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Google+, YouTube, and Your Website: Establishing the SEO Trifecta

Establishing a Google + Page and linking it to your website should be an important part of every company’s digital promotion strategy, because it creates significant benefits in search engine optimization (for a detailed discussion on how this works, review an earlier Learning Center podcast/article). Further, your Google+ Page should be linked to your YouTube channel, if you have one – YouTube is actually part of Google, so those two social media complement each other in a uniquely direct way, thus further amplifying the SEO benefits.

The concept is simple enough – but the implementation can be challenging. Virtually every business we’ve worked with on this has encountered significant difficulties in getting the website-G+-YouTube trifecta set up optimally. Here are a few of the issues we’ve encountered, and some possible solutions.

Common G+ implementation problems

Getting your company’s G+ Business Page set up is ordinarily pretty easy – our earlier podcast walks you through how to do that. Most businesses with a physical location will already be visible in Google+, even if they have not claimed, or “verified,” that presence – it’s how Google Maps is able to function, for example. So first, check to see if your business is present, and if so, whether it’s verified. When a page is “verified,” it means that someone from the business has verified with Google that the information is correct. You can see whether a business is verified on G+ by looking for a little checkmark in a shield, located near the Page’s profile photo. If your business is not present, add it and verify from there — if it is present but not verified, go ahead with the verification procedure, which can happen via postcard or even by phone. Then, proceed to connect the Page to your YouTube, if you have it, and your website as described below.

But sometimes, people discover that there’s already a verified Google+ Page for their business, but are unable to access it. This frustrating problem is more common than you might think – G+ for business rolled out to a lot of fanfare in 2011, and a lot of people signed up their businesses without doing much with the Page afterward (think about it: do you have a personal MySpace, Ello, Tsu or other dormant social media account? It’s not hard to see how this information can get lost or forgotten).

Sometimes, even a long-ago employee or intern established and verified the page using their own Google account and failed to pass along the login information before departing the company. Unfortunately, Google does not make it possible to see who verified the Page.

Here’s how to begin unraveling the mystery, if there is a verified G+ Page for your business but you can’t seem to log in:

  • Determine whether you’re an admin on the Page. Establishing a business G+ Page is done from a Google account, often Gmail. It’s possible that your business G+ Page was established by you, using an alternate Gmail address than what you normally use. So first, determine if you have more than one Gmail account (many people do) and log in to each of them. If you are an administrator on your business G+ Page, you’ll be able to toggle between your personal page and the business page by clicking on your profile photo in the upper right corner – if your business page is connected, it’ll appear in a drop-down nav bar. Don’t be surprised to discover you verified the G+ Page but don’t remember doing it – the process is so simple that it’s forgettable.
  • Poll your current employees and see if any of them verified your business G+ Page. Ask them to log into their Gmail or other Google accounts to check. If you find the correct person, ask them to invite you to become a Page Manager – pages can have up to 50 managers. The person who verified the page automatically becomes its owner, so if appropriate, you can also ask them to transfer ownership to you.

If it’s still unclear who established the Page, your task is a little more difficult. Almost always, we recommend avoiding contacting the support departments for any form of social media, simply because they deal with so many requests that it can take a long time for anyone to get back to you. But this is a case where you really don’t have much choice. Through an automated process, Google will contact the page owner and ask them to get in touch with you, which should work if the person who established the page uses his/her Gmail and is willing to go to the trouble. If you don’t hear back in a week, you’re directed to contact Google directly. Directions for this process can be found under “can’t contact the current page owner,” here.

Finally, we strongly recommend implementing a secure password storage solution – this allows you safe, secure storage of logins and passwords for all your online accounts, including social media, vendors, web and domain hosting, e-newsletter, and so on. For social media in particular, we recommend that the business owner should always be an administrator on each account in the event that an employee resigns or is terminated. Our article Password Please has more on available password storage solutions (some of which are free), and more suggestions on how to avoid this kind of problem in the future.

Connecting YouTube to G+

If you have already established a YouTube account, you should link it to your G+ Page – doing so amplifies the SEO benefits. To get started, log into your YouTube channel, and go to “advanced account settings” and follow the instructions provided by YouTube, here. It may take a little while to show up, but once this is done correctly, “YouTube” will appear as an option in your G+ Page nav bar, just under your cover photo.

If you don’t have a YouTube for your business and would like one, you’ll need to create a new channel. Instructions on how to do this can be found here.

Connecting G+ to your business website

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To unlock the SEO benefits of G+, Google must recognize that your G+ Page (and YouTube, if applicable) are in fact associated with your company. Here’s how to accomplish this:

  • Include a G+ button among your social sharing buttons. Most websites have buttons linking to the company’s social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or Pinterest. Add a G+ button to that — this will also help you gain followers.
  • Add Google Publisher markup to your website’s coding. The following should be added between the HEAD tags in your website’s header: <link href=”https://plus.google.com/{plusPageUrl}” rel=”publisher” />
  • Finally, it’s a good idea to make sure you place your website’s URL on your G+ Page as well. The “About” section in your G+ page features a place to list contact information, including your URL.

Google conveniently provides a Structured Data Testing Tool so that you can ensure this is set up correctly. You simply enter your website’s URL and hit enter – and watch for a green checkmark with the phrase “all good” in the next window. If you see that, you’re set to go. If not, you may need to enlist the help of your web developer to take advantage of these SEO benefits.

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