Local SEO | April 25, 2014
Top Tips for Using Google+ for SMEs
Small businesses are the backbone of our society, but running one can be quite a stressful experience. You often find times where there’s not enough money to go around, and if that happens, you’ll need to make cutbacks – fast! However, marketing your business should not be one of them, as you always need to chase those vital new customers. So, can you actually do online marketing for free, and avoid any repercussions of “dodgy SEO” tactics? The surprising answer is yes, and it’s called Google+.
Google+ is essentially another social media platform, but unlike Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the rest it covers all the bases of social sharing in one place. OK, let’s not missell it, there are a smaller number of active users on Google+ right now, but given the breadth of Google products that can connect up to Google+, the potential user base is massive. There are naturally some benefits to be made in terms of SEO in taking the plunge but for now, let’s just stick to the more tangible benefits; here are a few tips for your business:
Google+ Local Pages
If your business operates out of an actual location that customers can visit, you want to make sure people know where you live. Having this information in as many places as possible online will certainly help, but with a Local Page, you can have this information served up to the best possible place – Google brand searches!
Google does its best to acquire the most relevant information possible for each search query, but sometimes it does make mistakes. You can help guide these in the right direction by providing your own information in the form of a Local Page. If you have multiple business locations, a Local Page for each one is an absolute must! That way, Google can serve up the most relevant information possible based on where your customers are right now.
Google+ Business Profile
Local listings are one thing, but if you want to build your business into a brand to be reckoned with, a dedicated Google+ Profile can provide a well-deserved boost to your brand identity. This works especially well alongside any other social channels where you have a presence. As well as offering customers the chance to interact directly with your brand, you can also show people what your business stands for, what areas of expertise you have and also what you do for fun. Just try to keep the cat gifs to a minimum – you can save those for your personal profile!
Google+ Personal Profile Authorship
If your business (i.e. you) has a particular area of expertise, then make sure people know about it! Some things just aren’t a natural fit for a business profile, such as other interests you have outside of work (and the aforementioned cat gifs). If you create a Personal Google+ Profile, you can safely talk about anything that is “You” and attribute it all to yourself.
This is particularly useful if you’ve written for many sites online throughout the years. Not only does it go some way to protecting your intellectual property, but it also means people can find “You” simply from what you talk about. Over time, this can build your image (and thus your Businesses’ image) into quite the authority figure.
Circles and Communities
So, what do people with authority do in their spare time? Why, talk to other experts, of course! On Google+ you will find a range of communities where experts hang out and talk shop. If you can contribute to these conversations, and make people more aware of your business at the same time, why not? Have a look around, find what interests you, and start getting involved!
At the same time, you’ll undoubtedly start building a few connections. To keep these connections alive and well, you should start adding these other industry leaders to your Google+ Circles. When you do this, people in their Circles (some of whom could also turn out to be good business partners) will be able to see this interaction and you can grow a whole new legion of fans!
Embed Your Content!
Now that you’re using Google+ to its fullest, you will want to make sure that all this social interaction feeds back onto your website and brings you more traffic. This can all be done with the power of coding. If you have a web development team running your website then great, just let them know what you want to see on your website and let them deal with the rest. If not, don’t worry: the coding isn’t hideously complicated and there is a lot of help available along the way if you need it.
Firstly, a mention of your Local Google+ Page(s) can be embedded onto your site in the form of a Map. Maps can help those who want to visit you figure out the easiest way to do so. So, go and find your Local listing on Google Maps, click on the cog in the bottom right corner and hey presto: an easily sharable shortened URL or iframe code for your website!
For your Business Profile, having a social button added to your site is simple and works really well in conjunction with your other social platforms. Plenty of sites offer a range of icons that can be used for free, and all you need to do is add in is the HTML code for your business. This will look something like this:
<a href=”https://plus.google.com/+BusinessProfileID}” rel=”publisher” />
For Authorship you will want to make sure you have the correct code added to the websites you write content for. Having the contribution established on your Page is one thing, but having the correct code sent out to all the websites with your content makes sure people know where to find your other content. Your authorship code should look something like this:
<a href=”https://plus.google.com/+PersonalProfileID” rel=”author”>Author Name</a>
Finally, if you need to check any of these codes work, just use this handy link:
So there you have it: a whistle-stop tour of what Google+ can do for your business. There are plenty of ways you can help your business out online (some of these are even free too), but there’s nothing really with quite the same breadth and depth as Google+.