I really didn't expect my review of Google+ to take all five days this week. This will be my last interstitial Daily Golden Nugget (for at least a few days).
Yesterday I started a list of features I foresee being integrated into Google Plus. Google's public company status prevents them from publicly announcing what they are working. The GOOG stock is actually doing very well since the launch of Google+.
Yesterday they reported their quarterly earnings were up and they've officially reached 10 million Google Plus users. I read a report on SearchEngineLand.com explaining how many people have not accepted invitations sent to them. Those of us that have are starting to realize the more compelling nature of Google Plus over Facebook.
When using Facebook, I usually keep a browser tab open. I occasionally look at that tab just to check if I have messages. But I don't usually feel compelled to stop what I'm doing and click back on the browser tab. Some days I look at Facebook once, some days as many as 30 times just to skim the news feed.
On the other hand, I work in different Google properties all day long. The new black and red Google user design now includes your name in the top left corner. Naturally mine says "Matthew," but it doesn't only say my name. It says "+Matthew" right next to the link for "Web."
There's something magically compelling about seeing my name up there as I move my mouse to click the Web link. Instead of clicking Web, I click my name instead and there goes another few minutes of my time reading top posts in my G+ Stream.
Clearly, this is a psychologically designed user interface. This morning I discovered a very long thread on G+ with more than 100 people explaining the exact same situation. When Plus opens to the public, I think we're going to see a huge influx of seemingly hypnotized users with many pundants claiming employees are now wasting time at work.
The reason for my psychobabble tangent was to illustrate how important Google Plus could become for your business. You can be the jewelry expert to your customers and at the same time have a business profile for direct advertising.
I want to detail how I foresee your Google Places account being integrated into Google+. You should use this as a blueprint for advancing your Google business listing today. Even if I'm wrong about the G+ integrations, all the suggestions below will still help you in the SERPs.
Here are the clues I see so far throughout Google...
Using the Android App you can "check-in" to a local store that's listed in Google Places. Google's invested tons of money into development of Places, HotPot, Reviews, and Offers. You can bet that they will pull all those together into a unified Google+ Place Profile. I will go out on a limb and say it's going to be a huge game changer for businesses.
Since 2009 I've spent the better part of my consulting time trying to explain how important it was for retail jewelry stores to get involved with various Google properties (e.g. features). If I'm reading the hints correctly (like reading tea leaves at the bottom of my cup) it looks like they will give us the ability to merge YouTube, Places, Reviews, Picasa, Calendar, Analytics, and even Merchant Center together.
YouTube and Picasa are already directly connected into G+. Now when you snap pics of that newly arrived inventory (using your phone) they are automatically uploaded to Plus. Later in the day you can organize and share them to your Circles.
Online reviews from non-Google review sites are currently pulled into your Places account more than Google reviews. A few months ago I attended a seminar at the NYC Google office where it was explained how they sourced various reviews to create "Frankenreviews" inside Places. Google has been accused of allowing review spam to ruin the quality of online reviews. I see this all the time. I also predict that in a few short weeks they will mandate all reviews to be attached to a Google+ profile, thereby zapping the spam problem almost overnight.
I've never liked the statistics Facebook gives us for Business Page tracking. It has value, but even though they've tried to make it better it just falls short for what I see is important for retail jewelers.
One of the Google+ engineers mentioned this week that they are working hard to integrate your Analytics account into Plus. Have you ever looked at the analytics data built into the current Google Places? That's pretty neat stuff that we should see expand greatly.
Lastly, I want to mention Google Merchant Center. Sadly, this fantastic feature is greatly underused by the jewelry industry. All of the big jewelry websites use it. I've also found many jewelers attempting to sell nationally that also use it.
Merchant Center is how Overstock.com manages to have those SERP "Shopping results" with photos when you search for "tacori ring."
One of the big battles for Facebook was allowing an integration of product catalogs on their Business Pages. Since Google already has the technology I am predicting that they will get Merchant Center integrated before the 2011 holiday season. Google makes a lot of money during the holidays, so they will either give you the feature directly, or give people like me the ability to program one.
I strongly urge you to take some time over this coming weekend and poke around those 7 Google properties I just mentioned. Please realize that Google designs most of their stuff for busy people like you who can't afford the time to learn technical things. Most of this is easy even for the computer neophyte, just be patient with yourself as you read through the initial directions... then just play with it.
Oh, one final thought. Right now Google+ is clean and devoid of advertising. I expect AdWords to show up shortly before or after the public launch since that is how Google makes money.
Thanks for reading,
Jeweler Website Advisory Group