Using Google for Business and Search Engine Rankings

Google is a new social network that is rapidly becoming an important player in the social media landscape. Google currently has over 90 million users worldwide and although this is still far from Facebook’s 800 million membership base, comparisons between the two are being made as this new social network gains momentum.

Similar to Facebook, Google allows users to create a profile, share content and comment or recommend content using the 1 button, which is similar to Facebook’s Like button. Also like Facebook, Google allows users to upload and add tags to images. However, a big consideration in the use of Google is its ability to influence search results as a social measure. Google has indicated they are taking note of Google usage in order to present more useful search results.

There are also some exciting features to enhance your profile in search results for content listed on your website, with your authorship and face shown directly in Google search results, as shown below:

The ability of Google to influence search engine results provides businesses the opportunity to improve their search engine ranking and click-through rate. In this article, we discuss the features of Google and how you can use Google in your business and improve your search engine rankings.

Google Circles
One of the features of Google that differentiates it from Facebook is circles. Circles allow you to categorise and label your Google contacts into groups. Different people are interested in different content. Blogs, articles or images that you would like to share with your family and friends may not be suitable to share with your colleagues. You can add circles for your friends, family and co-workers. You can add as many circles as you like and place some of your contacts in multiple circles if appropriate.

Once you have created your circles, you can then share content for each and encourage them to share this content with their own Google circles. That is how your content can reach a wider audience. Circles is a great way for people of various interests and professions to easily share content.

Google enables you to upload photos and share them with specific circles. You can edit the photo and add text captions to describe your photo. Other users can also give their comments which appear to the right of the photo as speech bubbles. This is a good way for you to interact with your followers or those belonging to your circles.

Video chat
Another feature that sets Google apart from other social networking sites is their video chat called hangouts. Google enables you to chat, via video, with several people at the same time. The hangout is not exclusive to your circle, as any of your followers can invite someone from their circle to join the hangout, so you have the opportunity to chat with new people.

1 button
Google enables users to share content they like via the 1 button, which is similar to the Tweet button of Twitter or the Like button on Facebook. When you click on the 1 button of a web page, the page address of the content will appear on your live stream.

What you need to do
Google provides these innovative features but how can you make these work for your business?

Utilise your Google profile for your content
With Google , you can link your website’s content to your profile such that when your content comes up in search results, your name and photo will appear. An example of this is shown below:

Setting up your Google profile for this feature is quick and straightforward. First, add a headshot to your Google profile. Make sure that your headshot is current and looks professional. Second, in the “Contributor to” section under the “About” tab of your profile, add the base URL of where your article will be hosted.

Finally, you will need to configure your website to list you as an author of the content by adding a special link, usually a rel=”author” tag, within your article. Once you have done this, the author’s details will appear on your article page as in the example below:

Setting up your Google profile such that your photo and author’s name appears alongside your content can improve your search engine rankings as Google is now able to set apart those who have real profiles versus those who are simply spamming. With Google , the search results are more difficult to cheat. You can also improve your click-through rate as your Google profile builds your credibility and you are able to reach an audience that already has an interest in your content.

Set-up a Google business page
Aside from your personal profile, you can also set-up a Google page for your own business. In this page you can include your business name, product or brand, tagline, location, website, industry or specialisation and a profile photo. Having a business page will enable you to interact with customers, develop relationships with prospects and share product photos and latest updates. Through your business page you can also directly chat with leads and customers via video chat.

Google has also launched Google Direct Connect, which is an integration between Google business pages and Google search. When you install Google Direct Connect on your business page, your business page will come up in search results as the official Google page of your company or brand. Again, this is a new way to boost your search engine rankings.

Use the 1 button on your website
The 1 button appears in Google search results and can also be embedded to your website. The 1 button enables users to vote and recommend a web-page. The 1 button is an effective way for users to quickly and easily share your website to their own circles as when they click 1, the page address is displayed on their live stream. In addition, Google is using these recommendations as a social indicator in natural searches. This is a great way to reach potential customers who might be interested in your products and services.

Share a lot of photos
Photos are a vital feature of Google as users share plenty of individual images. Think about the images that represent your business or your brand. Do you have a photo for your new line of product? Or perhaps you have an infographic you would like to share. Share photos, diagrams and images that you think will encourage comments and interaction among users. When someone comments on your photos, make sure you acknowledge it with your own comment to keep the interaction active.

Include information about your Google page in your website
In order to widen your circles and get in touch with people who already have an interest in what you offer, promote your Google page on your website. When users see that you have a Google page, they can then add you to their circles. Actively promote your Google page to build a strong audience base within the Google community.

Some final words

Google is not just another social network. It is a means to influence search results and improve our Google search experience. It is also an effective way to interact and build relationship with customers. If you have not set-up your Google profile and business page, we recommend that you take advantage of this opportunity and see how it can impact your search engine rankings and future customer relationships.

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