How to Use Google+ to Expand Your Business Influence

social media how toAre you looking to tap into the power of Google+?

Is your business leveraging all that Google+ has to offer?

Have you created a personal profile or business page on Google+, but want more influence?

Why Google+?

According to GlobalWebIndex, Google+ now has 359 million active users, which puts it ahead of Twitter’s 200 million active users. With that jump in numbers, it’s clear that now is the time to use Google+ to promote your brand.

Here’s an updated guide on all of the things you need to take advantage of Google+ to gain more exposure for your content and your business.

#1: Claim Authorship With Your Personal Google+ Profile

Google uses Authorship to create a visual tie between you and the content you publish. The enhanced search result listings help readers identify your content at a glance and help you build authority and influence.

There are two ways you can claim your Google+ Authorship.

You can either register an email from the domain that you contribute to (you@socialmediaexaminer.com, for example) or you can link your content with your Google+ profile. If you contribute to multiple blogs, I suggest the latter.

Here’s how:

  • First, in the author bio of each of your blog posts, include a link to your Google+ profile with a ?rel=author tag attached to the end of it. It should look like this: https://plus.google.com/118321989430962111396?rel=author
  • Next, go to the Contributor to section on the About tab of your Google+ profile and add a link to your author page for each blog that you contribute to.

    add contributor links

    Add contributor links on Google+ personal profiles.

When you’ve claimed your Authorship, your Google+ profile photo will automatically show up next to each of your posts in search results.

search results

An example of how content looks in search results with Google+ Authorship.

As an added bonus, you can look under the Labs section of Google Webmaster Tools to see analytics for all of the posts that are linked to you via Google+ Authorship, including posts that aren’t published on your own website. This is especially helpful for writers who contribute to multiple blogs.

analytics

Viewing analytics for all your Google+ Authorship-claimed posts in Google Webmaster Tools.

Google has hinted that they are working on a system to rank content based on the influence of the author and it’s presumable that one of the ways they will do this is through the use of Google+ Authorship.

Claiming your Google+ Authorship will enhance your visibility in search results, create more authority for your content and provide valuable insights into which content receives the most attention from readers.

#2: Make a Direct Connection Between Your Business Website and Your Google+ Page

The Google+ badge allows you to link your Google+ page to your website. Using the badge will help you increase your Google+ audience from your website and from within search results.

Install a Google+ badge on your website to let readers follow you on Google+ without leaving your site.

badge

Social Media Examiner’s Google+ badge in the sidebar.

When you add the Google+ badge for pages to your site, an active Follow widget will show up next to your listing in search results.

page in search results

Google+ page display in search results.

You can also use the Direct Connect option to link your Google+ page to your website without using the official Follow badge or button. This is simply one line of code that is added to the <em>head</em> element of your website. This code can be found further down on the Google+ badge page.

Much like Authorship for Google+ profiles, this piece of Direct Connect code will help establish your blog as a publisher by tying it to your Google+ page with a rel=“publisher” tag.

direct connect

Direct Connect your Google+ page to your website.

Once you connect your website to your Google+ page, the latest status update (and timestamp) will show up in search results. Ensure the best first impression to visitors who may come across your Google+ page in search results and keep your page posts up to date.

Use the connection between your website and your Google+ page to increase your followers and establish your business as a source of quality, authoritative content.

#3: Start Using Hashtags

Hashtags are a useful tactic to get added exposure to users beyond your followers and Google+ has recognized them for a long time.

But now they are prominently displayed next to every update.

hashtags

Hashtags on Google+ updates.

If you don’t voluntarily place hashtags in your updates, Google+ will sometimes suggest hashtags for you. Be sure that what it chooses is in line with the topic of your update.

#4: Express Yourself With Bigger, Better Cover Photos

If you’ve visited your profile or page recently, you’ve likely gotten the message that Google+ cover photos are now bigger. Take advantage of this great visual branding opportunity and upload an impressive design that is 2120 pixels wide by 1192 pixels high.

cover photo

Social Media Examiner’s cover photo.

