Category: SEO, Social Media  Posted on: July 26, 2013 by
26 July 2013,
 3

How to Optimize Google Plus Business Page. Who is this guide for?

optimize google plus business page

Intermediate content of this guide is for marketers who are familiar with Google Plus, have already created Google Plus Business Page but have only basic experience in optimizing, promoting and taking the most of the Google Plus Business Page features. From our experience, this guide benefits mostly Law and Real Estate firms. This content typically covers the complex functions of Google Plus that includes implementing JavaScript or HTML code within your website. It describes best practices to optimize Google Plus Business Page.  It provides a lot of useful tips to help you promote your business through Google Plus. After reading this guide you will feel comfortable with the features of Google Plus Business Page.

Go ahead and get started.

Why Do I Need a Google Plus Business Page?

Google plus versus facebook

When I first tried Google Plus Business Page I wasn’t impress. Everything was difficult and not very user friendly. My clients were tearing their hair out screaming ‘why should I be on Google Plus if no one else is?’ I thought to myself this is a platform that might not survive for too long if they don’t make changes. But they did change things and they did survive. They improved layout, usability of the website, and implemented various plugins to use Google Plus on mobile devices as well as in search results and on your website. When my clients ask me now what platform would I suggest for their business , it is Google Plus! Why? Not only does Google owns Google Plus but it is also very business friendly. In my opinion this is a much better platform for businesses and uses a better mobile integration across web and mobile devices than Facebook. What’s more, Google hangouts and communities allow for better online socializing than Facebook. The Google Plus mission statement is to ‘to make sharing on the web more like sharing in real life’.  This is why you should learn how to optimize your Google Plus Business Page to get the most of it.

Google Plus Statistics That You Can No Longer Ignore

Google Plus is already the second most used social media platform after Facebook and it is growing rapidly.

Why Google Plus

From June 2012 through to March 2013 its active users grew by 33%.  If you want to reach your potential customers and interact with your current ones, can you ignore where they spend their time? I don’t think so. Firms who are not on Google Plus are simply falling behind. Seth Sternberg, Google’s product manager for the Google Plus platform said:

“When we launched Google Plus Sign-In, we wanted to bridge the gap between desktop and mobile by allowing web users to instantly download a site’s Android app with just one click using our over-the-air install feature. Since launch, we’re now finding that 40% of people who are offered to install a website’s mobile app, accept. This is a significant benefit for consumers, who can now easily access their favorite sites on the go, and developers, who are experiencing greater mobile usage.”

Of course, Google Plus Business Page is still in its initial stages but seeing how Google’s platform improved over a short period of time is truly impressive. The future for Google Plus is bright.

Google Plus Business Page Optimization

If you are still reading this I hope I convinced you that having a Google Plus Page for business is no longer an option but a must.  I will now share with you some advice on how to best optimize your Google Plus Business Page to gain more exposure and more engagement with your customers and prospects. This will help you not only become a more social business but also it is going to improve your website’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

1. Link Google Plus Business Page to Your Website

Linking your Google Plus Business Page to your website is useful because it allows your friends, fans and other connections to easily add you to their circles on Google or to follow your company. It also shows Google that your Google Plus Business Page is authentic and it determines relevancy in search results.

Linking your Google Plus Page to Google Webmaster Tool

If you already have the Google Webmaster tool installed for your website , then you can approve your Google Plus Business Page by using this tool. In order to do this:

  1. Check whether you are already logged in to Google Plus
  2. Switch to your Google Plus page
  3. Click on ‘Profile’
  4. Click ‘About’ and then ‘Link website’ next your website address
  5. Finally go to Webmaster Tools and confirm the link

If your website was verified successfully it will show verified checkmark mark next to your URL in the ‘About’ tab:

link your website to google plus

Linking your Google Plus Business Page with a Code Snippet

Another way to link your Google Plus Business Page to your website is to add this snippet code within <head> section:
<link href="https://plus.google.com/{+PageId}" rel="publisher" /> 

2. Add Google Plus Authorship

If you are already on Google Plus you may have heard about Google Authorship. What is it? Google Authorship is a ‘rich snippet’ which basically means a page markup with an extra text that shows in search results. In case of Google Authorship this ‘rich snippets’ provides more info about the author with the photo and his or her other content like in this example:

 

Google authorship

Moreover, if you have your Google Authorship properly set up you will also show up on the right hand side of the Google search results when someone searches for you name. This is an example:

google autorship search results

Why is it important for your Google Plus Business Page optimization?  If you write articles or blog posts for the website that is linked to your Google Plus Business Page, your Google Authorship gives you the following benefits:

How to setup Google Authorship for your website’s articles?

In order to complete Google Authorship you have to verify that you are the author of the article.  Here are the necessary steps in order to successfully install your Google Authorship:

  1. Sign in to your Google Plus Page https://plus.google.com/
  2. Click on ‘Change profile photo:Google plus profile photo
  3. Upload a clear head shot photo
  4. Save the photo and go to your main profile page
  5. Click on ‘About’
  6. Scroll down to links and click edit
  7. ‘Under contributor to’ insert the URLs where your content can be found

Is this all? Not so fast… Now you need to let Google now that you are the author of the article. You need to go to your website and add the following code to your article :

<a href="[profile_url]?rel=author">Google+</a>

Example:

<a href="116750789324765597735?rel=author">Google+</a>

Other things to remember so that Google can recognize your Google Authorship

  1. Make sure a byline containing your name appears on each page of your content (for example, “By Alicia Porrata”).
  2. Make sure your byline name matches the name on your Google Plus profile.
  3. Verify you have an email address on the same domain as your content by going to this URL.
  4. If you don’t have your email on the same domain as your content you may use alternative method to establish Google Authorship.

