5 Things Retailers Should Know About Google+

Mastering Google’s “social layer” can increase your searchability

I recently interviewed Mark Traphagen, a Google+ expert and marketing expert, for a JCK column that explained why it’s important for retailers to interact with Google’s misunderstood social network. 

Traphagen is one of the most astute social media experts I’ve ever interviewed, and I ended up transcribing six pages of valuable facts and tips from our interview—which I had to condense into 500-ish words for the print column. 

Needless to say, the final column only told a portion of the story of why and how Google+ is an entity retailers can’t afford to ignore. Here are five more fascinating tips and factoids from Traphagen on Google and Google+:

Why Google+ Was Built

“The intention of Google+ was to build a platform where you would incentivize people to create Google accounts for the first time, then integrate that information into almost everything that Google does. Google+ is now integrated into Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, and everything they own and do. Google’s premier product is search—it’s their biggest revenue generator. So what they’re looking for is data—they are constantly hunting for it. Figuring out what people are doing on the web and what they respond to is their main mission.” 

Google+ Local: The New Yellow Pages

“Any business or brand can have a Google+ page, but if you’re a brick-and-mortar store, you can have a Google Plus Local page—which makes you more searchable in the context of people looking for businesses in their own area. Also in the Google My Business platform, you can connect your local page with your brand page. They will both exist but if you do that, there’s now a connection between them—they’re linked. And that verifies to Google that you’re legit. If you make all the connections and do all the verifications for your Google+ pages, it makes Google feel more secure about you. They don’t want to be showing results for businesses that don’t exist. A lot of what happens in Google is based on trust and confidence.”

Get Active on Google+

“There are benefits to be reaped by being active on Google+. One is that if you are active, they can start to show your business in a Knowledge Panel result. If people search your brand name, what happens is if you have a verified Google+ page and you’re active on it, they will show a box in the right-hand panel of the screen about your business—instead of showing ads from competitors. The box is very nice, has your logo and brand name, and a link to your site. It’s a reward for being active on Google+.”

Keeping Users Plugged In

“Once you’re signed into Google, most people don’t sign out. I don’t want to be creepy about that, but their data trackers can say there’s an individual user who clicks on this, then goes to three other websites. That info is very revealing to them. Google has the largest ad network online. Now if you’re signed into Google they can do all kinds of things—serve you more relevant, targeted ads. Often now it’s the product you were looking at the day before. ‘Retargeting’ is what that’s called, and it’s been a very successful strategy for them. So the grand design of Google+ is to get information. It doesn’t have the numbers Facebook has, but it’s a success in that way.”

Mind the NAP

“NAP stands for ‘name, address, phone number.’ You want to make sure all directories online, including your Google+ pages, have the same NAP info for your business. Google looks at that. If they are seeing two or three directories that have you at different phone numbers, they will change one of them, or will ditch one of them. Again, it’s that factor of Google having confidence in you.”

JCK Magazine Editor