You can use your cover photo to showcase your new products, express your brand’s image, share your physical location, show what your average customer looks like and advertise your next major event. With a good photographer or graphics team, the possibilities are endless.

#5: Use Google+ as Your Business Page

Boost followers and exposure on Google+ for your business page instead of your personal profile when you interact with others on Google+ as your page. To make the switch from your personal profile to your page, click the dropdown arrow next to your picture at the top right of your Google+ screen; your page will be listed under your active profile. Simply click on your page and you’re ready to go.

use page

Select your Google+ page to use it throughout the network.

Now, you should see the photo for your page at the top of your Google+ display.

Similar to how you can use your Facebook Page to like and comment on other Facebook Pages, you can use your Google+ page to +1 and comment on other Google+ pages.

comment on another page

A Google+ page’s comment on another Google+ page.

Use your Google+ page when you interact with people in Google+ communities and to interact with the people (personal profiles) who are following your page and people who share public updates, regardless of whether they are following you.

Find the most active Google+ pages, public personal profiles and communities to start interacting with and you will gain more exposure for your Google+ page and your business.

#6: Host Google+ Hangouts

If your business isn’t ready to invest in webinar or online meeting software, Google+ hangouts can be a great, free alternative. While you can only have 10 participants actively on video, you can stream the video to an unlimited number of viewers using YouTube, making it much like a webinar.

hangout

Google+ hangout with multiple panelists.

You can use Google+ hangouts for a variety of things including interviews, panel discussions, live webinars (with screen-sharing), private meetings and just about anything else you can think of. Best of all, you can keep the recordings to add to your YouTube channel, boosting your video content.

Head over to the Google+ hangouts page to see all of the live hangouts happening right now. You might find some open invite hangouts that you can jump into to get to know your audience better or you can create an open hangout party in the hopes that some members of your Google+ audience are online and want to chat.

#7: Join and Create Communities

Google+ has a large variety of communities to choose from, similar to the selection you might find on Facebook or LinkedIn. If you can’t find the right community for your business, you can create it using your personal profile or your page.

communities

A selection of Google+ communities formed around social media.

Like many other social network groups, Google+ communities attract spam but Google+ has the best spam management system in terms of catching spam and holding it for approval by the moderator instead of making it public. Moderators can also quickly remove and ban users who repeatedly spam.

community spam notice

Google+ community spam notice.

If you want to circumvent spam in your own conversations, create your community as private and invite people of your own choosing. Alternatively, you can set your community as public and moderate all requests to join the community.

#8: Get Local

Google+ has replaced Google Places and customers who are on Google+ leave reviews on your local Google+ places page regardless of whether you are active there.

Why Is Google+ so important for local businesses?

First of all, search results now show the reviews, additional details and photos on your Google+ local places page.

local search

Google+ places page in search results.

Next, Google+ local users receive prompts to review your business if they search for it on Google.

suggestions to review

Suggestions for places to review on Google+ from a user’s search history.

Last but not least, Google+ is looking to become an even bigger resource for local through their mobile app for iOS and Android.

local app

The main screen of the Google+ local app.

If you don’t have a Google+ local places page or haven’t claimed yours yet, you can start by going to Create a Page, select Local Business or Place and enter your phone number. Google+ will connect you with your page if it already exists or prompt you to create one.

Your Turn

From claiming Authorship to participating in communities, these Google+ features can do a lot to help you establish authority, increase visibility and grow an audience.

What do you think? Have you used any of these features? What Google+ features do you find most beneficial for your business? Please share in the comments!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author, Kristi Hines

Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, blogger, and ghostwriter who develops high-quality content for businesses. She is also a HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certified and Google Analytics Qualified Professional. Sign up for her newsletter! Other posts by »




More Info
  • http://www.SelfEmployedKing.com/ Mike Kawula

    Kristi super helpful. 300 Million users, definitely something not to ignore. I heard Dave Kerpen and Ruben Quinones speak at a conference Thursday and they asked the room how many are actively using Plus and few raised their hand, yet with Google being such a big part of businesses traffic, not sure why more aren’t on-board.

