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Google+ For Businesses: What The Industry Thinks (1)

8 November 2011 BY

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So Google+ has finally launched Google+ for businesses yesterday. We are seeing a lot of businesses adding their pages at the moment, but there is still doubt whether or not Google has rolled out a killing feature or that its just something which should have been there from the start.

We have asked several people in the industry what their thoughts on the new feature are. Below you can find the first part of the responses we’ve had so far.

UPDATES: Added Rand Fishkin and Dixon Jones

Rand Fishkin – SEOMoz

“Google+ for brands is a natural extension of the platform, but it’s also critical to Google’s adoption strategy. I think they’d hoped to become more of a place where friendly, social interactions take place prior to releasing brands on the ecosystem, but have largely failed to be a pure clone of Facebook. Instead, they’re seeing more content sharing, professional relationships and overlap (in small ways) with LinkedIn/Twitter/StumbleUpon.

By leveraging the influence of Google’s search results and the way they markup/annotate search results for brands, they can push nearly every brand to adopt a Google+ page. The next challenge will be showing those brands (and the users who follow/connect with them) value on the platform. I’d say they’ve got a long way to go and it’s hard to say whether the experiment in social can succeed. I will say this – getting celebrity adoption of the service, making the URLs clean and easy to print on walls, business cards, etc would both go a long way, but so far they’ve invested in neither which doesn’t give me much faith.”

Dixon Jones – MajesticSEO

“One of the team just put up a page for MajesticSEO and I linked to it on my mobile. I looked at the page and asked myself ‘hmm… What next?’. Guess we have a way to go to make the page interactive. At the moment I can’t even +1 it.”

Lisa Myers – Vervesearch

“My initial thoughts on Google + for businesses is “great, looks good!”, it has a lot of potential, in fact I will go as far as to say it has more potential than Google + as a mainstream “social network”. The functionality of Google + lends itself to businesses perfectly, the social network for businesses basically. I think I prefer Google + Business pages to the Facebook pages. It also has big potential to be merged with Google Places and become a landing page for a business, small businesses will eventually not need a website. Which is a bit scary to be honest as Google will be owning way too much “property” for my liking. Nevertheless, I’ve already set up Verve Search and will be doing the same with SEO Chicks and my clients. I was VERY excited about Google + when it first came out and wrote a guide about Google + just after it was released but then again kind of lost interest when the circles became to cumbersome, turns out I’m not as organised as I think. I’m the kind of person that starts of writing in a new notebook all nice and neat and at the end it’s all a mess with random drawings, doodles and handwriting that could rival a doctors. Putting people in circles is just too much work for day to day and I’ve ended lumping everyone in one big happy SEO circle. I still use Google +but not as much as Twitter and Facebook but I have a feeling I would use the business page more though. It definitely lends itself better to businesses, it’s a bit like Google + was a bit too grown up as a main stream social network, a bit like your mum going clubbing with you. At least now “mum” is dressed in appropriate clothing and is at a piano bar rather than a disco for twenty somethings. End of random rant.”

Will Critchlow – Distilled

“I’m very pleased that we can finally get our businesses into Google+, but I wish they had taken the opportunity to bake in some much-needed changes.

“Aside from properly sorting out the personal / apps account mess (which they do appear to be slowly working on) it’s crazy that they didn’t launch friendly URLs along with company accounts. It’s ridiculous not to be able to give people a handle to find you on G+. Do they really expect me to remember the phone-number-like 100170499799078378149 (personal account), 106626622878120060227 (my company) and 106858636547986185729 (my as-yet-unused google apps account)? Crazy!”

Rishi Lakhani – Explicitly.me

“To me, Google Plus for Brands seemed like a reaction to try and match Facebook’s pages functionality as quickly as possible. Currently these are no different than a normal user’s page, but hopefully they will bump up that functionality, and make them more useful.

Amazingly, I am starting to think that Google could use these Brand Pages to actually steal share from Facebook for two reasons:

Brands Promote Google Plus for them – see the Macy’s page for example, 1 day of being live, they have over 170+ to the page and over 9000 followers. They are obviously pushing and promoting, as well as having the first user advantage of course.
Brands may concentrate more time on plus, as Google has hinted that plus is / may be a ranking factor. Why wouldn’t the digital for any brand then concentrate on getting their pages running, engaging and useful?
Regardless of what I think, every brand should at least block theirs out now, before having to deal with squatters.”

Rishi ads more information on the website of our very own Peter Young.

Dom Hodgson – Clicknmix

“An interesting first attempt at pages, very limited implementation but there is a lot of room to expand I started the ClickNMix one (https://plus.google.com/b/117370445374984079395/117370445374984079395/posts) and once you’ve but the initial information in, there isn’t much to do after that..

You can also only upload photos one at a time which is annoying when you’ve got 300 photos of sweets to upload..”

Peter Young – Holistic Search

“We spoke about this briefly during the recent State of Search radio show and I said then that I felt much of this functionality really should have been included within the original release of Google+ rather than an apparent after thought.

It still suffers from a detachment from many other Google Products. Local appears to be the most obvious candidate but I still feel there is just a little something missing that doesn’t give it the edge to the pure customisation of say a Facebook Environment.

Its still early days, and whether we see Google+ see the takeup we have seen recently of Facebook within offline advertising for example is still open to debate. My personal thoughts is there is still work to do.”

Andrew Girdwood – Bigmouthmedia

“Google+ Pages for businesses and brands are rich in opportunity.

In particular, Google Direct looks to be powerful. With Google Direct would-be searches bypass the search results – no PPC ads, no aggregators, no affiliates or competitors – and leap straight to the business profile.

The ability to tie a Google+ Page with an AdWords account and earn cumulative +1s for landing pages may well turn out to be really powerful as well. Google has said it will not normalise the improved click through rate PPC ads with a +1 annotation are likely to earn and so a good Google+ Page may well be a direct boost to your AdWords campaign.

However, Google+ Pages lack some very basic features. In particular, the lack of a multi-admin option is a hindrance. Google accounts tend to be associated with AdWords campaigns and so login details should not be shared. This will make the day to day use of Google+ Pages for Brands tricky for large companies or teams until Google provides a solution.

Over all, I love to see Google pushing further into content surfacing as an alternative to searching. Google+ Pages for Brands will encourage companies around the world to step up their content strategies and make the effort to share that content with their audiences. We’ll see digital marketing companies respond by providing serves that blend traditional SEO, PPC and social media together.”

Kelvin Newman – Sitevisibility

“This is long over-due, part of me wonders whether the delayed this as long as possible to give the service a little PR boost. I think serving business will be a good way for Google to try and out manoeuvre Facebook. Ultimately to be a successful social network you need the punters, but if you can be the easiest for businesses and advertisers to deal with you can get away with being a bit smaller. Often companies spend their money and time where it’s easiest rather than most effective.”

Matthew Wood – Existem

“From an affiliates perspective it could well be another nail in the coffin for affiliates attempting to rank for brand terms in Google.

Whether the +Brand feature gets used in a shoppers mindset however is questionable. I see this as a branding excerise over actual sales generation, much like many brands current usage of Facebook.”

AUTHORED BY:
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Bas van den Beld is a speaker, trainer and online marketing strategist. Bas is the founder of Stateofdigital.com. -- You can hire Bas to speak, train or consult.
  • http://www.gravytrain.co.uk Kevin Taylor

    The lack of friendly URL’s seems bizzare, ‘phone like numbers’? they are more like credit card numbers and nobody remembers credit card numbers, at least not mutiple credit card numbers! I’m still struggling with my various combinations of personal google accounts, blogger accounts and the business ones!

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