It’s not even an exaggeration to say that this is the day we have been waiting for. We have been complaining, guessing, conjecturing, wailing, and anticipating the arrival of Google + brand pages since the beginning of summer. Now, they’re here, and in a day that will forever live in EXCITEMENT, we can announce that they are FINALLY here, they’re here and wide open to any business!
Google + Brand Pages: Finally Here!
OMG they’re here!! Google + Brand pages have finally arrived! Within the next two days, businesses and non-human entities will be able to Create a Page in one of the following categories: local business/place, product/brand, company/institution/organization, arts/entertainment/sports, or other.
Here’s what the Google blog had to say about it (and we must say, well and wisely said, Google!):
“So far Google+ has focused on connecting people with other people. But we want to make sure you can build relationships with all the things you care about—from local businesses to global brands—so today we’re rolling out Google+ Pages worldwide… Google+ has always been a place for real-life sharing, and Google+ Pages is no exception. After all: behind every page (or storefront, or four-door sedan) is a passionate group of individuals, and we think you should able to connect with them too.”
We think this is an exciting new development. For retail stores and local businesses, this could be extremely helpful. For instance, for a local restaurant with a loyalty club, creating a circle and communicating with loyal customers is easy. Doing so allows that restaurant to maintain these loyal customers by ensuring they feel cared for, and by providing them with special deals and promotions exclusive to their circle.
For businesses, there will also be a button that can be implemented on websites that will take users to your Google + page. A further development involves +1s and ads and allows for improved tracking, according to Google: “Coming soon, we will also make it possible to link your Page to your AdWords campaigns for your site, so that all your +1s — from your Page, your website, ads and search results — will get tallied together and appear as a single total.” Remember when +1 buttons were added to display ads? Now we know why having the button is so important!
Remember WHY This is So Important
Back when Google + was still a baby, brands were originally allowed to use Google +. Then, Google said that brand pages would be separately tested on another beta network. Then, Google took that back and said certain businesses could stay on Google + to test the possibilities while other brands had to hit the road until they were officially available. Then, we saw Ford’s test account (interesting fact: Ford is not in the group of companies that had first dibs on Google + pages) affect rankings (Read more: Google + Makes Brands Even More Relevant); when following Ford’s account and signed into Google +, results related to Ford showed up higher when I typed relevant queries into the search box. When I was signed out, though, these results were drastically different. Back then, we predicted that Google + would forever change relevant searches for users – and we still believe this. The time is upon us to find out for sure.
Search and Google + Pages
Speaking of search being impacted by brands, Google announced that there will be two ways to easily add a brand’s page to your circles straight from search.
- These pages will be included in search results (as Facebook pages currently are; though you can’t like a page straight from the search results).
- Direct Connect, which Google says works in the following way: “Just go to Google and search for [+], followed by the page you’re interested in (like +Angry Birds). We’ll take you to their Google+ page, and if you want, we’ll add them to your circles.”
Here’s Direct Connect In Action
When I hit “enter” after searching [+Toyota] (PS: we love the Marie Curie Google doodle today) here’s where I ended up – right at the Toyota brand page. In our last post, we mentioned how great it would be if Jeep would get on the Google + bandwagon and start holding hangouts. The “rugged” car company better get on this bandwagon sooner rather than later, as Toyota and Ford are now on the social network and seem ready to prove their social savvy. On its page, as you can see, Toyota encourages Google + connections to share experiences with them. They also did a great job making their page aesthetically pleasing, especially with their photos.
So, What Are These Pages Like?
In our last post on this subject, we talked about Google + brand page designs that were creative guesses made by people prompted by Mashable. Here are some examples of the real thing. Let us know how you feel they match up to the hype (on Facebook, Twitter, or Google +).
As you can tell, there’s a check mark at the top of this “Place Page” to indicate that Google has verified the user as the true brand. On the left you can see how many people have +1’d the page, you have the option of sharing the page on your Google +stream. Further, fashonistas everywhere are probably throwing up their fedoras in excitement at the idea of participating in hangouts with H&M designers.
This is the Pepsi profile. You’ll note on the left that the profile shows how many followers the brand has. We look forward to having the opportunity, if Pepsi utilizes Google + to its fullest potential, to hang out with those integrally involved with maintaining the tastes and branding of the Pepsi brand.
While we don’t have access to Google + Pages yet as a company, we will be watching intently (over the next two days) until we can create our EverSpark page and start hanging out with our blog readers and followers. Stay tuned to find out more about our upcoming Google + Page!!
UPDATE 11-8-11: We have created our Google Plus Brand Page! Check us out here!
Local Pages Have a Different Experience
According to Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan, the local business’s experience on Google + is slightly different. Local Pages will have a map of the company’s location, with pertinent information for people looking to locate the business, including address, phone number and hours of operation. However, Google claims, according to Danny, that these have no connection to Google Places (yet –I think they will eventually play into the verification of a Places listing).
What We Think of the Pages, Overall
Overall – I’m not THAT impressed with these pages. With all the hype and excitement generated by these upcoming pages, there isn’t anything particularly notable about them. There isn’t anything all that different about the brand pages that makes them pop, or that makes them anymore alluring than a Facebook page. However, I do believe that hangouts will revolutionize the way brands interact with their target audiences.
When it comes to administrative issues, the fact that only one person has the ability to be the admin on your business’s page (so you better choose wisely) is a negative – but Google promises changes in this area in the near future. Also, as Danny Sullivan notes, you CAN change the name of your page whenever you want (unlike with Facebook- but you do have to restart the verification process in this case), but you CANT change your URL from being a string of numbers into /businessname.
Update 11-8-11: Also, with regard to functionality, a page really can’t interact with people, i.e. personal profiles, unless those particular people have put the page in their circles first. This places a bit of a roadblock in the way of true interaction, as you can only reach out to customers who know to put your page in their circles. Overall, I’d say Google needs to fix the Pages and Profiles interaction issue..and they need to do so soon!
Google does note that this is just the beginning, and that brand pages will continue to evolve. We’ll stay tuned and hope for something more impressive as these pages evolve!
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