Google+ is growing! If the number of serious questions we are getting about the long-term impact of choices users making now is any indication, there is a huge movement afoot and people are settling in for the long haul. Kind of exciting to see this movement.
So we find ourselves answering a few questions over and over. So, I will be gathering questions we get each day and compiling them into blog posts to help new users navigate the new social waters of Google+ with ease.
Today there are two I want to address.
1) "ACK! My home address is showing on my business page! Make it stop!"
Most photographers set up local business pages on Google+. There are some great reasons for doing this. They are integrated in Google maps. They get a nifty little pin when people search any Google Map in their area. This also is pretty important for Google's growing interest in "Semantic Search." What is semantic search? Google is moving towards evolving their search engines from answering short queries to being abe to decipher longer, speech-like questions. With the advent or SIRI and other devices that search Google via your natural questions, Google is trying to nimbly adapt. So the more Google knows about you and your business, the more comfortable it is to use it as an answer to people's queries. So, "Who is the best children's portrait photographer by me?" will use your Google+ profile, looking at how many people have +1ed you and are following you and like your images, the fact you say you are a children's photographer and have hashtagged yourself as such on Google+ and tagged your blog posts, which are linked to your G+ site, and finally, it will use your local information and compare it to the searchers' IP address location and BAM, there you are as Google's top pick.
OK, so those are some of the reasons that people choose to have their service area available to Google. But some people do not want their entire home address shown, if they work from home. According to Google, you will need to go into your listing editor, beneath your address information in your page dashboard and check the box that says "My business has service areas where I visit customers at their locations." This will allow you to put in your city, state and zip code so that you can still be located locally. Do not check the box that you serve customers at your location if you do not want your address to be displayed.
2) "Should I be using my business page or my personal page on Google+?"
Obviously having a strong brand page that represents your brand and shows your work and answers questions and networks with people is wonderful. But you can also be a point of contact for clients in a personal way too. It is easier for people to befriend and understand a person sometimes vs. a logo. At Pure, we try to be very friendly and sociable on our page, but we are even more personal and human on our personal pages. The beauty of circles is that I can keep aspects of my life separate. I can put my friends in the friend circles, my family in my family circle, and people I am following into a following circle. For people who are following me, I can post publicly. Then all my circles and followers (those who follow me, but are not circled) can see my content. If I want to share a cute image of my baby, or share an interesting blog post I read I can post publicly and everyone can see. If I don't want people I am not following to see, I can post to JUST my circles. If I want JUST my friends and family to see, I can close it up even tighter. If I am posting about the annual family picnic location, I can JUST share to my family circle. And if I am JUST posting a little love note to my husband, I can share it with JUST him. Easy peasy to do right in the composition box.
Keeping business a little personal helps to build trust and relationships. But posting socially also provides a cushier landing place for clients as they investigate Google+ to meet their social needs. So, putting yourself out there a little and being friendly on your personal page is important.
Another thing to note: Google Authorship is tired to your personal page and Google Publisher is tied to your Business page. I will go more deeply into these, but they can augment your perceived trustworthiness and authority in Google search as Google will give you a little byline and image alongside some search content from you if Google feels you pass muster. So clearly, Google is giving signals that they think you should have both pages.