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Google+ for BusinessBy Guest Blogger, Jeremy Page

Companies and business entities of all sizes are rushing to set up a presence on G+ (Google Plus), which is the world’s fastest-growing online social network.

And at this point setting up a G+ is not really an option as Google continues to force-feed their services on people as they continue to monopolize the web. Many case studies have shown direct correlation with SERP rankings and G+ presence. In other words, ignore at your own risk.

Luckily, setting up a business G+ page the right way is easy; just follow the steps below:

1. It all starts with a personal profile, which Google requires before a business page can be set up. This is a simple task for small business owners; all it takes is a Gmail address, which is essentially the first step in establishing a Google account that can be later turned into a public profile.

The key to creating a solid G+ profile is to provide full disclosure about the personal information shared therein. For this reason, G+ may seem easier for small business owners who don’t mind sharing some of their personal data with the social network. Here it is important to include all major educational and professional achievement, and adding a tag line such as “Owner of ABC Enterprises” is highly recommended.

At a minimum, business owners or principals must provide their names, gender and date of birth. Uploading a picture is optional at this point. G+ will take a look into the Gmail address book for the purpose of checking for personal contacts. This step can be skipped, but doing so is not recommended. Branded pages on G+ are all about visibility and marketing; to this end, it is important to have contacts to share the news about the new company page.

Also, make sure you link back to your sites that you want to associate your business page with. Google will make this connection, so only link to your official brand url. Additionally, this link can also send targeted traffic to your business as more people become fans of your page. My personal site, Multiple Streams gets daily, targeted traffic sent from our G+ page.

2. Once a personal G+ profile has been created, the option to create a branded page will be visible in the form of a button located on the right side of the profile page. There will be five business categories to choose from; one of the most important to pay attention to is the one for “Local Business or Place.” This effectively replaces the Google Places system of online listings and it is extremely important for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) purposes. The brick-and-mortar or physical street address for mapping and shipping, as well as the local telephone number. Remember, even if you are a brick-and-mortar business, make sure your website is optimized to take payments so you aren’t leaving money on the table.

Yes, many people will still call your business, but as the world turns more web-centric, it would be wise to get your traditional business up to par with a website that can process sales.

3. The next step is personalization. Upload a good picture for the G+ page; this will ideally be a snappy logo measuring 200 x 200 pixels, but brick-and-mortar businesses such as pizza shops may include a photo of the premises. The business tag line should be 10 words or less, and it should include one or two keywords to help with SEO. The final personalization step is the Photostrip, which consists of five pictures that define the business.

4. Editing the G+ page by adding requested information comes next. Website addresses and other social networks can be mentioned on the “Recommended Links” section. G+ creates default circles for customers, employees and VIPs, but more can be added. What is important at this stage is to post a company update to personal contacts notifying them of the new G+ page.

Note: Google actually puts out a decent PDF guide that steps you through the process with more detail.

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