    Who would you suggest following to really learn more or course? For instance, you suggest use as your business page in #5 above, but when I +1 this page it defaults back to my personal page.

    Love Hangouts, the quality is great and our team meets that way weekly now. Love the ability to share screens, messaging, document sharing and recording if we want to post to YouTube.

    Have an Awesome Week!

  • http://www.intervistedisuccesso.com/ Leonardo Plebani

    Great post Kristi!

    I use G+ but not as often as FB or Twitter. However another great advantage about G+ is that it helps your ranking on Google Search.

    _Leo

  • http://indispensablemarketing.com/ Patrick McFadden

    Thanks Kristi! I don’t use this tool a lot but by you shedding light to these communities where I can interact and engage I think I will play around on it and see what it offers.

  • http://www.guyrcook.com Guy R Cook

    When you’ve claimed your Authorship, your Google+ profile photo will
    automatically show up next to each of your posts in search results. I read it as ‘maybe’ when I signed up for the authorship, so this has changed somehow?

  • Jeff Weinberger

    Very helpful and useful post – thank you!. One question that concerns me: I’ve made some great connections and created good relationships on G+, and if I switch my profile to a page, the interaction changes. Is it not true that I would have to re-connect with everyone? and ask everyone who follows me to re-follow me? (seems like a lot of asking…)

    Do you know how this works?

    Thanks!

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    It’s iffy, depending on how Google feels. I’ve noticed, even with my own website, that sometimes my image comes up next to posts, sometimes it’s next to my homepage listing in search, and sometimes there’s no photo, but just my author information under the title. I feel like Google is always testing different variations. But either way, the sooner you set it up, the sooner it will start working.

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    You’re welcome Patrick! I hope you get good results when you try it out. :)

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    I’m not sure it helps ranking, except when you’re connected to the searcher on Google+. But it does help with click through when you get authorship on your content!

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    When you +1 on external websites, then it automatically switches back to your personal profile. You can only use your page on Google+ itself.

    I can’t think of any courses offhand, but there are a lot of G+ resources out there. I think Guy Kawasaki and Chris Brogan both have books on Amazon for Google+. Of course, they’re print so they might not be fully updated with the newest features. That’s when blogs come in handy.

    You can also go to http://bloggerscope.com/ and search for Google+. This will show you the latest blog posts on Google+ across the top marketing blogs so you can get current information!

  • Cakap Niaga

    G+ helps me slowdown my activities on Feys and Twitter. Updating my sharing on Feys and Twitter, I used bitly.com

  • Saumitra M Ghotikar

    Can someone tell how to add people from multiple emails at a time from gmail inbox to Google + ?

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    From what I can tell, there isn’t any way to convert a profile to page. I’ve heard about it, but not seen it done. I think what you have to do is change your profile name to your name instead of your business, create a page under that account, and start encouraging your followers to follow your business page instead, or just use your personal profile as you have been. Just be sure to change the name as personal profiles can’t use business names.

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    It looks like you can go to https://plus.google.com/people/find and use the Connect Services to Yahoo and Hotmail. You an also export your email contacts from any email program (including another Gmail account) and import them using the Open Book option.

  • http://www.SelfEmployedKing.com/ Mike Kawula

    You Rock – Thanks for taking the time to answer!

    Good Luck with the Kickstarter project I saw on your site today! Very Cool!

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    Thanks Mike! :)

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Do you need to create a Google + personal page? Can you just create a Google+ business page?

    Google Hangouts

    All Google+ Hangouts are not created equally. Sometimes, you can’t participate in a hangout. You can only listen, like attending a webinar. What’s the point of this? If Google+ Hangouts was created to ‘hang out’ and you mute attendees, why bother hanging out?

    I have to spend more time on Google+ and immerse myself in it. I spend most of my time on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I have a StumbleUpon account, but I haven’t stumbled lately. I also haven’t ‘pinned’ anything either. :)

  • http://aremorch.com/ Are Morch

    Hi Kirsti.

