Since allowing people to add Google+ Pages to their listings in UK Small Business Directory and add their business to our Google+ Directory the one thing that really stands out for us is just how few people know how to set up Google+ Pages for Business properly.
The most common problems we see when people set up Google+ Listings are;
1. People not making their Google+ Pages public
2. People adding Google+ Profiles and not Google+ Pages
3. People not completing their About Page
4. People not linking their Google+ Page with their website
With this in mind we have produced full instructions on how to set up a Google Plus Business Page and optimise it to gain the full advantage.
These instructions talk about How to create a Google+ Page, Why and when to use locate, how to make your page fully visible, how to connect, the importance of profile, page, product, service, when not to add images to posts, what to do before posting a link, when to post on Google+ and more
Google+ Tips on Setting up a Google+ Page for business usage.
With these initial Google+ tips we will assume you are creating a Google+ Page for your business and will assume you are using a Google account with your own Google+ Profile already well optimised as touched on in a post I made before the launch of Google+ How to improve your Google Profile
Assuming your Google+ Profile is well set up, you are signed in to it, and you are setting up a Google+ Page for a local based business which has a good Google Places listing.
The 1st important SEO tip is when setting up your Google+ Page is to use the locate facility to tie together your Google+ Page and your Google Places listing, if you don’t use the locate facility when creating a new Google+ Page some features are not included in your new Google+ Page.
Follow the instructions ensuring you set up your business exactly how it appears offline, use the correct name, address, phone number, email address etc.
With your Google+ Page set up now is the time to enhance it.
Before going any further though, one very important point, Your Google+ Profile and your Google+ Page are 2 separate entities, always remember this and be aware of which you are using.
OK, you have created your page, assuming you are still using your Google+ Profile if you go to your homepage you will now see a small drop down arrow and the word Page next to your main profile picture. This controls your switching from using Google+ as your Page or Profile.
Click this arrow and then on the name of the page you have just created (if the arrow and name is not there yet, you may need to refresh or even log out and log back in again) and you are taken to your page.
ALWAYS check top right of the Google+ page to see who you are signed in as.
Confident that you are signed in as your page, you can now enhance it.
Click on your profile tab and you will see an edit profile option, follow all instructions carefully paying particular attention that you ensure all settings are set to display to Anyone on the Web (unless you prefer not to).
Add a nice profile picture and 5 nice images to display along the top, there are some clever tools available which you can use to create these images, but we will look at that another time. Make a nice About section, including your phone number, web address and email address (this may need verifying)
Add your recommended links to the right of the page, being sure to include websites that you want to claim authorship of or as the publisher of. (we will touch on this later)
Make all your circles on the left sidebar available to all on the web (you can change this anytime.
Hide your videos tab (unless you have videos to add)
Make all photos public, downloadable and showing geo-location (can be changed anytime)
Add tag line under title and again double check you have set to Anyone on the Web.
After you have finished and saved use the setting View as Anyone on the Web to see how other people will see it.
With your Page set now go back to your homepage (check top right of page to ensure you are still using Google+ as your Page not Profile).
Tips on using a Google+ Page for Business
Before carrying on I just need to mention Google+ is changing and having new features added to it all the time, these Google+ tips may not include the latest features.
OK, so we will assume you have followed the instructions in previous posts and now have a well set up Google+ Profile and a well set up Google+ Page for your business.
The next thing you need to do is link these up with your websites by using rel=publisher links for content you want your Google+ Page to be seen as the publisher of, and rel=author links for content you want your Google+ Profile to be seen as the author of.
One thing to note is that the Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool only reads one if you are using rel=publisher and rel=author on the same page, which has led to a little confusion as to whether to use one or the other (more about this later).
update: 20/12/11 – The Google rich snippets testing tool has now been updated to give both rel=publisher and rel=author information when used on the same page. It still gives a warning, but this can be ignored if you are using the 2 tags correctly.
How to link your Google+ Page to your website
Quite poignant really when we have had it drummed in to us that reciprocal linking is bad (only if done as a way of manipulating Page Rank or SERPs results, won’t let that ruin me saying the above though ) but the way to form a connection between your Google+ Page and websites is via a form of reciprocal linking.
The 1st thing you need to do is ensure your Google+ Page is linking to your website (preferably the root) This is done via the About page on your Google+ Page in the brief description you write about your Page, with the website link or as one of the recommended links, example here – https://plus.google.com/104044418361598053077/about/
Next you need to add something to your site that links you with your Google+ Page
Go back to the homepage of your Google+ Page and under your profile picture click on Get Started
Read the section Connect your website which gives you a number of options. badges, icons, or just text to go in the head of your page.
