Complete Guide to Optimizing Your Google Plus Brand Page

In my last post (“Google+ Pages for Brands Are Here NOW! Why You Must Get One“), I gave reasons why I think it is essential that your business claim a Google+ Page for Brands. Now that you’ve got your Page, what do you do with it?

 

 

Optimizing Your Google+ Page for SEO

I would say that priority #1 should be making your pages more SEO friendly, both for regular Google search and for search within Google+.

The importance of doing this was underscored by some updates on Google’s various official blogs:

  • Google is improving search by “Refining official page detectionWe try hard to give our users the most relevant and authoritative results. With this change, we adjusted how we attempt to determine which pages are official. This will tend to rank official websites even higher in our ranking.” I believe a Google+ page linked to your site with Google verification (see our post “How to Verify Your Google+ Brand Page with Google“) will be an important part of signalling to Google that your site is the “official” one for your brand.
  • As of November 15, verified Google+ brand pages are showing up in regular Google search. Individual posts by both individuals and Pages are showing up as well. This is a huge opportunity to grab more of the front page real estate on Google search, and will mean even more for those brands that need to do some reputation management in Google results.

Here’s some things you should do (To edit your Page, on your Page’s About tab, click the Edit Page button at upper right, and then click on each area to edit):

Note: Some features will vary between different types of Pages. For example, local business Pages do not have a subtitle, but instead feature your business address under the Page title.

  1. Feel free to use the Virante G+ Page as a model:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/109417353800451599337/about (and please add us to your circles, while you’re there!)
  2. Add a tag line under your Page’s name (#1 in image above). Only the first 10 words you enter are visible in the page header, and only the first 21 characters are shown in the popup that people see when they roll their mouse over your page name. Make it descriptive and use search keywords (e.g. “Premier Lower Manhattan Luxury Hotel”).
  3. Add “scrapbook” photos under the Page title (#2 in image above). You can add five. They should be photos that represent your business well. Use your page title in the file name of each photo (e.g., mybusiness_front_view.jpg). You will now also be given the option of uploading one larger photo, similar to Facebook’s cover photo for Timeline.
  4. Add a complete Introduction (#3 in image above). Use keywords (like “oceanfront Atlantic City resort”) in the introduction, but as always in SEO, don’t overdo them. Keep it natural. You can use rich text formatting (bold, italics, lists, etc.) and include links (perhaps to internal pages on your web site, such as “Accommodations”). Wherever possible, and naturally fitting, make your main keyword phrases bold subheadings in the introduction. Google pays more attention to words in bolded headings on regular web pages; the same is likely to be true on Google+.
  5. In the Website section below the Introduction (not shown in illustration) make sure the link is to your official web site (the one you’ll place a verification link to in step 7 below). If you specified a site when setting up your page, it will already be there.
  6. Add Links below the Introduction (not shown in illustration). Again, these can be links to your home page and to internal pages on your site, even if they repeat links that are in the Intro text.
  7. Add the following to the header HTML section of the site associated with the Page:  <link href=”https://plus.google.com/xxxxxxx” rel=”publisher” />, with the xxxxxx replaced with the ID number of your Google+ Page. You’ll find the ID number as part of the URL for your Page. For example, the URL for Virante’s Page is https://plus.google.com/u/0/109417353800451599337/ so our ID number is 109417353800451599337. The above code snippet will serve to verify to Google that your Page is authentic (as long as you also have a link to your home page on your Google+ Page). OR simply add a Google+ Badge to your site (click the link to customize yours and get the code).  In any event, it is worth adding the badge to your site now because it will serve to verify your Page to Google (again, make sure you also have a link to your site on your Page!). We have complete instructions on how to do this in our post “How to Verify Your Google+ Brand Page with Google
  8. This one is cosmetic, rather than SEO-necessary, but will help tidy up your page. You can temporarily remove any tabs that you aren’t currently using. To do this, click the Edit Page button in your profile view, go to either the Photos or Videos tab, and uncheck the “show this” box. You can undo this at any time. Better to not show a tab that has no content so as not to risk frustrating visitor.Removing unused tabs from Google+ Pages
  9. Link your AdWords advertising. You can now add a “social extension” in AdWords that connects your Google+ Page with your AdWords ads. Why do you want to do this? Because once you do, Google aggregates all the +1s you receive, whether on an ad, on your Google+ Page, or on your web site. This means that the number next to the +1 icon in all three places has the potential to be much higher, which is a great trust marker for your ads. Follow Google’s instructions to add this extension to your Adwords ads.

