Google rolled out its pages for business today and, as per usual with Google launches, nobody really noticed.
I have been using Google+ to follow Matt Cutts and a few other notable people in the industry, but don’t have many friends actively using it, let alone women, which is the reason Facebook is what it is.
Anyways, I’m never one to hate on trends (I did not understand the appeal of Twitter), so I set up Linkbuildr’s Page to kind of get a feel for how it will work for businesses. So far, I only notice a couple of differences between the personal profile and a page:
First, your page has to be encircled to be able to circle. This will go a long way to prevent the twitter spamming method of following for followers and ensure that everyone who has you in a circle actively sought out your page and circled you. Opt-in marketing is something Google is very fond of and should encourage (enforce) some corporate responsibility. As such, I am currently the only person with Linkbuildr in a circle, and the page only has one follower. Change that for us! But I digress… The move will make it so that your page’s Google+ followers are of a much higher quality and anything you push to them via G+ should be pretty targeted content that they want to see. Hopefully this leads to much better interaction from the pages’ users and less opportunity to game the system.
Secondly, Google has added Direct Connect. Direct connect will use the plus modifier [+] to automatically bring you to and circle a page. If you’re looking for Linkbuildr, Googling +Linkbuildr should (one day, when we’re “eligible”) bring you to the Linkbuildr Google+ Page and automatically circle us.
Google+ pages will be showing up in the SERPS, so it’ll give your online profile a nice little bump for people searching for your brand name.
I think it’ll be great for businesses. The tools that Google+ offers can be very creatively applied to maintaining healthy relationships with your clients. The hangouts are a super easy way to connect visually and give face to face advice or what have you. Small businesses will be able to group their clients based on interests and only share what they think they’ll be interested in. You’ll be able to comment and interact with people in your circles and really get your name out there. Helping people will, I think, go a long way with these G+ pages.
As always, if you want to play nice with Google, do what they want you to do. In this case, they want you to create a Google+ page for your business. The links won’t pass juice, like any of their domains, but we know that Google accounts for social media profiles in their ranking algorithm and if you don’t have a G+ page for your business, your competition will. Google has more social information about your business here than it does anywhere else so you’d be silly not to.
Google also posted a clean little video sharing a bike shop’s experiences with Google+ pages and how it worked for him. It might be a nice little means of getting you pumped on working with your clientele.