Last week on March 6th Google added new features to its social site that caused a lot of stir in the continuous Facebook vs. Google+ showdown. While the notification and buzz around these changes are important, there are only three major things that will make a big difference in the way the system currently operates. Here we will tackle what the changes are, and how they will affect your business.
- Cover Photo – This is the easiest change to spot, and oddly enough, the most griped about (slight) alteration. Cover Photos have now almost doubled in size and require dimensions up to 2120px by 1192px.
What this means: more options for you! Instead of the banner-style limitations from before, more variety in images can be utilized showing off locations, products, or anything your imagination can create.
- About Tab – The “about you” within Google+ profiles now includes separate boxes for different information that you want to share. For instance, Story, Places and Links all have their own boxes with their own edit fields.
What this means: You have the option to share only specific boxes to certain people in your circles, or have the information be private only to you.
- Banner Info – On your cover photo, in the bottom of your image you will now see company logos cropped to fit in circles. Business information such as the name and contact information is also presented right on the cover photo.
What this means– now current and potential customers don’t have to hunt for the information they immediately need. Also, address, phone numbers, and business hours are displayed in a no-nonsense fashion.
- Reviews Tab – In my opinion, this is the most important and drastic change Google+ made to its network. On the personal profile side of things, you now have the option to display your personal reviews written about the businesses you have visited for all your friends to see. For business pages, owners now have the option to remove the reviews tab completely off their listing.
What this means: Personal review highlighting will continue to encourage more of a community, not only among online friends but with the physical community right outside our doorsteps. For businesses this is a HUGE change, and here’s why: If you happen to be a business with a terrible online reputation and several bad reviews, you can chose to eliminate your reputation entirely thus saving yourself from turned off potentials. To Note– This does not necessarily mean that the ranking factors for local search have been altered. The number of reviews you have is still very important. We will conduct testing in the future to see if hiding your Google reviews could prove harmful to your position in the search engine results.
Stay tuned! More Google+ changes will undoubtedly continue to occur, and we will see how they affect your internet marketing efforts. To see the initial Google post about the changes, check out Sara McKinley’s Google Plus page here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SaraMcKinley/posts/JCvsy7x7iQs