Google+ announced today that businesses and brands are now able to create pages. However, not everyone will get in (many will get a message saying “Google+ Pages isn’t ready for everyone”). But once you do gain access, you will be asked to create a page in one of five categories:
- Local Business or Place
- Product or Brand
- Company, Institution or Organization
- Arts, Entertainment or Sports
What this Means for SEO
Google is hands down the most recognized search engine in the world. The most recent figures reveal that 65% of search traffic is run through Google. Though Google offers a plethora of both free and paid services, its primary functionality remains serving as a search engine. Although Google’s page ranking algorithm is continually evolving and adapting in many ways unclear to SEO experts, one can be certain that Google+ will most definitely affect search results.
Another new feature for businesses is the ability to have their Google+ pages found through a service called “Direct Connect” in Google Search. This will happen for businesses that Google determines are particularly relevant for a specific kind of search query. What this means is that if someone types into the search field the name of your business with a + symbol in front of the name, they will be automatically pointed to your business. See the following example for Chrome:
What this Means for Social Media
If you’re setting up a page for a local business, you have special features including the ability to list your company’s phone number. Local Google+ pages are unique from other categories of pages because they have features that enable customers to easily connect with your business’s physical location. For example, local pages include a map of the business’s location and feature its address, phone number, and hours of operation.
Of course, many local businesses have already claimed their pages in the completely separate Google Places. Much of the information that Google+ Pages for local businesses wants – and more – are on those pages. But they remain unconnected.
Currently, Place pages and Google+ Pages must be managed separately. A Place page provides information about a business and makes it easy for customers to find local businesses on Google Maps and local search; while a Google+ page provides business owners with additional ways to engage, build relationships, and interact directly with customers.