Sometimes it seems like Google+ gets a bad rap. Yeah, okay, I’ll admit it: Google+ can seem pretty lame, or at least superfluous, when compared to social media heavyweights like Facebook and Twitter. But look: It’s still directly tied to Google, so even as the social platform continues to change and evolve, you can bet that a decent Google+ business page will remain significant for search engine success.
So it’s worth having one for your brand—but what are the steps you need to take to create a Google+ page?
Step 1: Start with a personal Gmail account.
You must have a personal Google profile (a.k.a. Gmail account) to create a business page. Don’t worry about creating a new one that multiple team members can use—you can always add and remove page managers later. Just choose someone who will be actively using the account as the “owner” of the page. If you don’t have a Google account, you can click here to create one.
Step 2: Pick the kind of page you want to create.
Sign in to your Gmail account and click here to get started.
If you want to make sure you haven’t already set up a business page, or if you want to see all of your pages, you can also navigate to the Create a Page screen by logging into your Gmail account, selecting the 3x3 block icon in the upper right, then selecting the G+ icon.
Then, at the upper left of your personal Google Plus homepage, click on the “Home” drop-down menu and select “Pages.”
From there, you will be able to see all of the pages attached to your account, and select “Get Your Page” to create a new one.
Once you reach the Create page, you’ll see three options: Storefront, Service Area, or Brand. Select the kind of business page you want to start.
If you go with a Brand page, you’ll be asked to pick the page name and enter your website address; if you pick one of the other two options, you’ll be taken to a page where you’re asked to type in the name of your business. Do so, and see if Google can find your business's location on the map. If so, select it.
If not, go to the option that says “None of these match/Add your business.” Be sure to check the map carefully, including any old addresses, before adding your business, though, because you don’t want to end up with multiple locations and Google map results for your business.
Once you click create, you may be asked to verify the page via text or phone call.
Remember, there is no merge process for pages or profiles (though you can convert a Brand page into a Google+ Local page, and vice versa). We often work with clients who have multiple Google+ accounts, usually due to business owners creating a page without realizing that one already existed. It’s easier to create a duplicate than you may think, so it’s worth your time to check before you get started.
Step 3: Add your information to the new page.
There are lots of ways to optimize your Google+ profile, and there’s a blue progress bar on your new page to help guide you through it. You’ll need a profile picture, a cover photo, a tagline and a keyword-rich introduction. You’ll also need to include the best contact information, and links to your website and social media platforms.
Keep in mind that any Google properties may influence your organic search results, so you’ll want to take every opportunity to optimize your Google+ business page.
After you've filled in the basic fields, you may see a prompt at the top of the page that you're eligible for a custom URL. If so, be sure to take advantage of it! Otherwise, the URL of your Google+ business page will be a string of random numbers.
Step 4: Share and engage.
The final step to making your page complete: Start sharing content, engaging with other people, joining groups, and connecting with friends and colleagues.
And don’t forget: If you need a little help sprucing things up, you can customize your Google+ page with the templates we’re offering here!
Note: A version of this post was originally published on 9/20/13 and has been updated to keep up with changes to Google+ Business Pages.