How To Write A Google+ Review

alan jansson Google+ review

alan jansson Google+ review

Google has begun to give a social ranking to websites and a key element in that ranking is the Google+ review.  So if you have not got any reviews for your Google+ Local website, now is the time to start.  There are some traps in this, so I thought I would create this post on how to write a Google+ review.

Google has become a lot stricter about reviews on Google+ in order to stamp out false reviews (e.g. reviews written by website owners themselves or by people paid to make up reviews).

Google’s new rules for reviews on Google+ are:

  1. you must have a Google+ account and be signed into your account to leave a review
  2. you cannot use nicknames or be anonymous
  3. your review will automatically be public with your name attached (on Google+ and possibly on search engine results).

How to create a Google+ review – the steps

The steps to create a Google+ review are quite simple, but there are a number of them and it is important to follow them closely to maximize the benefit of your Google+ review.

1.  Log into your Google+ account

2. Access the Google+ account of the website you want to review.  If you don’t already know the web address, you can search for this via Google by entering the name of the business and “Google+”.  Alternatively, if you search on a related keyword, you could access the Google+ account from the search result entry as in this illustration of Acupuncture Gold Coast:

Google+ search result

3. CLICK THE BLUE BUTTON for “Write a Review”

This button is in the top right hand corner as illustrated in this Google+ account for Alan Jansson’s Japanese Acupuncture clinic on the Gold Coast:

write a review - Google+

4. READ GOOGLE’S WARNING about going public and Click “continue”

Google will immediately advise you that your review will be public with your name attached.   Here is the warning I received when I clicked the “write a review” button;

Google+ review warning

5. WRITE YOUR REVIEW and RATE the business/service – 0, 1, 2, or 3 (where 3 equals excellent)

It is important to record your rating as Google takes this into account when determining the social score of a website and overall ranking.   You can see the ranking options illustrated below along with the write-a-review block:


Goolge+ review and rating


The publish button is illustrated in the image above.



Google gives you the option of  informing your circles of your completed review.   Indicate which of your own Google+ circles you want to notify about your reviewGoing public is not optional.   However, you can choose what circles you want to be informed of your Google+ review (so this is a viral feature if you choose to use it).

When you click “add more people” you will be given a drop-down menu to indicate who else (which circles) you want to share your review with.

Here’s an example from my review of Acupuncture Gold Coast, an acupuncture clinic run by Alan Jansson who has provided acupuncture services to my family over many years:

share google+ review


DON’T FORGET TO CLICK THE “SHARE” BUTTON – then you are finished!

It seems a long process but the steps are simple.  It is important that you don’t attempt to dupe the system or take shortcuts.  I’ve provided this post on how to write a Google+ review so that you can offer your service provider/ offline client the maximum benefit from Google+ reviews.

Google Plus Hangouts with Extras – More Options for Small Business Marketing

google+hangouts - with extras

google+hangouts - with extras

Google is continuously innovating with Google+ and this is best illustrated through the Google Plus Hangouts with Extras facility.  This extension of Google Plus Hangouts increases the opportunities for small business marketing.  It also expands the ways that small business owners can use Google Plus Hangouts to communicate with their staff

How to access Google Plus Hangouts with Extras

When you are in the Green Room, you will see the following screen and there will be a link to Google Plus Hangouts with Extras (see arrow in the screenshot below):

Google Plus Hangouts with extras

If you click the ‘with Extras’ link, you will be taken to another screen which summarizes the options available under the Extras facility (as illustrated in the opening image).  After you click ‘Try Hangouts with extras’, you will be taken to the Green Room for Google Plus Hangouts with Extras (see excerpt below):

Google Plus Hangouts with Extras - options



What is the difference between Hangouts and Hangouts with Extras?

Well Google gives a good explanation of the differences as they now stand (this is an evolving feast).  Unfortunately, Hangouts with Extras is not a simple extension of Hangouts. For instance, with Hangouts you can watch YouTube videos together, but this option is not currently available for Hangouts with Extras.  Google makes things easier by providing the following valuable comparison of the differences between Google Plus Hangouts and Hangouts with Extras:

 Google Plus Hangouts with Extras - comparison


You can see from this comparison that both Hangouts and Hangouts with Extras provide group chat and group video chat and that is where the similarity ends.

It is not clear yet whether the additional features of Hangouts with Extras will be merged into Hangouts or whether they will remain distinct. 

