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Google for Brands: Pages vs. Profiles
Google for Brands: Pages vs. Profiles
Once more, the time has come when businesses find themselves being told they need to set up yet another social media outpost on the Web. Despite the feeling of digital burnout that many are feeling as maintaining a social-media presence seems to be becoming a full-time job, there are a lot of good reasons to seriously consider Google+ Pages.
Google+ is growing at a prodigious rate. In mere months, is has reached a size that Facebook took years to attain. As Google continues to unify its various products, G+ is becoming ubiquitous. Gmail, Google Docs, Google Maps, and more have become vital to many Internet users. The advent of Google+ provides a layer of social media that connects them all, however many or few are being used. This integration creates a suite of easily accessed and cross-compatible tools that can be invaluable, especially to small or independent businesses.
Additionally, G+ usage and social signals are now a factor in search. This means it can become a fantastic way of growing a significantly larger Web presence. Since there are more than a billion searches each day on Google, made by hundreds of millions of people, the importance is obvious.
Pages and profiles: What’s the difference?
Google lists the 10 key differences on its support page. Here they are, with some of my own commentary added.
Pages can’t add people to circles until the page is added first or mentioned. (Learn more)
While many marketers are tearing their hair out over this, I think it’s a much-needed step. It cuts down on spam and creates a truly opt-in experience, essential to building a good community.
Pages can be made for a variety of different entities whereas profiles can only be made for people. Charity organizations, commercial entities, clubs, bands, coffee shops, etc., are all candidates for pages.
This one is essential – pages can have multiple administrators. If you’re creating a page for a brand or organization, it often helps if you can have a team of administrators. With a simple profile this is impossible, but with pages, you designate as many as you need. One person remains the “page owner” and can give problem managers the boot if needed. If the owner leaves the company, he or she can transfer ownership to someone new.
The default privacy setting for elements on your page profile is public. Public, and quite visible to the search engines.
Just as we saw with the Facebook “Like” button, not that long ago Google’s “+1″ buttons are starting to turn up everywhere. Every time you press the +1 button on a website or a Google profile, it shows up on your own profile as well. It also helps a lot in making your content more visible to search.
Pages have this +1 button automatically. Just like any website that has it installed, pages have the +1 button enabled from the moment of their creation. This +1 button is automatically integrated into Google+ Pages. Be aware that when using Google under your page’s identity, you do not have the ability to +1 other content, no matter whether it is a page with a +1 button or a website that has it enabled.
Pages can’t play games.
Pages don’t have the option to share to Extended circles. In other words, you cannot share a posting with those who have circled the page and all of their friends. This goes back to the opt-in mentality, and while inconvenient, is a great way of reducing spam.
Pages can’t hangout (Google+’s branded video conferencing tool) on a mobile device.
Local pages have address fields that help people find the business’ physical location. If you have a brick-and-mortar business this can be helpful in driving traffic to you through local search. (Learn more about local pages.)
In the interest of making Google+ Pages more accessible, Google introduced a modification to its search engine when it has debuted Pages, it’s called direct connect.
If you’re looking for the Google+ page for a brand, all you have to do is go to Google.com and type in “+” followed by the brand name. If that brand has a Google+ page, it will come up as the top result in the search.
It’s a bonus, and an efficient one, but I cannot help wondering how many average Web surfers will actually use it. Only time will tell.
Creating a page
Go to the Google+ Pages for businesses page. Pick a category from the five available: Local Business or Place; Product or Brand; Company, Institution or Organization; Arts, Entertainment or Sports; and Other. (Most of you will probably be choosing “Local Business or Place.”)
Google will present you with a text box in which you should type your organization’s phone number. If your info has already been indexed, your business address and other data should come right up. If not, you can manually enter it at this point. If your business has a physical storefront, the address you enter here will make it appear on a Google map in the right-hand column.
Add a tagline and photo. Pages and profiles without photos are often dismissed by readers as amateurish or not worth the time.
A Page about pages
One last thing, there is a Google+ Page for businesses using Google+, Google+ Your Business. I know it sounds a bit meta, but there is usually a lot of great content there. If you’re going to develop a Google+ page for your brand or organization, I highly advise checking it out.
I would also advise checking out the Google+ Safety Center. It has great info for parents, teens, educators, and anyone who has privacy or safety concerns.