Google+ Business Pages: Amplify Your BusinessWhat can a Google+ Business Page do for your small or medium-sized company?

Last week Des Walsh explained why small or medium businesses need a LinkedIn company page in LinkedIn Company Pages: Your Secret Weapon. 

Maybe your target customer or client isn’t on LinkedIn, but could be on Google+.

So I asked Danielle Sanford, Client Services Manager of gShift Labs, why it’s worth the effort of setting up a Google+ Business Page, and how to make sure it’s optimised. (gShift provides SEO software for agencies and marketers.)

Liz: What is the advantage of smaller and medium-sized businesses setting up Google+ Business pages?

Danielle: Any business, large or small, will benefit from using Google+ since it offers better organic search visibility than Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. In addition to indexed posts that can actually rank within the Google search engine, Google+ integrates with Google to deliver the game-changing feature Search, Plus Your World; a service that alters your organic search results based on a range of personalization signals. As a small business, your content will be published to your followers and their extended circles, increasing your reach like never before.

If you run a brick-and-mortar store, an active Google+ page can amplify your local presence through Google+ Local where your local listing exists within the same profile as your Google+ Business Page. You can use this opportunity to engage your audience, ask for reviews and publicize your company and promotions.

Liz: Do smaller companies still need to have personal profiles for the key people, like the owner?

Danielle: Companies with a client-facing persona positioned as a thought leader may want to maintain an active personal profile in order to take advantage of Google Authorship. Users are more trusting of ‘verified’ search results that showcase the author’s image, recent blog posts and Google+ profile.

Liz: What are the key best practices or must-do elements of a G+ Business Page?

Danielle Sanford, gShift LabsDanielle:   I recently published a Google+ For Business Optimization Guide (available through gShift Labs, makers of a SEO software for agencies and marketers) that discusses best practices for sharing content on this social network.

It essentially comes down to using your keywords in your content. Since your public posts can be indexed and are therefore searchable, its important to treat your page and updates like you would any other piece of optimized content – by using your keywords within your profile in the About tab, post content and post tags. Keywords included in the About tab should be hyperlinked back to your website.

Liz: How should companies behave on their Google+ Business Page: is it a good platform to make offers, or to ask customers their views?

Danielle: Google+ is a great social platform that lends itself to a variety of content, including corporate information, contest announcements, coupon codes, event invitations, etc. Without a character limit, you can also use Google+ to post a blog article on a niche topic that may not necessarily fit on your company blog.

Directing your customers to review your business is fairly simple since Google launched Google+ Local. Once your Google+ and Local pages have merged together to form a verified Google+ Local page, simply direct your followers to review your company by visiting the About tab. High quality reviews on your Google+ Local page will improve your SEO and increase your local search performance.

Liz: Among all those on G+, how does a smaller or medium size business find the right prospects?

Danielle: There is a massive opportunity for your brand to be discovered by new, targeted Google+ users who happen upon your content either through search or social. For Google+ business owners, this means using your relevant keywords within your profile (specifically in your tagline and the About tab) and within your post updates, so that users can find your content when searching for relevant or nearby terms. From a search perspective, your profile and posts can rank within Google for your keyword terms especially by way of Search, Plus Your World and Google+ Local.

From a social perspective, hashtagging your content with appropriate keyword terms will propel your content into ongoing conversations and allow you to reach new audiences. Similarly, commenting on relevant topics you’ve discovered by way of tag searches can also publicize your brand.

Liz: Can you give a couple of examples of successful G+ pages?

Danielle: Pratt Homes is a local homebuilder in Barrie, Ontario, that recently began using Google+. Their posts feature interesting content, are properly tagged with keywords, and use headlines to draw attention. They also use their posts to drive traffic back to their blog and website.

Personally, my favorite Google+ page belongs to Sephora. Although it’s not a small business, many small businesses can learn from their social media habits. They frequently update new content, push traffic to their main site, tag users and keywords, link off keywords in their profile and include a variety of calls-to-action.

Google+ Resources

gShift Labs’ free Google+ For Business Optimization Guide

Guy Kawasaki on Kindle What the Plus! Google+ for the rest of us (affiliate link)

Google+ for business from Google

How to Set Up a Google+ Page for Your Business by Kristi Hines

Questions for Danielle? Ask in the comments. Tips on optimising Google+ Business Pages? Please share!

This article originally appeared on Content Works and has been republished with permission.

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