The absolute benefits of Google+ are still in flux, but let’s just say that putting a +1 Button on your website or blog is a REALLY, REALLY GOOD IDEA.
Simple: there’s no faster way to “tell” Google about new content. It’s awesome how fast it works.
Here’s a little ‘ferinstance:
The last post on this blog, the one about the Facebook Cellphone Hoax, had organic search traffic flowing to it ON THE SAME DAY IT WAS POSTED! Whoot!
You can see the +1 Button above the text of this post, sitting there in the line of the other social share icons, waiting for you to click on it. Go ahead. You know you want to.
Besides putting a +1 Button on your site, setting up a Google+ Page for both yourself and your business is also a REALLY, REALLY GOOD IDEA. The good news is that it’s a lot more simple to set up a Google+ Profile and Page than it is to set up a +1 Button on your website. Either way lets Google know about new content on your site as soon as possible. The difference is that the button is a lot more convenient and can be viral – the Google+ Profile or Page requires you to manually post links in the same manner that you do Facebook Status Updates. But both are good because they flag Google quickly.
If you’ve got an audience with some degree of brand loyalty or even brand recognition, it’s probably best to engage with them in the voice of your brand, rather than your own voice personally. If your business doesn’t have a Google+ Page then you should be thinking about a Google+ strategy TODAY – you could literally be reaping the benefits tomorrow.
How do you do it? How do you set up a Google+ Page?
First, you have to have a Google Plus account. If you’ve already got a Gmail e-mail address then you’re 50% of the way there. Even if you don’t have a Gmail account you can still go to http://plus.google.com/ and get started.
What’s it like? It’s kind of like Facebook, but honestly, it’s a lot more boring. But who cares if it’s boring, we’re here to get results, right? Let’s save the drama for your Momma over there on Facebook and get to brass tacks over on Google+!
Once you’ve got a Google+ Profile set up for you, your person, you can set up a Page for your business or organization. This is done by visiting http://www.google.com/+/business
After you’ve set up your page, you’ll probably notice that the URL is ugly as all hell.
Here’s the URL to the page I set up for this blog:
Gran’ma ain’t typin’ that in.
So what we do is take advantage of another cool functionality Google makes public: it’s Goo.gl URL shortening service. You can grab a shortened URL there. I grabbed http://goo.gl/yXok7 and made it a lot easier to type at least. It’s a bummer that you can’t grab vanity URLs there in the same manner that you’re able to if you set up your own shortening service, like my company’s 2vu.me, or if you go with a third-party service like Gplus.to*.
(*I was originally recommending that people use Gplus.to to create a shortened vanity URL for their Google+ Pages, but Jeff Cohen pointed out how Gplus.to isn’t owned by Google. Great point. What’s shown here now is the second, updated version of this blog post. )
Now you’ve got something presentable, and just like links to YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter that you can proudly present in a row of chicklets like some kind of decorated social media general, you can add another for Google+. Just make sure you’ve got the links right, or you’ll end up looking like a social media goofball.
If you can’t get a button on your site right away, don’t hesitate to get that Google+ Page going today. Post links to your critical landing pages. Post at a regular frequency. If you can get away with making two posts to the same link look like different posts then go for it.
Google is a black box. We can’t tell exactly how it works. You can be sure that when some kind of wonderful new phenomenon is discovered and worth sharing, you’ll be able to learn more about it here.
Have you discovered any cool new benefits of using Google+?