If you have a small or local business and are looking to utilize Google Plus to grow a following, get more +1s or simply improve SEO and search rankings reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Google Plus continues to be a very hot topic of conversation for local business owners. Small business owners throughout the United States are looking for ways to get more customers. One way to do this is to have prime real estate on the front page of Google search. Unfortunately, this real estate does not come cheap nor is it easy to maintain. Some business owners are willing to spend $50 to $100 per click through a Google Adwords pay per click (PPC) campaign because they know the value of being on the front page of Google search.
Google Plus is the social layer of Google so it stands to reason that Google would use signals from Google Plus to determine what business websites are offering value to their visitors and customers. Unfortunately, Google Plus is a very difficult social network to understand. There are circles, communities, Hangouts on Air, YouTube integration, notifications and much more.
In fact, most business owners attempt to use Google Plus but give up because of the steep learning curve. Rather than giving up it is advisable to use the product that is integrated into Google Maps, Google Search, YouTube, Android and almost every other Google product. When getting started it is well worth the investment to hire someone that has used and understands the product. With over 575,000 followers and years of experience on the network I can offer some insight as to how to use Google Plus for business.
Google Plus is an All Encompassing Social Network
Most social networks are specific to one need. Instagram only allows users to share photos. Snapchat only allows users to send self destructing pictures and videos, Twitter only allows 140 characters or less. For the most part Facebook is only for connecting with friends and family. LinkedIn is only for connecting to professionals and business partners. Very rarely do users cross over and use Twitter to have business discussions or use LinkedIn to connect with family through photos. It does happen, but it is rare.
When Google was deciding on the launch of Google Plus they took all the information they had about the different social networks and made on all encompassing social network. If photographers simply want to share photos, they can do that. If business partners want to communicate with other business minded individuals they can do that. If the desire is to offer short bursts of information, Google Plus can be used like Twitter. Unfortunately, this makes people wonder, “What exactly is Google Plus?”
To answer that question, Google Plus is the social layer of Google. It allows any Google user to connect across platforms. Users no longer need a different account for YouTube, Android, GMail and Google Docs. If a user wants to comment on a YouTube video and share it with friends they can now do that through Google Plus. What makes Google Plus so very powerful for small businesses is the fact that Google continues to weigh this particular social network much more than others. If you want to get the most out of Google Plus for your business please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com as I offer several consulting opportunities.
Google Does Not Get Along with Facebook and Twitter
In the past several years it has become quite clear that Facebook and Twitter are not willing to let Google crawl and index their content in Google search. This means almost all Facebook updates and Tweets are only available within those social networks. To make this even more disheartening to small businesses, the search opportunities on both Facebook and Twitter are lacking. This means a tweet or a Facebook post has a life span of about two hours. A viral Facebook post or Tweet might have the life span of 24 to 48 hours but that is not very common.
The lifespan of a Google Plus post is as long as Google remains relevant. All public Google Plus posts are crawled, indexed and ranked in search. This does not mean a small business will be able to rank for “Chapel Hill Realtor” with a Google Plus post but they will be able to rank for longer keyword phrases. More importantly, this will allow the small business to show Google they are serious when it comes to producing quality content for their users.
Ultimately, Google wants what is best for their users and searchers. If Facebook and Twitter are unwilling to allow Google to crawl tweets and Facebook posts Google wants their users to have some type of social network opportunity. Businesses must accept that Google is going to push the quality to the top of search. The best realtor in Chapel Hill will eventually get to the top of Google search. One way they can prove they are the best is by using Google Plus and other Google products to illustrate their area of expertise.
Business and Local Pages on Google Plus
Google Plus has several opportunities for local small businesses. There is a business page option that allows the Google Plus user to select a local business. I always refer to these types of pages at Google+ Local Pages. The most important thing about these types of Google Plus pages is the verification check mark. This means that Google has sent a PIN post card to a specific address to verify the business location. There is also an opportunity to receive a phone call from Google. Business owners can also “claim this page” through Google Maps if they own the business.