Getting Followers for Your Google+ Page

Getting started on getting people to follow your Pages will be as challenging in the beginning as it was on Facebook or Twitter. As on Facebook, you can’t arbitrarily follow people from your page (in the hope that they will follow you back). Rather you must encourage people to first follow you, and then encourage followers to invite others. To kick things off, try these tips:

  1. Certainly post a link to your new Google+ page on your other social media, email newsletters, and on your site, inviting followers there to add your page to their circles on Google+.
  2. Put the new Google+ Badge on your site (instructions here). This links to your Google+ Page and helps verify your Page with Google (see “How to Verify Your Google+ Brand Page with Google“)
  3. Once you start getting some followers on your Page, be sure to follow them back. Do that by clicking the Circles icon at the top of your Page and then clicking on “People who’ve added you.” Sort by “Not yet in circles.” Drag anyone who doesn’t have a little circle in their “brick” to one of your Circles. Each follower will get a notification that you’ve added them (though it won’t tell them to what circle), which is a nice way of saying “We’re glad you’ve followed us!” At some point you might want to think strategically about creating circles of your own, if there are ways you can segment your followers (“key customers”?) so you can post updates only to those in a particular circle, if you want.
  4. You can’t follow individuals from your Page unless they have first followed you. But if you have a personal Google+ profile (and you have established through it that you are an authority in your Page’s field), use Google+ search to find people and pages who post about your topics. Follow them in the hope that they will follow you back, and become a target (don’t spam!) for your reshares of your Page’s posts.

From that point, the “rules” for increasing following are the same as in other social media: post interesting, relevant content; ask questions that get people to comment and engage; and don’t be shy about asking followers to share your posts with their friends.

*On Google+ in particular you will want to post photos and videos as much as possible. Google+ displays media in follower’s streams more prominently and pleasingly than Facebook, so it’s a big “plus” here to call attention to your posts.

*********

If you benefited from this guide, you’ll want to check out our complete listing of guides to using Google+ for business.

 

Mark Traphagen on Google+

 

 

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Complete Guide to Optimizing Your Google Plus Brand Page by

Mark is Director of Digital Outreach for Virante Inc. Mark helps businesses build strategies to increase brand influence and attract natural links and social signals. He has a special reputation as an expert on Google+ and Google Authorship. A former teacher, Mark has worked directly in Internet marketing since 2005, but has been involved in social media and online community formation since the mid 1990s. When not helping Virante clients improve their online presence, Mark participates in competitive storytelling, plays with a Dixieland street band, and (surprise) spends more time on the web.

Comments

  1. This is definitely one for the bookmarks. I’ve yet to make my Google+ plus page yet but when I do I’ll whip this post out.

  2. Excellent. Great guide to follow for the new pages.

  3. Thanks, Mark. I used this advice for our local little gaming group.

    https://plus.google.com/b/106990885461263208790/106990885461263208790/about

  4. Nice guide. I’m trying to figure out how to verify my page.. any ideas?

    • Scott: If by “verify my page” you mean make sure that Google knows it is the authentic page for your site, follow the instructions in step #6 above in the “First Things to Do” section.

      By the way, nice job on your blog! Keep that up and that blog is going to get you a sweet social media job some day.

  5. What the…..

    Tried to “share this” with my Google+ contacts using your “Share This” button and it doesn’t include a Google+ button.

    At last! I am on the cutting edge ;)

    Thanks for the informative and very timely post.

  6. Ed, glad the post was helpful to you, and thanks for sharing it!

    There should be a Google +1 button just to the right of the Share This button; does it show for you? If you’re logged in to your Google account, clicking that button should pop up a little dialog box that allows you to share the post to your Google+ circles, plus add a personal note if you want to.

    Due to the crankiness of Java script, on some sites I find I have to click, unclick, then click the +1 button again to get the popup.

