Why Your Business Should Be on Google+

Guest post by Matt Polsky, social media director for Veterans United Home Loans

By now, many of us have already started setting up our Google+ business pages, and have noticed that there’s nothing overly special about these business pages yet, since they currently lack a vanity URL, have no setting for multiple admins and closely resemble a personal page. However, they will be connected back to Google’s search engine in a way that removes the noise made by competitors.

Towards the end of October, I did a simple search using the + operator, which has long been used as a way of identifying words that are required to appear in the desired results. Instead of receiving my query, I was given an error message saying, “The + operator has been replaced. To search for an exact word or phrase, use double quotation marks.”

So where did the + operator go, and why would they replace it? Simply put, the + operator has been assigned a new job – directly send users to a business’ Google+ page. Google refers to this as Google+ Direct Connect and gives every business a reason to have a Google+ page.

For traditional searches, Google+ pages will show up in the SERPs like any other page and will not be weighted any more different than any other page, to comply with anti-trust regulations. However, when a user searches with a “+” in front of a business’ name, they will go directly to that business’ Google+ page, and will not see any other search results.

This feature could be extremely advantageous for brands, making them able to funnel users directly to the information they want show, removing the presence of other sites that get in the way.

Google+ Direct Connect is still in its beta phase and won’t work for every Google+ page just yet. As Google experiments with Direct Connect, they will establish a stronger algorithm and will make it more widely available. As of now, a page’s eligibility for Direct Connect is determined by signals that determine relevancy and popularity, such as social signals, a link between your Google+ page and your website as well as the number of actual searches for that particular brand.

So after the addition of branded pages, will Google+ become the next Facebook or Twitter? Well that is up to Google. They most certainly have the resources, but they lack providing value that is different from Facebook or Twitter, which has caused users to refrain from repeatedly using their service.

At Pubcon 2011, a premier online marketing conference, one of the speakers asked a room of 300 social media specific marketers, who uses Google+ and nearly every hand went up. The next question was who uses Google+ on a daily basis and only four hands went up.

While Google+ may be lacking in stickiness as of now, you must still consider that Google, the premier search engine, is in control of this social network and in the past months, social signals have had a strong effect on the SERPs. In addition to this, remember that Google+ has only been live just over 120 days, yet holds over 40 million users.

As Google sorts out how to provide value different from other social networks, the only remaining problem for businesses is finding the right strategy to persuade customers to use the new + operation and bypass other brands results.

Google loves change and to keep people guessing, which means I feel we can all expect to see Google+ go through a metamorphosis in the upcoming months to a platform that will make it a true competitor with Facebook. With all that being said, what features would you like to see Google add to Google+?

Matt Polsky works in Search and Social Media Marketing and is the Social Media Director for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation’s leading dedicated provider of VA home loans. Connect with Matt on Twitter @mattpolsky.

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  • http://iamkhayyam.blogspot.com iamkhayyam

    Did not enjoy this article, however, I did receive value from the title of it. Thank you for that.

    • http://www.vamortgagecenter.com/ Matt Polsky

      Sorry you didn’t enjoy the article. What more are you looking for?

  • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

    This is an interesting article ” Report: 61 Percent Of Top Brands Have Created Google+ Pages, But No One Is Following” and an even more interesting discussion around what is and isn’t working on Google+. I should note that it’s hosted on Google+! https://plus.google.com/107896527414017792767/posts/TbqnVs5HhWN

    • http://www.vamortgagecenter.com/ Matt Polsky

      Definitely some great discussion going on! As for the report, Google+ pages are targeting the early adopters and I feel will have more success in the future as Google+ gains popularity.

    • http://keithbloemendaal.me Keith Bloemendaal

      Personally, I think people are expecting some sort of hostile takeover of the entire social market by Google Plus, it’s only been out what… 6mos? And only public for a couple, on top of that pages are how new? I think a little patience is in order… the simple fact is, Plus will be effecting search like no other SM site on the market, well because it’s Google.

  • Nyasha K.

    Although i am personally on Google+ i have only used it infrequently because there do not seem to be a lot of people using it yet.  Although i understand what makes Google+ different from other social networking sites, it hasn’t excited me enough to want to use it over other more popular sites like Facebook.  i agree with a previous comment that it is necessary to give it some time to develop though.  i do agree that it is important for businesses to have a presence on the site however.  i am interested to see if Google+ will eventually dominate the market or simply go the way of Google Buzz – nowhere.

    • http://www.vamortgagecenter.com/ Matt Polsky

      Thanks for the comment. I believe Google will find a way to succeed with Google+; however, for that to take place they will most certainly need to find a way to offer value to users that is different or better than the current social networks.

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  • Anonymous

    Great article Matt! Thank you to Brian for the guest post! -CJ

    • http://www.vamortgagecenter.com/ Matt Polsky

      Thanks CJ!

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  • Nicholas Reyes

    Right after I read this article I went and opened a google + business page. I see what your talking about though how it could potentially be extremely advantageous. It seems like google has a pattern of doing things like that, implementing something new which starts off slow and booms quickly once the popularity starts going up. Hopefully this is an avenue that businesses can benefit from in the future.

  • http://www.icu-india.com internet marketing belgium

    very nice and really interesting post to read

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  • James Mossman

    A question that comes to my mind is how independent will Google natural search results continue to be? That is why we have all loved it for so long, it doesn’t have any vested interests. If Google+ pages somehow influence where links line up in the SERPs then this goes out the window. 

    The new YouTube as well raises many questions about Google’s intentions in social media. Are they putting the views/shares of Google users above the views/shares of the wider web community? Do you have to post on Google’s services to stand a chance of being on page 1 in a Google search? Or is this just what Google wants us digital marketers to think ;-)

  • http://contentequalsmoney.com Jon Anscher

    I completely agree. Google is enough of a phenomenon that it will pick up a ton of traffic very quickly. Not to mention disappointment with Facebook’s privacy issues, Google+’s sleekness and integration with other services.

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  • MetroFax

    We’ve set up our Google+ business page for about a month now and have seen very little traction. I think one of the main problems is circles. Every time I try to engage with another Google+ user from the MetroFax business page, it comes up as an error because the user hasn’t added MetroFax to their circles. As a result, I am forgetting more and more about Google+ and focusing more efforts on Facebook page. Any more tips or ideas? Is Google+ really going to last?

  • Beekasunil Seo

    because Google is for everyone awesome and really nice

  • http://www.silkstream.net/ Web Design Essex

    We have created business pages on Google+ but dont find as much networking opportunities as we do on Facebook business pages. Google+ needs more of the general public (and third party applications) to sign up to compete with Facebook Pages on a serious level.

    • http://www.silkstream.net/ Web Design Essex

      BTW – Check “you’re” slug ^ :)

  • http://www.magnet4marketing.net Fabrizio Van Marciano

    Nice post Matt, enjoyed it very much. The fact that it’s another platform for
    businesses to get some elevation from is one huge factor, the other fact is
    that it’s from Google… I believe that Google plus will become the prime social
    location to be in the future, for now there is still a lot of work to be done.

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  • https://mymediainfo.com/solutions.html JarrodC

    That is a great advantage, but I’m wondering how many people actually search for a business’ Google+ page? Who even knows that you could search for “Kraft+” and go directly to the Kraft Google+ Page? 

  • Rosie Wooder

    Google+ is not that popular though some fanatics are still using it. We all know how resourceful Google is so I think it’s because of the name why you put your business in G+. And the fact that it is more professional than using other sites.

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Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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