Stop Being Confused by Google Plus, Google Local & YouTube
We all know that Google is – or maybe- has already taken over the online world. The Google Empire is not just the search engine we all use on a daily basis, but various web properties such a YouTube, Picasa, Android, FeedBurner and more, that Google owns (see the full list of mergers and acquisitions by Google).
There are speculations as to whether Google favours their own sites, but it’s safe to say from an SEO perspective that we urge anyone who is trying to get ahead to join the Google family and embrace it. We always recommend setting up a My Business account for a Google Local & Plus Page, as well as a YouTube account if you have video tutorials associated with your business.
The benefits of having a Google Local listing means you can really standout in the local rankings on the search result pages. Now if that all sounds like mumbo jumbo to you, don’t fret because we have put together the ultimate beginner’s guide to understanding the Google social networking sites. We have even chucked in some easy optimisation techniques which you can start implementing today!
What is a Google Local Listing?
A Google Local listing (formerly called Google Places) puts your business info on Google Search, Google Maps and on Google+ so that your customers can easily find you.
Your local listing is attached to your physical business or store address. It’s important to note that you cannot list a PO Box address, it must be an actual street address.
To sign up for a Google Local listing you must create a Google My Business account, the process of setting up your listing and verification takes about 2 weeks. Once listed, Google will then send a postcard to your physical address with a verification code which you will then need to input into your My Business account to confirm the listing.
Once your Local listing is created, Google will automatically generate you a Google Plus account. I like to think of the Google Local & Google Plus page as 2-sides of a playing card. On the front you have the local listing and on the back the Plus page, they are essentially one and share the same information. You cannot have a Local listing without a Google+ page but you can have a Google+ page without a local listing, find out more about this in the next section.
5 Quick Tips for Google Local Optimisation:
· Fill in all your details: Within your My Business Account which is the backend for your Local listing, make sure you fill in all details whether they are required or optional. You’ll see a completion bar at the top of the editing page, only stop when this reaches 100%
· Select the right business categories: All local listings are categorised to help users find exactly what they want. Therefore it’s important to choose accurate categories so you’re getting the most qualified leads to your page.
· Write concise, meaningful business introduction: The introduction for your business is extremely important as Google shows this across the web. Google will choose how much to show so it’s important you highlight your point of difference and services clearly and concisely while at the same time trying to entice users to click-through in as few characters as possible.
· Encourage customer reviews: We all know customer reviews can aid users in the buying cycle but the extra benefit for customer reviews on your Google Local page will give you extra real estate on the search result pages. Once you have over 5 reviews you’ll then notice gold stars up against your result in Google. To help customers leave a review on your listing, your White Chalk Road Account Manager can prepare a flyer to pass on to customers which will give them clear instructions on how to leave a review.
· Know the quality guidelines: As long as you stick to the quality guidelines from Google your listing will have the best chance of ROI for the time you have put in. If you explicitly ignore the guidelines and go against Google you may just notice your page removed the very next day.
What is a Google Plus Business Page?
A Google+ page is Google’s version of Facebook, it is a social networking site with that extra layer of sophistication. It is somewhere between the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn.
There are over 540 million active monthly users on Google+ and unlike your Google Local listing, you don’t need a physical postal address. You can sign up as an individual (Google+ profile) or as a brand (Google+ business page). If you do sign up as a brand you can verify that you own a specific website using Google Webmaster Tools for verification.
When you create a Google+ business page and actively use it, on the search result pages you’ll sometimes notice there can be a link to your Google+ page. Alongside this, if users follow your page, your Google+ posts are more likely to show up on page 1 of Google if the users search term is relevant to your post.
5 Quick tips for Google Plus Optimisation:
· Claim your custom URL: This will give you a clean, customised URL which will aid users searching for you and it looks a lot more professional. Unfortunately you can’t choose exactly what you want, this will be populated off your business name and location if available.
· Complete all the sections: As with the Local listing, you want to complete all the sections to help optimise for search, plus it also helps reinforce the branding of your company
· A catchy tagline: There are rumours that Google sometimes uses your tagline in the search results so it’s important to make this clear, concise (under 160 characters ideally) and include keywords naturally.
· Link to your website and other social channels: The more information you can give within the links section on your Google+ page the better. Link to other social channels, important pages on your website or offsite media on your business. Also if you have a personal profile, include the links on there as well, it is often an overlooked opportunity to promote your business.
· Cross promote: Don’t be afraid to use both your personal profile and business page to amplify your industry content. By doing this you can easily leverage your personal audience and possibly see higher engagement rates. The more +1’s (the Google+ version of a ‘Facebook like’ or ‘Twitter favourite’) you can get the better, as in the Moz 2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors survey, Google +1’s were shown to be the top social action to possibly correlate with higher rankings.
What is a YouTube Account?
Some of you may be confused as to why YouTube is being covered in this post. As mentioned earlier in this post, it is owned by Google but the reason we particularly wanted to involve the online video channel is because your YouTube account can be linked to your Google+ page or profile.
Like a Google Local listing, when you set up a YouTube account you’ll automatically be generated a Google+ profile which you can choose to use or not.
By connecting your YouTube channel with your Google+ page you will then be able to showcase your YouTube videos on your Google+ page (this will happen automatically which saves your precious time!). Once your channel and page are connected your channel name will then be dictated by your Google+ page name to keep everything on brand.
We won’t delve too far into the ins and outs of YouTube as it is probably the most well-known channel in the Google family however we will say that optimisation of your YouTube channel is a mus. It’ll help your videos be found not only within YouTube, but also on the search result pages and a video result can be very enticing in amongst all the text only results!
5 Quick Tips for YouTube Optimisation:
· Optimise your channel description: This description will appear throughout the site, so it’s very important to capture the attention of the audience whilst explaining who you are and what you offer.
· Use visuals wisely: It’s important to remember your channel icon will be very small across the site so make sure it’s high-resolution and is 800px x 800px. With your channel art, or banner image, keep it simple so it looks great on the desktop, mobile and TV versions of YouTube.
· Add social media links: In the About tab you can add up to 5 custom links. Typically we suggest to add up to 4 social media channels and 1 link through to your website homepage or a VIP page on your website.
· Optimise video titles: Keep titles concise, use relevant keywords towards the beginning of the title, reinforce the respective thumbnail for the video and ALWAYS represent the content accurately.
· Optimise video descriptions: This is a very valuable field of real estate as it helps YouTube’s search algorithm understand what your video is about. Be accurate, concise (1-3 sentences), and include relevant keywords.
There is so much to learn when it comes to both SEO and Google+, Google Local and YouTube which is why at White Chalk Road we like to make your life that little bit easier and help you understand and manage your online presence across all channels. Give us a call today on phone number or speak to your Account Manager for further information.
We would appreciate if you could leave a review on the White Chalk Road Google Local page too!
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White Chalk Road are a specialist Search Marketing Agency based in Perth, with over 20 years’ experience in the industry. As a Google Premier Partner, WCR specialise in SEO, Search Marketing, Advertising & Marketing Automation. WCR help Perth businesses, across both B2B and B2C markets, who need help being found online by their customers.
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