Time and again I have noticed that verified pages on Google not only rank very well in search but they show up in Google Maps listings. Several of my clients have been able to trigger the Google Knowledge Graph by increasing their activity on a Google+ Local page. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of API’s available for Google Plus at the moment, meaning that businesses must put forth a little more effort to grow a Google Plus following. It is not like Facebook or Twitter in which a program can be set up and it is on auto pilot. I offer several packages that help businesses increase activity and exposure through their Google+ Local business page. Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if this can help your business.
After a business has been verified by Google it then has the opportunity to receive reviews from customers. These reviews are very important. Many times SEO companies and firms have pointed out that reviews help a company show up higher in the Google search listing and the Google Maps listing. One thing is certain, reviews do not hurt. In fact, I would strongly suggest all businesses come up with a strategy to get reviews from customers. Amazon.com has done this better than anyone which has made it one of the largest retailers in the world. If you are struggling to get reviews I will be more than happy to help with that concern through my consulting work.
Do You Need a Google Plus Consultant?
Every business owner has the opportunity to hop on Google Plus and learn at their own pace. Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, Google Plus is not easy. Several small business owners have told me they have no issues learning and using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn but Google Plus is a tougher egg to crack. For this reason, it is worth it to hire a consultant that has learned the product and has proven to be successful. As of March 2014, I have accumulated over 585,000 followers and I receive thousands of +1s on any given day.
For two years I studied the behavior of not only Google engineers but those that use the Google Plus product. This has allowed me to hone in on opportunities that are available for local small businesses. I have helped everyone from personal injury lawyers to chiropractors to real estate agents. Almost all local small businesses could benefit from Google Plus because it helps to drastically increase exposure on both a social network and in search.
Ranking in search is the way that most small businesses make money from an online presence. If ranking in search is important for your small business I cannot urge you enough to use the social layer of Google known as Google Plus. If you want to get the most out of the product feel free to contact me at email@example.com and we will discuss how I can speed up the learning process. I offer several different packages to suit the needs of my clients. Whether it be content, copywriting, photography, Google Plus sharing, building communities, brand recognition or consulting there are ways I can assist your business.
As we continue to move forward in the social media advertising and marketing business ecosystem it is important to spend time on social networks that will offer returns in the future. Google Plus is just that as every Google Plus post is crawled, indexed and ranked in Google search. This cannot be said of any other social network including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The Real Estate Industry
For the last several months I have worked one on one with real estate companies as well as realtors. This is a niche or industry that can benefit greatly from Google Plus. Google Plus is being baked into search so it would make sense that a realtor would want to grow their following so their announcements related to the real estate market would be seen by more people that happen to be search keywords related to that term. If a realtor builds a following of 1000 local potential home buyers it will be much easier to sell a home when it comes on the market.
Rather than sitting on Facebook and Twitter trying to fight a losing battle it might be wise to use Google Plus to increase search rankings and reach those that are willing to pull the trigger and buy a home. Something else special about Google Plus is the ability to create or join communities. If you have a network of business partners or friends that can be helpful for your real estate career you can create a private community in which you have conversations that are limited to just those invited to the community. If you want your announcements to be public you can create or join one of the public communities in the real estate industry.
While the real estate industry can greatly benefit from Google Plus there are several other industries that would be smart to take advantage of the resources. I have worked with several lawyers and attorneys that have been able to rank very well in search using Google Plus Communities, Hangouts on Air (YouTube videos) and Google+ Local Business pages.
Google Plus for Lawyers and Attorneys
One of the reasons the legal industry can greatly benefit from Google Plus is the SEO value. Almost every lawyer or attorney that owns a private practice would love to rank for their “money” keywords. Unfortunately, many of these same lawyers and attorneys have used poor ways to gain an audience in the past. They may have sought out links or used bad article marketing techniques such as copying and pasting the same article over and over on all the different websites. When trying to build an audience it takes time and quality. If all you are doing is copying and pasting a poorly written article Google is not going to think you are a valuable resource to their audience.
When it comes to Google Plus it is quite obvious that quality rises to the top. If you are going to simply share the same links over and over it is highly unlikely there will be engagement on posts or within communities. This is why it might be worth it to hire a consultant to come up with a better long term strategy.