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Leveraging Google+ Pages for Search Marketing

As suggested in a recent post on brand ad cannibalization, each search engine results page hosts a dance between organic search results and paid ads.  The dance between these SERP elements can range from ugly to lovely (potentially from a negative to positive sum game for retailers). Enter a new Dancer With Search Plus Your World, Google acknowledges that social is a disruptive dimension that can make search results even more relevant and increase profits for online businesses.  Social content can be used by businesses as a lever to increase the click-through rate on organic search results as well as paid ads, but new tools are necessary to shift the momentum of the dance onto a new axis. And there is a new way to measure the impact of social media on paid search campaigns. Start using Google+. A few days after announcing G+ business pages, Google posted an Inside Adwords blog post detailing how to connect your new G+ Page to your website as well as your AdWords campaigns.  These changes pose a significant research opportunity for online marketers. They signify a major step in more accurately assessing the aggregate ROI that social media produces across all of your online marketing efforts. A model for the interaction between paid search, SEO and social is the aspiration, but presently the core offering of Google+ Pages is the ability to index all of the social recommendations that your brand receives. Here's how the current offering is a break from the past and how it can be fully implemented and measured. The Old Google+ and +1 button Google +1 button annotations appear on ads by default unless you opt out. When the +1 button went live this past summer any social annotations generated were tied to the specific advertisement or URL that received the +1. The New Currently, Google+ business pages aggregate your +1 data from around the web. Once joined to your domain and your AdWords account, the Google+ business page inherits all of the +1’s ever received on your site or your ads. The new aggregated +1’s can be leveraged in AdWords campaigns that have social extensions enabled. Social extensions are shown in addition to other ad extensions like sitelinks, product, and location extensions. Social extensions will not take their place. Performance can then be broken out by impression type in your Google Analytics account (impressions with or without social annotations), giving great insight into whether social media enhances paid search results by driving higher click-through. Implementation The first step to connecting a Google+ page is to create a Google+ account. Similar to Facbook’s workflow, you must first create a personal account through which you can create and manage pages.  Thanks to initial feedback from Google+ users you can now set up to 50 administrators for a single page. The next step in making your AdWords campaigns social is linking your Google+ page to your website. To get the code to link your Google+ page to a website, users can visit: https://developers.google.com/+/plugins/badge/config/ Now +1’s that you have accumulated across the web should be stored in one place. In order to start showing these accumulated social recommendations in your AdWords campaigns you must next enable AdWords social extensions. Within you AdWords account, click on the Ad Extensions tab. On the ‘View’ drop down menu select ‘Social Extensions’ from the drop down menu and choose 'New Extension'. You’ll be prompted to enter the URL for your Google+ Page. Page Management One result of Search Plus your World may be greater adoption of Google+ as a social network. If that happens, brands will have to make a stronger effort to show up in Google+ newsfeeds, and the inclusion of Google+ activity in search results solidifies the need for Google+ to be a part of your larger social media strategy. We will discuss contenting strategy and day-to-day management of Google+ in an upcoming blog post.
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