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Equipping Your Business With Google+

Written by Jeremy Jensen

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Google+ Benefits For Your Business
I may be the first blogger to admit it, but I didn’t use Google+ very frequently as my preferred Social Media outlet. Having Facebook, Twitter, and several other mediums for connection felt like enough, right? But when you consider Google+ has only been around for three years, 1 Billion enabled accounts is quite the accomplishment.

Like any new and similar service, people are slow to adopt something they already have. What everyone has been missing, including myself, is the unique and powerful features Google+ possesses that many other networks cannot compare with.

Even if you’re not on Google+ socially, your business will greatly benefit from all the integral features Google+ provides. Here’s a few reasons to ignite your interest:

 

Virtually Everyone Uses Google’s Products

Whether it’s Gmail, Maps, Play, Drive, YouTube or just an old fashioned web search, we’re all on Google to one degree or another. Having one account makes it possible to utilize all these amazing services, and before you know it Google+ may just become as popular as Facebook.

As of 2014 Google+ boasted 359 million active users, a number that has increased at a rate of 33% annually.

What’s more, is that everything you post integrates with every other Google platform under one identity. For example, if you post a video to YouTube (The 2nd Largest search engine in the world) users will be able to click on your profile taking them directly to your G+ account. Here, many marketing wizards have begun creating engaging/brand oriented videos that make it incredibly easy to steer potential customers back to a page equipped with all of your contact info and a link to your website.

Having someone add your business page to their circles will begin to optimize your Google+ page, thus increasing your visibility performed for local searches.

 

Deeper Brand Engagement With Google+ Hangouts and Communities

One of the best techniques for securing loyal customers involves getting to know them on a personal level. In Hangouts your business can get in touch with anyone in the world by hosting a meeting using video chat. Most commonly, pioneers of the customer/business relationship have hosted live video conferences to allow customers to contribute feedback and work towards providing a better service in the future.

Using Google+ communities is also a great way to stimulate conversations over shared interests associated with your brand or service. Personally, I actively engage with my followers who are interested in learning photography techniques, and simultaneously receive feedback on more of what they’d like to see. Giving your time to a customer extends a bond that will help when they choose to recommend a service to a friend.

 

We Are Talking About Google Here, After All

Google isn’t just a search engine anymore, it’s practically a way of life. We’re communicating, sharing and building businesses through it’s services, most of which are offered to us free of charge. But because they’re still a business, it’s easy to see why they provide incentives for partaking in a their social medium instead of others.

These incentives only serve to help your business, and you’d be extremely wise to start taking advantage of them.

 

Image Source: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-EDln3g_Fzyg/T5XrXBhRE-I/AAAAAAAAFnI/w10FfYL7Qnc/s1600/Google-+-your-Business.png

Your Business To The Power Of Google

Written by Michael Dickens II

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Google Apps Work HostGator

What do you do when one of the world’s most innovative companies of all time reaches out to you and your business and says, “We want to help?” Here’s a hint: take their hand and say “thank you” without any hesitation. Some things just make sense… and sometimes saying “no” makes no sense at all.

Cue, the mighty Google. What can be said about the company whose name has not only become synonymous with Internet searches but has actually become a verb; an honor reserved for only the most creative and unique individuals and entities in existence. Google has long been a standout for more than what they bring to the table; who they invite to the table with them is of equal importance. And, this time, they are inviting you.

Google Apps is a suite of tools, most of which you’re likely already familiar with (Gmail, anyone?) that are designed to streamline your business. HostGator now uses Google Apps internally for our email, document sharing, video conferencing, calendars, and so forth. Google Apps has literally changed the way we function, day to day.

Here is a brief snapshot of the things Google wants to do for you, aside from provide you with an excellent suite of fully useable tools:

  • Help ensure your business is HIPPA, PCI, SOX compliant
  • Provide you with their SLA for your internal AND external mail
  • Reduce your required IT costs
  • Improve your communications with conference functions
  • Establish a secure backbone for your internal and external interfacing
  • Maximize your project management efficiency with synced calendars
  • Bolster your branding and SEO efforts
  • Facilitate editing in multiple document formats without purchase of a license

 

This is a very big deal. In short, these benefits are amazing. Whether for your independent consultancy, your medium sized growing business or if your company has recently gone public, Google Apps for your business is possibly the best and arguably the most important move you can make. The biggest benefit of all? Making your life more simple. Now HostGator can help as well. Not only are we customers of Google ourselves, but we’ve now partnered with Google to offer Google Apps for business directly to you.

