If you’ve grown accustom to adding a plus sign ( “+” ) in front of words or quote-delimited phrases in your Google searches, things have changed and Google Plus is to be blamed.
In late October this year, attempts to use a plus sign in searches resulted in seeing a message instructing you to stop doing that and instead place quotes around words and phrases to be searched for literally (exactly as-is and required).
At first this change seemed confusing since it contradicted 15 years of how we have been trained to use search with all search engines, not just Google. Some assumed it had to do with searches referencing the new Google+ property.
Now that Google+ is supporting business profile pages, they have revealed the logic behind this change. When you search Google preceding a search term with a plus sign, Google is going to assume you want to be taken to the Google+ page for that person or brand. For instance, when someone searches for [+pepsi] (without the brackets, of course), Google will skip right past displaying search results and take them directly to Pepsi’s Google+ profile. They call this, “Google+ Direct Connect.”
As a Google+ page owner, there are some things you need to do to take advantage of this. Additionally, you need to do some things to connect your web site with your G+ page and vice versa.
To help Google associate this content, be sure to connect your Google+ page and your website using the Google+ badge, or by adding a snippet of code to your site, in addition to adding your website link to your page.
– Google Help
So here’s what needs to be done:
- Create a Google Account
- Create your personal Google+ page
- Create a business page (you can create several)If your business can benefit from displaying a map to your location and hours of operation, select the “Local Business” type.
- In your business profile description, include a link to a main page on your site (ensure you use the properly formatted canonical URL).
- Create a link from your site (preferably from the same page referred to in #4 here). Google provides a site badge you can use to create an attractive link from your site to your Google+ business page.
- Edit your page source code to include a
rel="publisher"reference link to your Google+ business page in the
So now you have reciprocal links between your Google+ page and your web site. This, as Google says, will encourage Google to better understand how and when to refer searchers to your web site and Google page. Many businesses will not be doing this. So this too will give you another advantage towards greater online visibility.
When linking to your Google+ page, be sure to use the canonical versions of the Google+ page URL. This is in the format
https://plus.google.com/[yourpageID]. To find the URL of your page(s), go to your page’s stream and click “Get started” on the left-hand menu. In the “Tell the world” section, copy the URL provided.
On last note, there’s a Google+ setting to “” So if you were seeing pages appearing in your circles for no apparent reason, now you know.