Google+ Brand Pages

Should Your Brand Have a Google+ Page?

The second post from Search Corner.

The short answer is yes, yes it should.  Even just a simple, quasi-placeholder for right now, if that’s all you can muster.  Though Google+ is changing by the day, we want to discuss some of the top considerations for brands looking to jump on the platform.

Social impact on search

No matter where it’s going to settle, Google’s current slant on “relevance” benefits a brand with a Google+ page.  This means that having a Google+ brand page will likely increase your search visibility, and not having a Google+ brand page will likely decrease your search visibility*.  Danny Sullivan gives excellent examples with screenshots of how it all works (at least as of today -- this could evolve any minute) in his article Real-Life Examples of How Google’s ‘Search Plus’ Pushes Google+ Over Relevancy.   

Social impact on search in general is not going away, given the search engines’ consummate focus on delivering the most “accurate” results based on what it interprets the user is really looking for.  This is just another stepping stone in the formula for interpretation.

*As of today, Google has about 10x more market share than Bing.  And while Facebook brand pages definitely have an impact on Bing SERPs, they have little impact on Google SERPs, given the Facebook / Google relationship (or lack thereof).

Long-term brand awareness

Of course, there’s the longer play for brand awareness, and the strategy of marketing to folks where they already are.  Is Google+ going to be the Facebook killer?  It’s up in the air now, with pundits and industry leaders on both sides of the coin.  However, given Google’s size, the breadth and depth of their other properties, and their investment to date, it’s hard not to take them seriously.  Just keep in mind a couple of key items that are a little different than existing social networks (read: Facebook):

1. No contests, offers, or promotions!  See Google+ Pages Contest and Promotion Policies

2. This is not a rotisserie oven (you cannot “set it and forget it”).  According to their new Terms of Service, “Google may, without notice, remove your Google+ Pages if they are dormant for more than nine months.”

Value through content

And lastly, content remains king.  Social media strategist Lisa Peyton offers some key insights on Google+ brand page engagement in her article 3 Successful Google+ Pages and Why They Work.  In it, she posits that value for the brand lies in the community’s engagement with the content (via +1 and/or share), rather than the volume of page followers. As ever, the brands that provide timely or limited availability content reap the benefits of a highly engaged community.   

Prioritizing focus

Now, if you really want to get the most out of your Google+ brand page, take a look at Gillian Cook’s article What Brands Need to Know About Google+ Pages on SEOptimise.  It’s a good framework for getting started, with three basic considerations:

1. Grow Your Circles

2. Segment The Audience

3. Develop a Content Strategy

For an interesting snapshot view into which people, brands, and content are the most popular on Google+ right now, take a look at these statistics

We realize this is just the tip of the Google+ iceberg, and we’ve still got plenty more to say, so stay tuned for more related posts. What other considerations do you want to hear more about? If your brand isn’t on Google+ yet (and you’re still not convinced), what’s on your mind? 

3 Comments

Much appreciate the question. For now, the placeholder idea does seem useful. Eventually, I believe they'll become a lot more relevant.
So the most useful thing about Google+ is the fact that they will hurt our search ranking if we don't use it? That's classy. Also, the "top brands" on Google+ were extremely popular even without Google+. I don't see how that's relevant. Where's a small time mom and pop business using it with great success?
Hi Matt, Well, first, thanks for the diplomacy in your word choice of “classy.” Yeah, Google is in the business of getting people to use their products/services, so one might say Google is using its might to “help you see things their way.” To your other point about brands: what we’re seeing is that big brands continue to use social to reinforce brand awareness (like any of their marketing investments), as well as use engagement tactics to try to influence brand loyalty. A small business with a Google+ brand page is going to benefit from the boost in local search, which, given likely limited marketing budget, is reason enough to have one. Beyond that, though, there are a couple features that small businesses could benefit from: circles and hangouts. Watch for an upcoming post from us on Google+ circles, and in the meantime, there are some pretty slick (certainly art directed by Google, but real) case studies of small businesses and their Google+ pages on their blog http://googlesmb.blogspot.com/. And… any small businesses out there have a Google+ brand page story to tell?

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