    Excellent article.Just wrote an article myself about some Google+ tactics for Hotels.

    One of the things I am working hard with is to collect more Social Proof to provide Hotels in relationship with Google+. Many Hotels is still on the fence with Google+.

    Now with the new Google Business dashboard, and Google Places for Business I expect we will see more Hotels come on board.

    One of the main focuses I will have now after I got some of the Google+ basics out of the world is related to Google+ Reputation Management. TripAdvisor of course is where most customers share their experience today. But I strongly believe when more Hotels understand the real value of Google Local or rather Google Places for Business then we will see a real competitor to TripAdvisor.

    I have actually experienced that +1 and Google+ Profile badge effect Google SERP. Though it is in combination with Authorship and I have verified my Business Page. Circles also have good effect. I trying out use a Google Form to get Hotels to subscribe to my Hotel Collaboration Circle. Just love all the cool options available through Google.

    By the way I see you can Pin images used in the content of this article, is that your personal strategy or is a Social Media Examiner Strategy? Interesting idea.

    Cheers..

    Are Morch
    Hotel Blogger

  • Jon Winter

    I’ve used the hangouts many times with Google themselves and it’s a superb tool. The reason to mute someone is when their mics are getting too much interference from background noises. It keeps cutting back to the loud noise participant and can become distracting. If you mute them they can still hear and unmute themselves when needed. Very useful tool ;)

  • Dara Khajavi

    I have been trying to use my Google+ more so this was really helpful. However, I am in an unique industry. I have to compete with other personal injury. Most of my Google+ followers are fellow lawyers. How would you recommend I broaden the type of followers.

  • http://www.consultancymarketing.co.uk/ Ian Smith

    Google + is too complicated and time-consuming for most business owners. My view is “Set up Authorship & Publishership IMMEDIATELY– forget about the rest of Google+ for now.” If you are trying to influence potential customers, utilise the other established systems.

  • http://www.croftarchitecture.com/ Carl Croft

    Absolutely fantastic post. Thanks for sharing this Kristi… I now have some more to do on my Google + pages ;-)

    I’ve always liked the design of Google + being much cleaner than Facebook etc. It just keeps getting better!

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    Hi Amandah! Yes, you have to have a personal profile before you can create a business page. The personal profile won’t be listed with the page in any way, so you dont’ have to worry about being associated with it.

    As far as Google+ hangouts, it all depends on the people running it and what they are aiming for. Some hangouts are meant for viewers to watch a specific group of panelists. Others allow the first people to join to be able to participate. Then there are personal hangouts where it’s just a free for all because no one else is watching. I hope that helps!

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    Hotels definitely need to be taking advantage of Google+ local. They’re probably going to build it up to be like Yelp in the long run – the mobile app is already out, it’s just a matter of getting check-ins enabled.

    I think the pin it button is a plugin on SME’s side. Definitely a great way to encourage more pins and Pinterest traffic.

    Thanks for commenting Are! :)

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    That’s actually a pretty common place that most businesses end up in – they have tons of followers who are colleagues and competitors vs. potential clients. I would suggest broadening the type of content you share to attract potential clients. Every time you get ready to post something, ask if it is something beneficial to other lawyers or clients. That answer should help you choose whether to post it.

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    I think that some part of authorship is the size of your Google+ network. If there are 10 articles about the same topic, all with claimed authorship, I would guess that the one written by the person with the largest network would rank first.

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    Thanks Carl! I like most of the changes, but for some reason I’m not a fan of the new notifications. Just need to get used to it I guess. :)

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    I mute myself when I’m on a hangout and not speaking. Too many things going on in my house to not do it. :)

  • AmandahBlackwell

    I’ll look for hangouts where I can participate and add to the conversation. I thought that was the sole purpose of Google+ Hangouts. I never realized you could use them like a webinar.

    Thanks Kristi!

  • http://marketwithmario.com/ marketwithmario

    I am finding that the more I play with Google’s toys (YouTube, Google Plus), the better I rank in the search engines.

