Google Plus Profiles vs. Pages

… continuing this series on Google Plus that was started a couple posts ago…

Once you “join” Google Plus as a user, after completing your set-up, you see a page that looks something like this:

Not too much there yet. Thus begins the process of building up this new social media presence according to your own personal goals, wants, and desires. But today, we’ll focus on the little link along the right-hand side that says “Create a Google Page” which takes you to this:

Already that are some problems, or at least, potential areas of confusion, when it asks you to classify the type of “business” you are creating a Google Page for. Here are the choices:

  • Local Business or Place (and Google provides examples like hotels, restaurants, places (?), stores, services
  • Product or brand (examples like apparel, cars, electronics, financial services (?)
  • Company, Institution, or Organization (companies, institutions, organizations, non-profits — thanks, Google, because that was so unclear by the category name)
  • Arts, Entertainment, Sports (movies, TV, music, books, sports, shows)
  • Other (if your page doesn’t fit a category above)

There are two problems with this screen:

1. Google doesn’t tell you WHY you are classifying it.  Is there a difference in how the resulting pages look? Does one receive different functionality? Or does Google simply want to know what kind of advertisements to send you?  Tell us why you’re asking this question, Google, and the 2nd problem with this screen becomes a little less problematic.

2. The second problem revolves around category #2 – Product or Brand.  I’ll bet the hotel that is used an example for Category #1 considers themselves a brand, especially if they’re going through the trouble of making a Google Plus page.  Outskirts Press probably falls into the catch-all Category #3 (in fact, what wouldn’t?  I mean, Google Pages are meant for businesses, so everything is probably a “company” or “organization” of some sort).  But even though Category #3 might define us best, I also consider Outskirts Press a “brand” – so should I choose #2, instead? Who knows… Google isn’t telling me WHY I’m having to classify my page.  

This all becomes a matter of trial and error, and it doesn’t even tell you that if you want to change your mind later, you can.  So… make your best guess: That’s what I’m going to do.  “Company, Institution, or Organization” sounds so boring, so I’m going to choose Product or Brand. Hey, if Google suggests it for “financial services (really, Google, really?!), then it works for us at Outskirts Press!

In reality, it doesn’t seem like Category #2 and Category #3 behave any differently as far as Google is concerned. Both result in providing you with a drop down box during the next step with a list of more specific categories (and the drop down choices appear to be exactly the same, with the exception of general categories that appear at the very bottom of the drop down box). “Publishing” or “self-publishing” isn’t in either one (which is surprising, given Google’s in-your-face experience with publishers during their Google Book Library Project, but that’s a post for another day).

Regardless of the category you choose, Google Plus is going to ask you to “Title” your page.  Just like when you title your book or buy a big neon sign for your local business,  your goal when giving your Google page a title is including a keyword  (in this case, for search engine optimization). So be sure your Google Page title includes your most relevant keyword. Then provide the URL to your company website, select a category (again), set age-appropriate specifications based upon the content you’re going to post, and agree to Google’s invasive “Page Terms.”  If you can be bothered to read it, these specific terms are broken down into three categories: Privacy Policy (you don’t get any); Legal Terms (things you post on your Google page must comply with other Google terms — i.e. promotions need to abide by their Content and Promotion Policies, and text, images, etc., must comply by their User Content and Conduct Policy); and Content Policy. 

Humorously, Google’s Content Policy (a list of 12 things they “don’t allow”) clearly demonstrates that the employees of Google have never bothered to visit the Internet. Here’s what they say isn’t allowed:

1. Illegal Activities
2. Malicious Products
3. Hate Speech
4.  [Sharing] Personal and Confidential Information
5. Account Hijacking
6. Child Safety {they mean child exploitation}
7. Spam
8. Ranking Manipulation
9. Gambling
10. Sexually Explicit Material
11. Violent or Bullying Behavior
12. Impersonation or Deceptive Behavior

Hey, Google! Allow me to be the first to welcome you to the Internet. You’ve just listed 12 of the most common things you’ll find on it…

Then click “Create…” and the next step is customizing your page, which we’ll discuss next week…

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