Since its launch a few months ago, Google+ has quickly accumulated some 40 million users worldwide, and though it still has a ways to go for it to reach Facebook popularity; it’s still in its infancy and shows promise for supporting small businesses and helping them expand and grow with more online exposure. For starters, it helps that Google + is part of the Google family, which means easy integration with many Google products that support small business. Not to mention, Google + is a great tool to help with small business SEO (search engine optimization) efforts for virtually any business.
Introducing the Google+ Business Page
And now a few months post the initial Google+ launch, Google is finally offering the highly anticipated Google+ Business Pages launched on November 7th. Google+ Business Pages will help small businesses on a variety of levels, but maybe most importantly, it will be great for SEO and exposure, which means every business should consider having a Google+ account and business page similar to having a Facebook business page, Twitter account, etc.
As stated on Google’s Blog:
“For businesses and brands, Google+ pages help you connect with the customers and fans who love you. Not only can they recommend you with a +1, or add you to a circle to listen long-term. They can actually spend time with your team, face-to-face-to-face.”
Benefits for the Small Business Owner
Aside from the major benefit of SEO by using Google+, Google+ business pages allow you to create ‘Circles’ where you can group your contacts into different segments to make it easier to tailor messages and communications for different demographics and market groups.
As mentioned previously, given that Google+ is integrated with other Google products (after all, this is a smart strategy for the Google business), it provides an opportunity for greater exposure for small businesses. Direct Connect, for example, allows a user to enter a + before a business name in the search engine and it automatically connects you to that business’s Google+ page if you choose it.
Some Improvements are Still Needed
At the same time, Google+ has ways to go. It’s not as user friendly or integrated as Facebook Business Pages are, and it doesn’t yet have as many built-in features. It lacks built-in analytics, and it doesn’t provide a vanity URL, both of which Facebook offers. But as we know, Google has a way of coming around pretty quickly, so I’m sure Google is already in the process of making these upgrades behind the scenes.
But even at this stage in the game, Google+ Business Pages are a smart way to build brand exposure for small businesses, so I suggest you set up your Google Account (if you don’t have one), create your Google+ Account, and then build a Google+ Business Page to boost SEO, leads, loyalty and credibility for your local business. Learn how you can create a Google+ Badge for your blog to brand.