A couple-few weeks ago, I answered the first of many questions that the participants asked both during and after my recent webinar, Google+ for Business. Below are the next batch of questions and answers. I hope they answer your questions. And I have really enjoyed answering them.
Q: What are the benefits of selecting one type of category over the other?
Firstly, choosing the correct category allows Google to understand you better. When it comes to having a proper office with business hours, I am still undecided as to whether one should choose “Local Business or Place” or “Product or Brand” or “Company, Institution, or Organization” except to consider scope.
If you serve donuts to your neighbors and don’t have a mail order business but do have a storefront, I believe you should choose “Local Business or Place” because you’re able to go off and discover/find your own business based on its phone number; however, if you have a proper office with office hours and even local services but you do mail order or have clients in other cities, states, or countries, I would choose “Company, Institution, or Organization.” My conundrum came twice on the last month: creating the Google+ pages for Miriam’s Kitchen and Naval Lodge No. 4. They’re both places with both addresses and hours, right? Well, I know that Miriam’s Kitchen is growing its mission to include “ending chronic homelessness” and that mission is much greater than their kitchen, right?
So, if you’re a restaurant or store or do the majority of your business at a counter or a table or in person, you’re probably a local business or place. If you’re an office building company do office building work, you’re probably a company, institution, or organization — World Wildlife Fund is an organization but the National Zoo is probably a local business or place.
A “Produce or Brand” is simple: what do you sell and do you want that thing to have it’s own page? While Mizuno is a company, Mizuno Running coule be a product or a brand, and the Mizuno Wave Rider 15s are most certainly a product (and brand) — and Potomac River Running is a local business or place, but with mutliple locations. So, what would PR Running do? Probably, if I had to choose, I would have a separate “Local Business or Place” for each location and then I would choose “Company, Institution, or Organization” for the corporate.
Q: What would a blog use for a category? If categories determine how you appear in search, how to determine what’s best?
I personally use “Arts, Entertainment, or Sports” for my blog because I know what I am in the world of journalism: I am a court jester. At my best, At my worst, I am entertaining; at my best, I am an artist (and sometimes quite full of myself). But maybe Marketing Conversation is a product or brand. I would choose Entertainment but then again, go look around, sniff around the Category pull down menus, and see what fits best.
Q: Is there a benefit to selecting “brand” over “company” or “local business?
The main reason why these categories exist is to explain what you are to the Bots and Spiders and Algorithms of Google. It it sort of working on the fact that you’re an elephant by touching your trunk, the roughness of your hide, the stoutness of your legs, the smoothness of your tusks, and the softness of your ears. Google tends to experience the Internet very much like the blind do. If you optimize your site for the vision-impaired, you’re good to go.
“Local business” is the only thing that a company should choose if you require people to come through your door and buy your stuff over a counter. If you have a cash register anywhere on site and if you physically handle credit cards and cash and have hours, the benefit to choosing local business is huge because creating a page for your physical business, associated with a phone number and address, will mean that you will automatically come up in anything Google that’s location-aware, be it mobile or web. If you’re Java Shack in Arlington and you create a Google+ page for your local business, plug in 703.527.9556, then your cafe should come up (hear me, Dale Roberts?). Then, once you take control of your proper page, then you and your content and your updates and your interactions, photos, videos, and copy will most likely trump the stuff that Googlebots have found through blindly scraping and triangulating and as well as the stuff that other people are saying about you (on Yelp, for instance, or FourSquare or whatnot).
There are even more questions I will aspire to answer and I will get to those in the next week or so. Thanks again!