With your site and Google+ page connected head back to the Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool to test your website.
With everything set up it’s now time to start using you Google+ Page
The 1st thing I recommend is don’t jump in, as the boy scouts say Be Prepared (in fact you should have already prepared all this previously) Don’t go mad joining Circles, telling the World, linking to your Google+ Page until you have 3 or 4 posts of top quality content on it, as the saying goes 1st impressions count, send your Page to lots of Circles with no (or poor) content on it and they may not come back, send it with good quality content already on and they may be more inclined to connect with you and add you to circles.
Posting on Google+ Pages
We will assume you already have enough good content for 3or 4 posts prepared so now is the time to start posting, back to your homepage and click on the stream box to open it.
1st little tip is a nice header line
Whether it will change or not, but at the moment Google+ doesn’t allow for creating titles and headers for posts, to combat this you can create your own by writing a short title and enclosing it with *on either end, example, *This is a short snappy title* What this does (and what very few people seem to know yet) is makes that line of text bold.
Next leave a couple of line breaks and start your post (aesthetically the posts look much better by doing this)
2nd tip – If you plan on writing a post that links to a web page on your own website do not add any images to the post in Google+ but instead add a very catching image that will still look good when scaled down to a 100 x 100px to the Web Page you are linking too. (I tend to add a 200 x 200 or 300 x 300 image)
With your web page prepared, your post written on Google+ click on where it says Add link and paste in the URL of the page you are linking to.
When doing this you will notice an image appears, scroll through the images to select the most appropriate (this is why you prepared one earlier) then add the link.
Happy with the post, happy with the image now is the time to post, 1st make sure you have the post set to display public then think about sharing it.
Before continuing you need to ask yourself what are your main reasons for posting on Google+ (more about this at a later date, I’m sure you can work this out) ?
Just before making your post in the Google+ stream you can highlight key points with ** and hash-tag the main word it is related to
i.e. if you are writing about SEO you could use this format
*Top 10 SEO Tips*
These are the top tips every #seo should be using….
The ** makes the words bold, the # tags the word and creates a link to the search for the word.
Tips when posting
Timing – Get to know when is the best time for posting, this will become clearer the more you use it, think of it like bulk emailing and read tips on bulk emailing to pick up useful information.
The 2 post rule – Google appears to only display 2 posts per person in feeds, use the 2 post rule carefully.
Get seen – This will be delved in to later, as discussed in previous Google+ tips, the initial idea is to get at least 5 or 6 good posts in your stream before growing your circles (1st impressions)
Engage – when people comment they like a quick reply, if you make a post, not check it for 24 hours and someone commented 23 hours earlier, they may never come back to see the reply to their comment (watch your incoming and notifications, more about this later)
Remember who you are – It can still be confusing the way Google+ switches between Profiles and Pages, always know who you are when posting, commenting, or replying.
+1′ing – Don’t be afraid to +1 comments and good posts, but like wise don’t get too +1 left click happy.
Tips on using Google+
As I keep stressing one of the most important things about Google+ is knowing who you are and who you are posting or commenting as. This is particularly important if you have multiple pages.
Next is engagement, don’t just sit back and read what is happening around your particular subject, get in there and play an active part. This doesn’t mean constantly posting about the subject, it also means following the interesting people and commenting on their posts, not only does this build up your contacts, you gain more confidence and soon rather than it being you just following interesting people and posting the odd comment, they start interacting with you and people start following you and commenting on your interesting posts.
When commenting and posting remember no one likes spammers or over promotion, don’t use Google+ with your marketing or sales head on, you’re not at a marketing meeting or a sales seminar, your relaxing in the bar afterwards.
Circles are there to grow – don’t just hide yourself away in a little 2 man inner circle, get out there and see what’s happening, get those circles revolving you can always create smaller more personal circles as you get to know people better.
I’ll say it again, engage, engage, engage.
You may not be the most sociable person offline, but online you can be who you want to be.
Eye-catching images in posts as your circles expand your streams get longer, we all do it, scan read an eye catching image in a stream does what it says on the tin – catches the eye. Don’t go doing this too often or you lose the eye catching effect, and also make sure the post does the eye catching image justice.
Replying to comments – think before you type – read before you post. You may be able to delete what you right, but you can’t delete it from the memories of the people who read it before you delete it.
Quick replying to comments – Baring in mind what I have written above, if people write a comment on a post you make, or a reply to a comment you have made, they want an equally quick reply, always keep an eye on your posts and comments and respond quickly.
More Google+ Tips coming soon….
Please feel free to comment below with any questions you have regarding Google+ or if you have any questions about any of the Google+ Tips I provide.