A recent change to the way Google brand search results are displayed appears to be great news for businesses looking to protect their online brand identity, while also being a clever tactic from Google to increase the exposure of Google+.
Since its launch in June last year, Google+ has attracted a lot of scepticism as to whether it can really establish itself amongst the big boys of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook. Google, however, seems determined to see its social media platform succeed, and is trying a number of clever tactics to achieve this.
Being a Senior PPC Analyst at Epiphany, I’m more than aware of the threats brands face against their online brand identities, particularly in the form of competitor brand bidding. A perfect (and interesting!) example of this can be seen within the adult shop market.
As you can see from the screenshot below for a search for the brand Ann Summers, there are a couple of competitors bidding on their brand name, which they are more than entitled to do, offering rival services. A search for both of those rival brands also shows the same competitors bidding on their names too. As a result, a brand is in danger in losing traffic on their own brand identity to rivals.
A change in the way Google+ now shows in brand search results may now change this, and will be something that brands will be undoubtedly eager to jump on board with.
Let’s now compare another screenshot for huge online fashion retailer ASOS. Here, we have no sign of competitor brand bidding activity on its name. Instead, to the right-hand side, you’ll see information about its Google+ page, such as profile thumbnail, number of fans and recent post activity.
I’ve run a number of searches for popular mainstream brands, and in all the instances where the Google+ page has displayed in this way, there is no sign of any other paid search adverts. This leads me to believe that as an incentive for getting on board with Google+, Google is willing to allow a brand to dominate its own search results page.
How do I set this up?
For starters, if you don’t have one already, you need to create a Google+ business page (which you can do here). Once set up, a vital step is that you link your website to your Google+ page and vice versa. This will then verify your website (or brand, more importantly) to that page. For more information on how to do this, follow this link.
The final piece of criteria could prove to be the most challenging for most brands, and is an extremely clever tactic from a Google perspective. Once linked, the Google+ result will only show, providing that Google+ page contains a minimum of two content posts over the previous 72 hours (although I’ve had word from Google that they’d recommend posting at least once a day). Put more simply, if a brand regularly ensures it’s making use of its Google+ page and posting content, then it will get the benefit of monopolising its brand search results. If it stops, then so will the increased exposure.
It’s genius when you think about it. Brands benefit, but more importantly, Google benefits hugely by getting more brands on-board with Google+, which should ensure that subscriber numbers continue to rise over time.
As it stands, it appears that only a number of big brands have got on board with this so far, which is a surprise, but I expect to see this expand massively over the coming months.