  7. Thanks for the hints!

  8. Nice, i will try this
    thankz 4 informations

  9. I added a special set of images to my scrapbook to do a “profile hack” but didn’t think of keywording those filenames… I’ll have to redo that. Thanks for the tip.

    Search in g+ for “video leads online” to see the “hack”.

  10. Awesome tips! I need to print this out :-) I really needed guidance and this helps. Love the tip about naming photos. I didn’t even think about that. Here’s mine, but have more to do https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/114094891565151779112/114094891565151779112/about

  11. Thanks for sharing. This article is a big help. Looking for more…

  12. Thank you so much. This is just what I needed to get off my butt and get my page together.

  13. I love how these tips are so simple and obvious. The best SEO is simple.

    Thanks for the tutorial. Here’s my page after your suggestions:

    https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/102438202767561318800/102438202767561318800/about

  14. Thanks everyone! I am checking out your pages (those of you who left links or page names), and you’re doing a great job. You’re going to be ahead of your competitors as Google+ takes off.

    Ronnie: love the photo hack! I need to do that for some of my pages. Adds some nice dazzle!

  15. I’ve seen different schools of thought on whether the name of your Google+ page has to be the name of the business. Do you have any thoughts on this?

    • Great question, Robert!

      Your Google+ Page name is not required to be the same as the name of your company, but for both SEO and future Google verification reasons, I’d recommend that it be.

  16. I cant seem to find where to edit the subtitle. Any ideas? It displays our address but when in edit mode it dissapears. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Matt: You’re using the local business form of Pages, which doesn’t have a subtitle, but instead features your business address. (I fully expect local pages like yours eventually to be tied into your Places profile.) Don’t sweat it: if you have a great motto or descriptive subtitle you wanted to use, just put it at the top of your Info section and bold it to make it visible. I’m going to edit my guide to note the differences between various types of Pages. Thanks for your question!

  17. Hi Mark, This is one really helpful article. I have bookmarked it and used it as a reference to build my page :) I have a small questions. how did u add the small icons in the recommendation field? Please let me know.

    Thanks again for sharing this post.
    Jasmine

    • Hi Jasmine! Glad you found the article helpful.

      I think you’re referring to the icons next to the links in our Recommended Links section. Google+ seems to be picking up the favicon associated with the link. Favicons are the tiny icons you see in your browser’s address window and/or tabs when you’re browsing a site that has one. If you go to our home page at http://www.virante.com, you should see the same favicon in either the URL window or tab, depending on what browser you’re using.

      Hope that helps!

  18. Thanks MArk for the quick reply. Also I don’t see the +1 button below my profile pic. And when I click on the share button, I don’t get any pop-up:( Please help.

  19. Figured it out. Only others can see the +1 button. We can’t view for our accounts :)

  20. Mareks Lomako says:

    How to change favicons in your page’s “about” section?
    I assume that favicons will change automatically, but they haven’t done that already for few days. Any advice?

  21. Thanks for the post – good information here.

  22. Mark – this is an excellent post and I’ve followed most of your suggestions so far.

    However, I came across the post after searching on ‘How to put your Favicon against the recommended links on the page, but failed to find it on your list. Did I miss it?

    Thanks again for the information.

    Caroline J

  23. Caroline,

    That’s an odd search query to lead to this post…but to address your question, I’m assuming you are referring to the favicons that appear next to links in the right side bar of your Google+ profile. As far as I know, there is no way to customize those from within Google+. It appears to me that Google+ is picking them up from the linked sites, so if the site you are linking to has a proper favicon, it should show next to its link in your profile.

  24. Thanks Mark!

    I appreciate that you point out the main things we can do to optimize our G+ Pages. Some of the things you suggested I’ve already done, and I can attest that your instructions are accurate. I noticed that you are very prominent in the Google Plus community, and I plan to read your articles and listen to your HOA discussions, and maximize the potentials of my Google Plus presence.

  25. Thanks Mark Traphagen, great teaching, very easy to follow!

  26. I am so confused with google plus. ihave a personal and a business page. so when i follow someone from my business page and they follow me back are they following me from my personal page? so confused. i havent gotten my business page verifed yet…

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