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Untangling Google+, Google Profile, And Google Authorship – Part 1

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Google Plus may be one of the fastest growing social networks ever but it hasn’t been without its problems. One of the biggest complaints leveled at it, certainly from a business perspective, is that it’s quite difficult to get to grips with. It’s surprising because Google Plus actually has quite a lot in common with Facebook – you can have a personal profile, just as you can a personal Facebook account. And you can have a Google Plus business page, just as you can have a Facebook page. There’s also the +1 button which performs much the same function as the Facebook like icon.

Perhaps what muddies the water with Google Plus is that it throws a lot of other elements into the mix which you wouldn’t consider with Facebook or similar networks. Google local listings can now be coupled with Plus for example, it’s a lot harder to tell the difference between a profile page and a business page on Plus, there’s a whole network of verification requirements and then Google threw Google Authorship into the mix too. Authorship is desirable for businesses mindful of creating valuable content but only permitted though a personal profile and not a business page.

So just how do all of these wrinkles iron out? What is a page and how does it differ to a profile? Which do you need and when?

A Page Is For an Entity, Not a Person

Just like a Facebook page, a Google Plus page is created for businesses and brands. So, if you’re the CEO of a local florist, you can create a page about your floristry business and use this space to promote your special offers, add useful information about caring for your flowers and engage with fans.

As a person, you can create a profile page for yourself, share your hobbies and interests, where you work and interact with friends. You shouldn’t use this profile page to create your business presence, just as you wouldn’t set up a personal profile page on Facebook and use that as your business page.

A Profile Doesn’t Have +1

Google has paid a lot of lip service to the power of Google Plus since its launch, beginning with the power of the Google Plus +1 button. At the time of its unveiling, Google promised brands able to gather large amounts of +1s that its popularity would be reflected in its search engine rankings. In order to get a +1 button, you’ll need to have a page rather than a profile set up. Individuals don’t need better search engine rankings personally or the Google equivalent of Facebook page likes, so the +1 code can only be linked with a page.

But A Page Can’t +1

Pages can’t express their appreciation of other pages with a +1 – this privilege is reserved solely for Google profile holders.

A Profile is for Authorship; a Page is Not

Google’s recently introduced Google Authorship is a great way to establish yourself as a thought leader, a credible expert in your field and someone with your finger on the pulse when it comes to your specialty. Google Authorship highlights great content in the search engine results pages with an image and a rich text snippet. All very desirable traits for any business wanting to increase its Google visibility and win new clients. Unfortunately, Authorship can only be used in conjunction with a profile and not a business page.

Image: Confused Man via Shutterstock

About the Author

Rebecca is the managing director of search engine optimization agency Dakota Digital a full-service agency offering SEO, online PR, web copywriting, media relationship management, and social media strategy. Rebecca works directly with each client to increase online visibility, brand profile, and search engine rankings. She has headed a number of international campaigns for large brands.

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