How to Start Using Google Plus

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Google Plus (Google+) is a social network that helps you easily share and discover content, interact with people, take part in communities focused on certain activities and interests, make video calls, etc. Other Google services are integrated in a Google+ account including YouTube, Google Maps, which allows simple sharing and find information.

 

Theory

Besides being a social networking site, Google+ is considered to be an identity service, since it enables users to associate web content with the author and his or her Google+ profile. Google+ was launched in 2011 and it has grew into the second largest social network after Facebook.

This Google’s service is now available to anyone older than 13, with both desktop version and an app. Google+ profiles have been used as background account for other Google services including YouTube, Google Map, Gmail, Google Local, etc. In addition, a search feature called “Search Plus Your World” has been introduced in 2012 which takes into account the content shared on Google+ profile when presenting the search results in Google search engine (assuming you are logged in).

Google+ Hangouts are particularly famous feature, which allows free video conferencing calls with up to 10 people. The communication is conducted through Google+ website or mobile app. Besides communication, users can share documents, screen, images, etc.

 

Guidelines

* User Content and Conduct Policy
Please follow these policies when using our products and services (“Services”). When we are notified of a potential policy violation, we may review and take action, including limiting or terminating a user’s access to our Services. Prohibitied actions:

– Illegal Activities
– Malicious Products
– Hate Speech
– Personal and Confidential Information
– Account Hijacking
– Child Exploitation
– Spam
– Ranking Manipulation
– Sexually Explicit Material
– Harassment and Bullying
– Violence
– Impersonation or Deceptive Behavior
– Regulated Goods and Services (If your content promotes regulated goods and services, including alcohol, gambling, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, fireworks, weapons, or health/medical devices, you are responsible for applying the appropriate age and geographical restrictions for that content. )
– Contests and Promotions (Do not run contests, sweepstakes, or other such promotions directly on Google+, except by pre-approved means.)

 

Instructions

Register

Use your existing Google account to create a profile on Google Plus.

google_instructions

How to start with Google Plus

The first step is obvious; you should create a profile and a page on this network.

The pages are very similar to the profiles, but have some key differences:

The pages cannot add people to circles until they do add or mention the page first.

Pages can be created for a variety of different entities while profiles can only be created for people.

Default privacy for the elements of the profile page is public.

Pages have the + 1 button. Pages cannot give +1 to other pages, nor can they give + 1 on the Internet.

The pages cannot play games.

Pages do not have the option to share in “Extended circles“.

Pages do not receive notifications by email, messages, or through the Google toolbar.

Pages cannot participate in Hangouts on a mobile device.Local pages have special fields that help people to find the physical location of the business.

Learn more about local pages.

In short, profiles are for people, and the pages are for brands or companies. However, you do have to create a profile first, in order to be able to create a page.

Customize Google+ profile / page

The first thing you should customize on your Google+ profile or page is a profile photo and a cover photo. These photos take a prominent place on Google+, so you should use them to attract the attention of the visitors.

Furthermore, use the options in “About” section to tell more about you or your page. This section shows your circles, your story (including tagline and description), contact information, links (to your website, social media profiles, blogs, etc).

google_instructions_008(Optional) Verify your company or your brand on Google.

google_instructions_004You can verify the website linked to the Google Plus page, using a simple code and copying it to your website, or you can use Google Webmaster Tools to verify the website.

google_instructions_005Use the options from the menu on the left site to access different features of your Google+ profile or page, including communities, events, hangouts, photos, and settings.

google_instructions_001

Authorship

Link your Google+ profile to the content you create using Google+ profile.

Option 1: Link your content to your Google+ profile using a verified email address

You can link content you publish on a specific domain (such as www.wired.com) to your Google+ profile.

– Make sure you have a profile photo with a recognizable headshot.

– Make sure a byline containing your name appears on each page of your content (for example, “By Steven Levy”).

– Make sure your byline name matches the name on your Google+ profile.

– Verify you have an email address (such as [email protected]) on the same domain as your content. (Don’t have an email address on the same domain? Use this method to link your content to your Google+ profile)

Option 2: Set the authorship linking the content to your Google+ profile

Create a link to your Google+ profile from your webpage, like this:

google_instructions_006Replace [profile_url] with your Google+ profile URL, like this:

google_instructions_007Your link must contain the ?rel=author parameter. If it’s missing, Google won’t be able to associate your content with your Google+ profile.

– Add a reciprocal link back from your profile to the site(s) you just updated.

– Edit the Contributor To section.

– In the dialog that appears, click Add custom link, and then enter the website URL.

– If you want, click the drop-down list to specify who can see the link.

– Click on “Save”.

To see what author data Google can extract from your page, use the structured data testing tool.

 

Additional Resources

The full list of guidelines for Google Plus: http://www.google.com/intl/en/+/policy/content.html

Google Plus Help Center: https://support.google.com/plus/?hl=en#topic=3049661

Video:
Set Up Your Profile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbIMlK6CEts&list=UUtxkCXCD8bWpE8Ea_l4tV2A

 

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