You’ve seen Google transform the way we do things on the Internet. Sometimes Google takes things to an excessive extreme and has a complicated time releasing their products prematurely, but come what may Google always manages to come out on top. Google is THE #1 search engine on the Internet. And if you are not using Google+ and Google products for your business, blog, website and social media, then you are missing out on one of the most significantly effectual Internet platform/tools on the planet!
First of all let’s talk about what has changed. Being #1 on Google is always on the forefront of all business owners’ minds; significantly for lead generations and searchability. Now, there are so many Google products it’s hard to understand what does what and how.
In the beginning, Google Places was how you were found, you set up your free Google Places account, verify yoru business, made sure your business information was correct and identifiable and voila, you are officially registered on Google. Since the introduction of Google+, Google has made Google Local the new Google Places a one stop shopping if you will, one account for everything. I know it sounds very bewildering but it’s easier than you think. At first, Google was the bane of my existence when it came to SEO and web presence because you had to have a separate login and account for each Google product; this is has all changed. Google has revolutionized their product line and combined everything by allowing you one login for all your Google products. There’s a rhyme to their reason and it’s smart.
When Google+ first came out, it was clunky, confusing and wasn’t all that they promised for a stalwart competition to Facebook. For the most part it functions about the same but this is just a very small part in the scheme of things. When you have a Gmail account as a business you can create your Google+ account, and from that Google+ account you can create a Google+ Page, similar to Facebook right? Right! However, with all of this, you can create a Google Local credential as well, which is where you can create a verified business. Verifying you business is indispensable because it makes you more searchable. For example, if you are searching for a Dentist in Austin, TX, guess what, the verified business in that zip code for that specific industry show up first. By not verifying your business you are missing out on a key link to your SEO chain. Once verified, you will have access to your Google Analytics, Google Places and Google Maps. Even though Google Places doesn’t exactly exist any more you can still login and check on your impressions which you can also do in Analytics. It is important to also, check your Google Maps placement for critical information such as a duplicate location, lack of suite/unit #’s, incorrect address, and pin marker. I had a client whose pin marker was two blocks off from their location. Customers were having a thorny time locating them using GPS. Google can fix all of this for you by requesting a change they will communicate with you via email – there’s no calling Google.
There are so many products that you as business owner can utilize that are provided for FREE by Google. Here’s a list:
Google+ – Social Networking for individuals (you will need this in order to create a Google+ page)
Google+ Pages – Social Networking specifically for your Businesses, Organization, Charity, Special Interests etc.. must have a Google+ personal account)
Google+ Local (verify your business) – Simply put, Google Local highlights your business for everyone to see when they search in your area or zip code if you verify your business and have a Google+ Page this will combine these two acounts into one and show a check mark that you are a Google verified business.
Google Places/Google Maps– This is where people find you, make sure your address and pin location are correct in addition to all of your pertinent busienss information. (Google+ Local will hopefully take the place of this at some point)
Google Analytics – “Google Analytics lets you measure your advertising ROI as well as track your Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications.”
Google Webmaster Tools – “Google Webmaster Tools provides you with detailed reports about your web pages’ visibility on Google. To get started, simply add and verify your site and you’ll start to see information right away.”
Gmail – Google’s Free email service and where you need to start, in order to use any Google product
How to verify on Google Local/Google+
My advice is to start out small. Start with a business related Gmail account—-Google+—Google+ Business page. From here create your content and business information, follow, add people to your circles and build your network and community. From there locate yourself on Google Local by doing a search for your business and create a Google Local page and verify your business which will in turn integrate your Google+ Page with Google Local. Make sure to check your listing on Google Places which is now Google Maps, make sure your address, phone number, and pin location are correct. You can always report to Google if there is a duplicate listing or incorrect street name on Google Maps click here for a screenshot. You can manually change the pin location as well, Google will need to approve this on their end, which can sometimes take a week for the change to occur, but be patient, Google will communicate everything to you via e-mail. You can email Google with any questions or concerns about any or all of your Google products. As far as Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, wait until you have familiarized yourself with the other Google product lines. There are several tutorials and blogs that elucidate the diverse things you can do with these web tools and apply to your bigger picture.
The thing with the new Google product lines is the fact that Google might have introduced them to the general population too soon and too close together. Because of this, people have been skeptical to use them because at fist glance they appear very puzzling. However, since the all in integration things are better now, Google has made great strides to keep their products united and have managed to seamlessly integrated their product line. Like I said start our small and go from there, sink or swim, it’s worth the jump!