Marketing for Small Business
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Google, the world's most popular online search engine, is making changes to its search model because of its recent entry into social media platforms. Going forward, search results will be placing less relevance on your business website’s content and more importance on the online conversation about it.
What Google’s New Search Addition Emphasizes
Like many Google updates, one of the most important for businesses fell under most entrepreneurs’ radars. On January 10, 2012, Google launched Search Plus Your World, an enhancement to its ubiquitous Google Search. The company claims Search Plus Your World will "bring your world, rich with people and information, into search." Unfortunately for the small business owner, your world and your potential customers’ worlds aren’t always one in the same.
While your website may be overflowing with great content crafted around the keywords a potential customer is searching, your site could be knocked down a few pegs in the results if you’re not integrating Google+ with your online marketing strategy. Instead of mostly focusing on your site’s architecture, links and its content’s relevancy, Search Plus Your World focuses on three areas:
The problem for the Google+-abstaining small business owner lies in the arrangement of the Google+ search results. All of this social data is located above the organic search results, much like Google Ads are displayed. But instead of the visually boring text ads, users will now see intriguing pictures, people and profiles before scrolling down to your business’ website. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed: Scrolling down remains an impediment to getting your site's search result noticed and boosting site visits.
You can debate whether Search Plus Your World is a brilliant way to connect people socially to pictures, profiles and people of interest, or a ploy to ensure Google remains top dog by favoring its Google+ social network in search results. Either way, if Google is favoring individuals—and, more importantly, businesses—with Google+ profiles, it’s in your business’s best interest to jump on the bandwagon.
Six Steps to Creating a Google+ Business Page
Before you devote all of your social media attention to Google+, don’t neglect your Facebook Business Page and your Twitter account. Facebook maintains about 800 million users, and Twitter lays claim to more than 300 million tweeters. Neglecting the two biggest social media players in favor of your Google+ account that, at this moment, reaches 62 million users won’t maximize your impact. Google+ will have to fit into—not dominate—your overall social media plan.
Once you’ve blocked off a little uninterrupted time, you can create your Google+ Business Page at Google+ for Business. While the Google-provided instructions and videos are fairly comprehensive, you can follow detailed video instructions if you’d like to really dive into the process.
If, on the other hand, you’re more interested in getting something live that has 80 percent of what you want now and working on the other 20 percent at your leisure, following these basic steps will help you create a respectable Google+ Business Page.
For the sake of argument, let’s say you own a brick-and-mortar bookstore. Is that a Local Business or Place, or does it fall under Arts, Entertainments or Sports? In this case, it’s a Local Business or Place. If you were promoting your book—not your bookstore—it would be Arts, Entertainment or Sports. Making sure you select the correct category now saves a lot of headaches down the line.
As you explore Google+, you’ll unearth a plethora of areas you can customize and add content to. For now, your Google+ Business Page is good to go. And with some continual postings and maintenance it should help you achieve higher Search Plus Your World results. Until, of course, Google reinvents search yet again.