To learn more about our Google Apps offerings, including full details and how to order, please see our related KnowledgeBase article: http://support.hostgator.com/articles/articles/hosting-guide/lets-get-started/google-apps.

 

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Google Authorship Dead In 2014?

Written by Kyler Patterson

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

authorship-featured
If you’ve searched for anything on Google in the last month or so (who hasn’t?), you may have noticed slight changes in the results. First, the author pictures next to the results conspicuously disappeared. Then, videos started to vanish for most results (except those of YouTube and other sources where video is a primary source of content). Now, author names have disappeared. According to John Mueller from Google’s Webmaster Analytics team, Authorship has indeed been removed from your search results.

Is Google Authorship Dead

A few months ago, the same search would have displayed the associated Google+ profile picture and related information, as shown in the image below from our prior Authorship blog post:

What Authorship Looked Like

 

Now the posts are stripped down to provide you the content that you’re looking for without the fluff.

 

Why Was Authorship Removed?

If you ever set up authorship, then you know it was not the easiest process to start with. There were several steps involved, including an update your site’s code to add the markup. If you were using a CMS like WordPress, the markup wasn’t too hard, but HTML sites were a little harder to modify. Since the entire ordeal wasn’t an easy 1-2 step process, it had a low adoption rate.

As stated in Mueller’s post, and speculated by many, Authorship simply did not have any direct impact to an increase in clicks or rankings. A direct quote from the post:

“If you’re curious — in our tests, removing authorship generally does not seem to reduce traffic to sites. Nor does it increase clicks on ads. We make these kinds of changes to improve our users’ experience.”
 

Is Authorship Completely Dead?

From search results, it appears to be mostly (though not entirely) gone. As explained by Mueller, search queries will still show relevant posts from your Google+ connections with their information. So if you were connected with an author and searched for information pertaining to them, then you may see something like this:

The Google Authorship Update

Keep in mind, the rel=author markup didn’t just affect search; social media displays this information as well. With Pinterest, you can stand out with rich pins. As you see in the picture below, you will still see the author markup:

Pinterest-Tips-Tricks

 
You can also see it on Twitter with Twitter cards as shown below. If you’re able to edit the author Twitter handle, you’ll also get another spot in the author section.

 

Conclusion

Although authorship has been mostly removed from Google search, it still does serve a purpose and cannot be entirely considered dead.. perhaps undead… zombie(?). You don’t necessarily need to go through the process adding the authorship through Google+ to include the rel=author tag, but who wouldn’t want a good branded back link on a Google product?

What do you think? Is authorship just dead and should never be touched again or will you still be including it on your blog? Let us know in the comments!

Google+ Moves Forward

Written by Brandi Bennett

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Most businesses opt to use Twitter or Facebook as a means of communicating with their customers, or their potential customers; though there are those that are willing to utilize G+, they often do so as an afterthought, making it a nice place for many of us to hang out who don’t like dealing with advertisements in our news, information, and social escapades. Still, with Facebook starting to trail behind the others, as it increases the amount of advertisements and decreases in popularity, many users are starting to turn to G+ as the next big platform.

Google Plus

 

What Does This Mean For Businesses?

You may want to get on board with G+, and Google’s making that easier than ever for you to do now. All e-commerce business owners use some form of analytics in order to determine the best moves for their business, allowing them to find out where they want to take things from here, so to speak.

While this has been somewhat possible through social media as well, many business owners find that they don’t want to pay the additional fees needed in order to access this information, leaving them questioning as to whether or not they are doing things right on the social media platforms. Well, no more!

G+ now offers businesses the ability to access all of the analytic information that they need in order to determine the best methods of connecting with customers, identifying what is working and what is not, and, perhaps more importantly, works to increase the amount of control that small businesses have over their promotional activities. Offered as a part of the service now known as “Google My Business,” small business owners are able to manage many aspects of their online presence, including search results, maps, directions, reviews, and the analytical data offered to them through the use of G+.

 

Time To Make A Change?

Google’s always worked to try to provide users with all of the information that they could ever possibly need or want (and then some), but now it appears as though they are working to take care of not just individuals but businesses as well. With all this available readily at your fingertips, perhaps it’s time for you too to consider making a change; if not permanently, at least working to include G+ in your retinue of tools.