office colleague where as on sidewiki, Google uses google profiles to track the user reviews. So, Google is threatened from Facebook and other social media sites? Let me know in comments what do you think this sifewiki feature means to facebook?

The -T- Factor. You are not on twitter yet??

One of the common question I often get in  my email is “What’s your twitter handle?”; and I reply them “You can follow me @kaushalshah.” So, what’s all this twitter thing?

Twitter is a microblogging social networking site where you can post your daily updates which you can’t share with your friends, family and coworkers via blog or email. According to twitter, it is a thing between blog and email. You can’t send email to all your friends that you are enjoying a nice Cappechino at the Café Coffee Day near your office, but with twitter you can. You can share anything and everything that you think can be sharable to public.You can also see what your friends are upto and reply them.

You must be thinking that twitter is for teenagers who want to have fun while at college. Not Really! Twitter is being used as one of the marketing tools not only by small and medium businesses but also by large corporates. Just like @southwest airlines is updating its flight schedule and timings on twitter, it can make it really personal for your audience.

Here are some tips on how you can use twitter to market your business to large audience.

Engage everyone in your office on Twitter.

It may sound weird, but yes, make everyone twit about their own work and personal life. This will increase the buzz about your company on twitter and will help you in branding your product or service.

Connect with Big Guns.

Connect with bloggers, influencers, leaders and media persons from your industry and make good relations with them. It is far more easier to connect with someone famous on twitter than calling them or emailing them.

Post special announcements, deals etc.

You can post special promotions, deals or freebies on twitter and attract targeted audience.

Promote your company blog, article, news etc.

You can easily post links to your company blog, news or articles on twitter and let your followers know about it in a flash. I often post my new blog posts on twitter.

You can search for specific topics on twitter search and find out what people are talking about. Here is how I find out what people are talking about me. Same way you can monitor conversations and buzz about your brand or company. Here is a good reading on how marketers can use twitter.

Here is a nice funny animation video that will clear up on things what twitter really is.

Don’t forget to follow me @kaushalshah.