Customizable URLs have become a common staple on social media profiles. However, to the dismay and confusion of many, custom URLs have been conspicuously absent on Google+. Just how could the kingpin of search think that something like this:
is user or search-friendly?
It looks counterintuitive to Google’s mission as a search engine and awful to SEO experts. But, there is some method to Google’s madness. Custom URLs on Google+ present a potential privacy issue. Since Google+ is tied to almost all of Google’s other services, a custom URL could provide hackers and spammers with enough information to cause a problem. With the debacle that was Google Buzz, it’s no wonder the search giant is treading with caution.
In addition, domain-squatting is a potential problem that could negatively impact users, companies, and search results. Unscrupulous people could snap up several custom URLs, potentially driving traffic away from authoritative sites and/or creating conflicting search results.
In light of the issues, Google is being careful. Currently, custom URLs are available on Google+, but they come with some catches. First, custom URLs are in closed beta right now. Only profiles that receive an invite from Google can use a custom URL. Second, Google chooses the URL. But, if you have been invited and you don’t like the URL Google has selected for you, you can request a change.
Google has stated that custom URLs may become available to everyone in the future, but as a paid feature. It may be worthwhile for some companies, especially as pages and posts from Google+ continue to play a larger role in search results.
Since the launch of Google Plus, we have covered what to expect with a Google+ Business Page and what has happened to Places Listings that merged into Google+ Local. Recently, Google released the ability to merge the Google+ Local listings with a single Google+ Business Page. This functionality is very important, since there are features available on a Google+ Business Page that were not accessible on a Google+ Local listing. The advantages to merging your listings into a single Google+ Business Page include the ability to share updates with photos or videos and links, create Circles (segmented networks of fans), set up Events, host Hangouts that can be linked to your YouTube account and recorded, and include you customer reviews on an SEO optimized About section for your business. We will continue to share more ideas about the social media marketing strategies for a Google+ Business Page in another follow up article. Below are the steps to the verification procedure for merging one Google+ Local Listings into a new, more robust +Business Page.
Step One: Create a profile with a gmail address, this will be the owner of the page, make sure it is unique to the business and not a personal account. Create a Google+ Business Page, if you do not already have one. Populate the “About Info” with keyword rich text and hyperlinks to your website. Upload a profile photo and cover image that will enhance your brand’s exposure. Start adding People, and Pages to circles that are in your scope of interests, to expand your Pages reach in the network.
Step Two: Select the “Verify Now” button next to your Google+ Page name. You will be able to add managers to the Page, and they can perform this action as well. You can add a personal gmail account to be a Page manager, but they will need to have a Google+ Profile activated.
Step Three: Verify your business address. Select the “View Page” to see what your current +Local listing contains. You will be able to compare what information has merged with your existing +Business Page, by keeping a copy of this screen shot in your records.
Step Four: Complete the verification process by requesting a postcard with a pin. Once you receive the postcard in the mail, go to the link provided and validate that you are the business owner. You’ll need to accept the terms and conditions before selecting the “request post card” button.
Once your Google+ Business Page is verified, your Page will be shown to anyone searching in Google Maps, Google Search, and Google Plus. Your business’s reviews will migrate with the about information you have populated on your Page, and have the potential to also appear in search results. It will be important to share updates frequently, so visitors to the Page have a resource for learning about specials, your company, or industry news and trends you provide to your fan base. Google+ users will be able to leave reviews and give your business a rating directly on your page. You might want to consider a way to reward customer reviews, so there is a good representation of positive feedback about your business.
We specialize in social media strategy and search engine optimization for Google+ Business Pages. This network, has the ability to drive traffic to your location as well as enhance your website’s position in natural search results. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of Google Plus for your business, call us at 800.787.0497 for a free consultation.
As Google Plus continues to gain popularity as a social network they have been investing a substantial amount of time into the user interface. In a recent article about Google Plus, we reviewed the design changes for the desktop version of the social network. This week, the Google Plus mobile app got a visual refresh and more desktop features are now available. Here is a list of the improvements to expect when you update the app, and a visual comparison of the old user interface to the new.
A visual comparison of the changes to the Google Plus iphone App user interface boasts a very sleek new navigation-landing page. The Google Plus stream highlights the posters’ profile image, making the author more recognizable while scrolling the feed. It is also easier to access the user’s profile information or company page information, with a single click on the profile header on the post. The new post view minimizes the text and link content in posts and highlights dynamic content like images and videos. Currently there are only a small percentage of user’s who interact in Google Plus via the Mobbile App, but perhaps this cleaner, more dynamic, enhanced view will attract and encourage more participation.
What are your thoughts about the new user experience? What other features from the desktop version of Google Plus would you like to see added to the Mobile App?