This is it. Your Google Plus Authorship markup is now established.  You can also test your ‘rich snippet’ by using this Google’s data testing tool and see author stats in webmaster tool.

Are you enjoying yourself? I have more!

3. Add Google Plus Publisher Markup

Google Plus Publisher markup shows your Business company info (usually Google Plus Business Page and Google Places Map) on the right hand side of the search results. This is called Google Plus Direct Connect. When someone searchers for your brand online Google connects your website’s URL with your Google Plus Business Page and shows both in the search results.

 

google publisher

 

This brings relevancy to your Google Plus Business Page and your website and gives your brand more exposure. In order to establish Google Publisher for your website you need to:

  • Add rel=”publisher” link to your website by adding this code inside the <head> element:
<a href="https://plus.google.com/[yourpageID]" rel="publisher">Find us on Google+</a>

Example:

<a href="https://plus.google.com/113622563673024015106" rel="publisher">Find us on Google+</a>

When you link your website to your Google Plus Business Page with rel=”publisher” markup it also helps to establish a relationship between your brand, your friends and followers. Most of the time, you will add this code to your home page. However, if there is a more important page than your home page, e.g. product page, you should add this link to the product description page. You can use the same testing tool as for Google Authorship to check whether you have correctly installed the code. If something is wrong, you may also verify your website by using this form.

4. Add Google Plus Badge To Your Website

In order to give your Google Plus Business Page even more visibility you should insert Google Plus Badge to your website. This also allows the viewer to follow your company on Google Plus or  +1 your page:

google plus badge

 

5. Add Google Plus Share Button

Similarly to Facebook Share, Google Plus introduced Google Share button.  Compared to the Google +1 button, the Share button is said to provide more value. This is because you add an extra link to your page or post when you use share button whereas Google +1 does not include this extra link. Therefore, some companies such as Mashable changed their social sharing button of their posts from Google Plus +1 to Google share button to take advantage of this. The button looks similar to G+ button:

google plus share button

 

If you feel that Google Plus Share would provide more value for your pages then you can replace it with +1 button. However, you need to understand that viewers are more likely to use the +1 than the share button. The reason for that is that when you use share button you may add a comment and choose who to share with, which simply takes more time:

Google Share button Moreover, sometimes users might simply not want to share a page with their connections.  Of course, you may always add both +1 and share buttons to your social sharing option, however, keep in mind not to obscure user usability. Sometimes less is more!

6. Install Google Plus Content Recommendations for Mobile Devices

Google Plus Content Recommendations for mobile devices make it simple for your business to keep your viewers engaged with your website.  When your readers browse through your site the mobile recommendations show relevant articles that users might be interested  in without obstructing the reading experience. This inspires deeper engagement and loyalty. When you read at the bottom of your mobile Google suggest some other content for you from your Google Plus circles. When you click on it, a screen with recommendations pops up. These two images explains how it works:

Google Content Recommendations for Mobile Devices

How can you enable Google Mobile recommendations for your business website? In order to do this you need to add  JavaScript to your website and enable mobile recommendations from your Google Plus Page Dashboard. Here is step by step guide to turn your mobile recommendations on:

  1. Go to your Google Plus Page Dashboard
  2. Under your Page click ‘Manage this page’ which will transfer you to the dashboard
  3. Next click ‘For your side’ tab on the right hand side.
  4. On the ‘For your site tab’ click ‘One time setup’ in the top right.
  5. Click ‘Get setup code’ and when you receive the code you should insert it within the <head> element of your website

You may also skip the above steps and simply insert this snippet code in the <head> section of your website. Make sure to replace https://plus.google.com/{{PAGE_ID}} with your Google Plus page URL, e.g. https://plus.google.com/113622563673024015106

<script type="text/javascript">// <![CDATA[
(function() {       var po = document.createElement("script"); po.type = "text/javascript"; po.async = true;       po.src = "https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js?publisherid={{PAGE_ID}}";       var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s);     })();
// ]]></script>

 

Final thoughts on optimizing Google Plus Business Page

Matt Cutts says that “Google+ is like crack, but in a good way“. Even though getting into Google Plus Business Page may be overwhelming at first, once you are there it can be really addictive and rewarding. With all those markups, snippets, plugins, and recommendations you can see that Google Plus is doing everything to provide the best experience for the user and therefore is perfect for your business social media presence. Furthermore, because Google Plus properties are integrating with Google’s search engine result it impacts your website’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Simply ignoring Google Plus Business Page may mean that you are falling behind your competitors. So don’t waste your time and commit a couple of hours per week to optimize your Google Plus Business Page using those best practices.

What’s your favorite Google Plus Best Practice? Please share in the comments below or contact Alicia Porrata on Google+.

 Learn more about Google Plus

An Online Marketer and an SEO Specialist with over 7 years of experience in IT and eCommerce. Her role involves serving small businesses and start-ups with analytics and recommendations to improve the customer acquisition funnels by incorporating marketing and technology together.You can find a fuller profile on Google+ or LinkedIn

3 comments on “How to Optimize Google Plus Business Page: A Best Practices Guide

  1. Neil Ferree says:

    Excellent guide! More thorough than many of the others I’ve read.

  2. John Singh says:

    Thanks for Excellent Guide to optimize google+ page

  3. Peter J says:

    Very clear and complete step by step information on Google Plus Business Pages, ready to implement and see results. Thanks!!!

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