  • http://aremorch.com/ Are Morch

    Here we are on the same page. I can also see they are taking a similar route as Yelp.

    For many Hotels the Zagat rating system for Google+ has been a little confusing. But this is more that many has not taken time to learn how it really works.

    As Google get everything more streamlined it will help. Google Hotel Finder and Google Maps is also getting better incorporated into Google. The new Google Carousel is also adding a new dimension to the total picture. So yes when they enable check-in then we have a total package where I can’t see how Hotels can stand on the sideline any longer.

    Of course my job will be to get a total understanding of the full picture, so I can help Hotels to make it fit in the best possible way with their wants and needs.

    Cheers..

    Are Morch
    Hotel Blogger

  • http://www.propdental.es/ Dario Propdental

    Suberb article

  • Eduardo Vasques

    There is no relationship between Google+ and SEO?

  • http://www.sueblimely.com Sue Bride

    Thanks Kristi, I have learned a lot from this. I do use G+ but not to its full potential. Hashtags are so important now aren’t they and certainly no longer just for Twitter. I have not been using them on G+ but I will start doing so. I have already started using them for Facebook.

  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Kristi, I love the info you’ve provided here on using Google+ Hangouts! Being able to stream the Hangout video AND upload it to your YouTube channel afterwards are huge benefits. As you’ve mentioned, best part is, it’s free! Great value in this post – thank you!

  • http://www.socialsinergy.com/ Adam Dukes

    I have been interviewing local business owners (Vegas) via Hangouts and have been having a lot of fun with it. They get free press, I get content for my site, my community enjoys them and they usually tell me what issues they are having with their marketing.

    It’s a win-win-won for everyone involved.

    My dream interview: Tony Heish :)

  • Mauricio Escobar Mármol

    Great post Kristi. I have activated pretty much of the suggestions on my Tumblr blog (http://edigital.tumblr.com) but Google does not seem to rank my posts when doing specific searches related to my post. Any advice?

  • https://www.facebook.com/manojsethi46 Manoj Kumar Sethi

    Thanks @kikolani:disqus for such a useful article. I wanted to know something about Google News and how it can be use more effectively ?

  • Kristianne

    Hello, one thing I struggle with when using Google+ is that you can’t
    have a business page without a ‘person’. However, I do not want to link
    my personal Google+ page to the site as I am only here for a few months
    (maternity cover) and my personal page is centred towards a different
    industry. What can I do so people don’t get confused between the person
    and the page if they are in the same name which is what the previous
    marketing manager has it as. Any suggestions?

  • http://www.croftarchitecture.com/ Carl Croft

    I can see what you mean. There must be method behind the change, so I guess as you say we need to get used to it.

  • Tony Somervell

    See reply above to Amandah:
    “Hi Amandah! Yes, you have to have a personal profile before you can create a business page. The personal profile won’t be listed with the page in any way, so you dont’ have to worry about being associated with it.”
    Gr8 info and encouragement here. Those who persevere with (?the more sophisticated) Google offers of Business / Local / Maps, I believe, will get more visibility / higher rankings in the long run, vs the fun / more banale, dare I say it, FazePinTwitLink stuff ;-)

  • Kristianne

    That does help, thank you

  • Anne

    Hi Kristi,

    great article

    I have one question – To create a business page you need a profile. I have focused everything on the business page, to not mess up my SEO ranking by adding to my profile. My question is if this is a misunderstanding. Does activity on the profile have any influence on the SEO ranking of the business page? If I connect my profile to author ranking, will it influence my business page.

    hope the question makes sense, and looking forward to your answer.

  • Kristianne

    One further question I have- the current profile is set up in the business name. So if I just strip out all the infomation would this affect SEO? I am not sure if Google would take this into account?

  • http://amtgs.com/ Tony Escobar

    Solid piece, Kristi. You went through a lot and I now definitely have a better understanding of how to use Google+ for business.

