Google+ is out there and, like holiday dinners with the in-laws, you can choose not to participate at your own peril. The good news, however, is that Google has made it very easy for you and your business to jump on board. “How easy?” you may ask? Well, there is a good chance that there is already a page out there for your business on Google+. You just need to claim it!
The burning question is this: how do you find your unclaimed business page on Google? It’s an excellent question! Here’s how to find your business page on Google+:
1. Type your business name, city, state and the words “google plus” into Google Search
2. If your Google+ business page exists, a URL that resembles this one should appear: https://plus.google.com/1162xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
3. If a Google+ page doesn’t exist yet for your business, easily create one by visiting Google+ for Business
If you are able to find your Google+ page, it should look something like this:
1. Click the ‘Manage this page’ button
2. Verify your right to claim the page
3. Edit the page’s information and, like a personal Google+ account, share content and create circles
If your business page is already out there on Google+, why should you even bother to claim it?
Well, there are many benefits of claiming your page. But first, let’s look at what claiming your Google+ business page won’t do:
It will not effect the search engine ranking of your company’s main website (not automatically anyway, but you can optimize your Google+ page to do this; see how below)
It will not turn your reviewers into followers (you will still need to build your page’s Google+ community from scratch)
In spite of these conditions, claiming and updating your Google+ business page will give you more control over how your business is presented in Google’s search results. Consider the following picture comparing an unclaimed business page (left) with a claimed one (right):
As you can see, the biggest differences between the claimed and unclaimed business pages is that the claimed page contains more accurate maps, venue pictures, an up-to-date link to the restaurant’s menu and a prominent star rating. These differences are not major, but they are important. This is because when people visit your Google+ business page, you only have a few seconds to capture their attention. Even if your target audience never clicks through to your actual Google+ business page, it will see a richer presentation of your business on the main Google search results page when you’ve claimed the page. This offers subtle reinforcement that your business is reputable and authentic.
Also notice how your business’ contact information is presented. It is very important that your information here is accurate and complete. Here’s one big reason why: 70% of people who search for a business on their mobile device call that business via the phone number that appears in the search results, according to Search Engine Watch. So if your Google+ page contains a phone number, it’s going to show up in Google’s search engine results page (SERP).
And just in case people do click through and visit your business’ Google+ page, make sure the page is populated with diverse, interesting content. Connect with your audience and re-share useful information so that people are encouraged to +1 your content. This will raise your authority within Google and will help push your brand higher in search results, especially in local searches.
No conversation about Google+ business pages would be complete without discussing SEO, Google Places and Google+ Local. Basically, Google wants to become the Yellow Pages of the internet, and it wants your help in doing this. When you update your Google+ business page, Google wins by providing users accurate, complete, verified information on your business, and you win by having your business’ information readily available to potential customers.
While claiming your company’s Google+ page will not directly optimize your business website for Google search, it will absolutely optimize the information on your Google+ business page to appear in relevant search results. For example, you can fill the About section of your business page with keywords and use them as anchor text that link back to your company’s main website. You can also share your own links via your company’s Google+ page and, when these links get are +1’d and shared, SEO value will increase.
For many business owners, Google+ is a new territory that they hesitate to get involved with. Like any social media channel, Google+ has its own best practices and there is an art to working the network to your advantage. Using your company’s Google+ page the right way will help your SEO efforts. It is not a good thing to have that empty slate out there on Google+, populated solely by second hand information. So go ahead, claim your Google+ page and put your business’ best impression out there!
Special thanks to R. Campell at DashBurst for this detailed info!