Google has finally launched Google Plus for businesses, meaning that a business can now create their own page just as they would on Facebook. This has huge implications for SEO considering the impact social media has on search results. Since Google has such a high stake in widespread adoption of their new social network, it is reasonable to assume they will give more authority to Google Plus pages in their search results. Follow the 5 steps outlined below to ensure you are receiving the most SEO benefit when starting your Google Plus Page.
1. Create a Google Plus Brand Page
First, create a Google Plus business page if haven’t already. If you aren’t ready to fully fill out your page profile yet, I still recommend at least creating your page for the purpose of claiming and verify your brand name.
2. Optimize Page Information
Now that you have created your page, it is time to fill out your page information. This is an important step because certain custom fields should be optimized for search engines just as if you were optimizing a page on your website. Kristi Heines from Search Engine Watch wrote a great article showing how we can optimize Google plus profiles based on the data we enter the in the custom fields. The SEO elements of Google Plus Brand pages are similar to that of personal profiles, but with a few modifications:
SEO Title: Your business name in the “page name” field will act as the SEO title.
Meta Description: The name field, along with your headline, makes up the meta description.
Dofollow links: All of the links within the Google Plus page appear to be Dofollow links. Take advantage of this by linking to your website with your targeted keyword as the anchor text. Don’t go too crazy with this though, because adding too many links could look like spam to search engines.
3. Link the Google+ Page to Your Website
The next step is to link your website to your Google Plus page using the Google Plus badge by adding a snippet of code into the header of your website. This small snippet of code identifies your site to Google and brings your Page into more search results. Connecting your website will also help enable the value of +1 activity to be spread across all of Google’s platforms.
4. Maximize Your +1’s
Google created the +1 Button as a way to easily recommend or share things you find on the internet. By clicking the +1 button you are giving something your public stamp of approval and recommending it to your friends and contacts. As content collects +1’s, it will be more likely to appear as part the natural search results.
You can think of +1’s as belonging to one of two “levels”. First there is a “site-level” +1 button that targets either your Google Plus Page or website homepage. If you have added the Google Plus Badge to your website then your already have this taken care of. The other option is to add a standalone +1 button into your site’s navigation. The second type of +1 is on a “content-level” and targets the URL of the page. These typically appear near the content’s title or product name.
You should add the Google +1 button/Badge to your website and ask friends, peers, and customers to click on it whenever they can.
5. Google Plus Direct Connect
Google has a new feature called Google Direct Connect that enables users to use “+” in a search query and be taken directly to a Google Plus page. Instead of typing “Toyota Google Plus” in the Google search box, Direct Connect allows you to type “+Toyota” and be taken directly to Toyota’s Google Plus page. Why would this be good for businesses you ask? Well, it only returns one search result, instead of the regular list of 10 that might include a competitor’s website or some sort of negative review.
At the moment, not every page is eligible for Google Plus Direct Connect. Google has said they determine the eligibility of a page algorithmically. In order to increase your chances of accessing this feature, you should have your Google Plus page connected to your website using the Google Plus badge mentioned previously, in addition to promoting your Plus page with links, posting regular updates, and encouraging users to add you to circles.
It’s still too early to say what works and what doesn’t for how businesses should use their Google Plus Pages. Right now everyone seems to be testing the water and experimenting with various tactics. However, the one thing we do know for sure is that having a Google Plus Page will be essential for increased visibility in search results. The steps I’ve outline here will help get you started with your Google Plus Page in a way that will give you the most benefits for SEO.