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    That’s good Mario! It does seem that the more signals you get across on Google’s products, the more they would notice. :)

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    Thanks Dario! :)

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    It does when you think about authorship and social signals. :)

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    You’re welcome! I think hashtags even spread to Pinterest, but I’m not sure they’ll stay.

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    You’re welcome John! :)

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    That sounds like a great use of Google+ Hangouts! Thanks for sharing Adam. :)

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    Are the posts on your blog original or reblogs from others? Honestly, I don’t usually see posts from Tumblr ranking throughout search in general. Never realized that until now.

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    You’re welcome! I haven’t done much with Google News, to be honest. They have a lot of guidelines, but I think if you have a site that fits, it probably has some good traffic benefits.

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    Hi Anne! I think Google+ counts them as two separate entities, so I’m not sure that your personal profile activity would make a difference. Unless, that is, you have a popular personal profile and you share your business page updates with it. Then you might get more exposure for those updates.

  • http://kristihines.com/ Kristi Hines

    Thanks Tony! :)

  • http://www.insegment.com/ inSegment Internet Marketing

    These are great insights into the many features that Google offers. A Google+ page is a great tool for connecting with customers and for SEO; it’s almost as important as a Facebook page nowadays. It’s especially important for all the information on the business G+ page to be accurate, since Google Local results rank highly when searching for local businesses.

  • Vivek Mehra

    My apologies if this post is repeated. Great article Kristi and apologies if I sound really dumb. I was wondering if you could share some key differences between LinkedIN and Google+. I don’t use Facebook at all so don’t know if Google+ is closer to one or the other. My online space is clearly for business and community connections and less about my personal, family ties.

  • http://www.softship.com/ Ava Cristi

    One thing I admire about Google+ is how it stands out among other social networking sites. We have sites like Facebook and Twitter, but I think Google+ is more business friendly. Why? Because of how it utilizes your content and integrates it to your other accounts, and optimizes your Home Feed in accordance to your interests. Google+ has a nice ecosystem, don’t you think? :)

  • Dana Sullivan Kilroy

    This is great info Kristi! I am trying to figureout G+ and one of my frustrations is that I have work Gmail account and a personal but I can’t figure out a way to merge them so that I can manage my work page and community from one account. It’s making me crazy.

  • Cyriljohn Escol

    Great post. Very informative and useful.

  • https://www.facebook.com/manojsethi46 Manoj Kumar Sethi

    Thank you lot Kristi for the sharings. I will check with the Google News for more.

  • Pingback: Google+ Features for Your Business | Understanding eCommerce()

  • ben

    Can I add more than 1 email address to my Google Authorship account?

  • Ruth West

    Kristi, do you know if there is any benefit to adding social media such as Facebook and Twitter to the contributor section of Google +, or does it make no difference? Thanks.

  • Eftychia

    Hello! Very good article! If I have already a business Page I should also create a +Local? If I have three businesses which you think is good to to promote the Official one?

  • http://www.eyecandymedia.com.au/ Jayde Mihan

    Well written and easy to follow. I often get asked by clients how to do all the above and was thinking of writing my own post to explain to them just how you have done, obviously with my own take on it. You have provided some great tips and easy to follow steps for business owners to easily set this up themselves (although most of them would rather someone do it for them!) thanks for the post, excellent job.

  • Jennifer Mark

    useful tips for growing up and boosting the traffic of the online business for any website. Hope my business is gonna get a kick start and boost up with the segment.

  • Pingback: Google+ for Your Business | yMarketingMatters()

  • http://www.movingpix.co.uk Rich Jerwood

    thanks a really useful article

  • http://www.Date2Relate.Com/ Date2Relate

    The ‘+1′ function seems much more powerful than the Facebook ‘like.’ No doubt it’ll be used appropriately following our launch. Thank you for posting Kristi.

  • http://www.aquahabitat.com/ Spring Creek Aquatic Concepts

    Kristi, excellent info! You went past how to add google badges and gave us the important reasons why to do so. thanks!

    One pretty pic for you!









Pinterest
Join our Social Media Marketing Networking Club
Check out the Social Media Marketing Podcast!