Google+ Facebook-Style Business Pages Launched and Already Showing in Search Results
Google+ launched Google+ Pages for use by businesses and organizations on Nov. 7th. Selected Google+ Pages have already been spotted in search results and Google have announced partnerships with six companies to create page management tools. The companies are: Buddy Media, Context Optional, Hearsay Social, Hoot Suite, Involver and Virtue.
When you are setting up a Google+ Page for your business one of the options you will be offered is: ‘Local Business or Place’. This gives you the option to include contact information not available in the other categories. Just in case you are wondering if Google+ can take the place of a Google Places entry or vice-versa, the answer is no. They must be managed separately. Google told Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land:
Currently, Place pages and Google+ Pages must be managed separately. A Place page provides information about a business and makes it easy for customers to find local businesses on Google Maps and local search; while a Google+ page provides business owners with additional ways to engage, build relationships and interact directly with customers.
Last Week Google+ Recorded its Third Best Week Since Launch
Not on the face of it amazing, except that the previous two best weeks were over a month ago amid the hype of Google+ going public. It has been pretty much downhill since then. Last weeks improvement is most likely due to the introduction of Pages and the announcement of upcoming enhancements. The research comes from Experian Hitwise who say:
Last week Google+ recorded its 3rd largest week in terms of total US visits for the week ending Nov. 12, 2011 receiving more than 6.8 million total US visits. The growth represents a 5% increase versus the previous week and a 25% increase compared to a month ago.
Google Search On the Rise Again
According to research by ComScore Google’s share of search is rising again meaning that Bing are no longer making inroads in spite of Microsoft’s huge investment.
Google’s share has been rising since August while the combined Yahoo!/Bing share has been falling. If this continues Google will reach the 66% it had last year next month and Yahoo!/Bing will struggle to be above 30%. Bing cost Microsoft $5 billion last year. As business insider puts it:
That kind of expenditure looked bad enough when Microsoft was only eking out a few tenths of a percentage point in gains every month. Now that it’s starting to decline, it looks even sillier.
Many are commenting on the need for real competition for Google. The weak competition Bing is providing is, in some ways, perfect for Google. For the user, much stronger competition is highly desirable. Of course it is up to Bing to really give us something to inspire us to move.