The additional features of Google Plus Hangouts are summarized below:

  • Screen Sharing – This allows you to share what is on your screen with others in your Google Plus Hangout.   You may want to explain something on a website, show a diagram or share an image and screen share will let you do that.  Once you are in Extras, click on ‘Start Hangout’ and the ‘Share Screen’ icon will appear at the top. When you click this button, you will be given a choice of screens from your computer to share with others (highlight the one you want to display and then click ‘Share Selected Window’). 
  • Google Docs Integration – There is a ‘Documents’ menu on the left hand side of the Extras screen.  To add a document, you click “Add Document’.  Default documents are also provided in the form of ‘Notes’ and ‘Sketchpad’. 
  • Start a named Hangout – Once you are in the Green Room for Google Plus Hangouts with Extras, you can give your Hangout a name and invite people to your named Hangout.  [Note: there are multiple ways you can join a Named Hangout yourself.] 

Google Plus Hangouts with Extras offers the opportunity to be creative with your small business marketing and staff communications and demonstrates Google’s ongoing commitment to the advancement of Google+.

Google Plus: A Lesson in Persistence for Small Business Marketing

persistence - no shortcut to success

persistence - no shortcut to success

Google’s persistence in developing its new social network, Google Plus, provides a key lesson for small business marketing.  Google obviously sees Google Plus as an evolution, not an end point.  You only have to see the frequency of updates and changes to Google +, to realize that Google’s persistence in developing a state-of-the-art social network is contributing to its continuous refinement. 

 [Photo Credit: rikkis_refuge]

The value of persistence for small business marketing

In an earlier article on, I wrote about the value of persistence in relation to affiliate programs and described the benefits in terms of the 4 R’s – resources, realization, relationships and rewards.

These benefits also apply to small business marketing in the following way:

  1. Resources – you get to know what is available and how to access it for free or at a reasonable price; you also identify resource people who can help you with your small business marketing
  2. Realization – this is a central benefit and represents the core learning outcome from persistence.  You get to know what works best for your small business in terms of marketing ( e.g. you may learn that marketing your services are best achieved by combining social media marketing with word of mouth).  Realization comes with focus, persistence and experimentation
  3. Relationships – you develop relationships with other small business marketers, your customers and key resource people who can work with you through collaborative marketing (as I do with my colleagues, Anne Corcino of and Chef Keem).
  4. Rewards – the rewards for your persistence as a small business owner include the consolidation of your personal profile and brand which in turn can lead to increased customers, free access to resources and free publicity as others promote and share your content and write positive reviews about your products and services.

I want to concentrate here on the realization benefits that accrued to Google through its persistence in the development of its social network.

Google Plus and the’realization’ benefits of persistence

The precursors to Google+, Google Wave and Google Buzz, were effectively learning laboratories for Google as it came to grips with the difference between running a search engine and guiding a social network.

Google realized three key aspects through its persistence in developing Google Plus:

  1. The value of the scarcity principle – Google Plus was offered initially as ‘invitation only’ and people were falling over themselves to get an invitation from someone already in the Google+ network (this also worked to build Google+ circles rapidly)
  2. The importance of participation and flexibility – where you have a monopoly you can afford to be autocratic and prescriptive (as Google is in relation to search, Google Adwords and Google Adsense) but where you are offering an entirely new service, outside your normal experience, you need to be participative and flexible
  3. The difference between a search engine and a social network – a search engine can operate through coercion and forced compliance; a vibrant social network requires winning minds and hearts.

The evolution of Google Plus illustrates the realization benefits that can accrue from persistence.  Other writers have expanded on the value of persistence for small business marketing.  One writer suggests that persistence makes the difference between success and failure in small business marketing:

Persistence: The Difference Maker

Google has been able to develop Google Plus as an effective social network through its persistence in pursuing this corporate marketing strategy (despite early failures)  – a key lesson for small business marketing.

Google is Integrating Google+ With Search Engine Results

google+ concentric circles

google+ concentric circles

Google is changing the whole landscape of Internet search through integration of Google+ with organic and paid search results.

A number of prominent Internet marketers have reported recently that they are seeing this integration of Google+ in the search results and have screenshots to prove it.  Mike Brooks, for example, shows a screenshot where a number of paid search results are shown above the organic search results, but on the right hand side are the results from Google+:

Game Changer: Google Plus Changes Search and Social Media

He points out that Mari Smith, because of her Google+ activity, holds the number one spot in the right hand column for the search term, ‘Internet marketing’ – a spot usually held by people who pay $100 per click via Google Adwords.  It is likely this positioning of Google+ results will change.  However, it shows that Google is experimenting with the integration of Google+ with its paid and organic search results.

It also means that Google is seeking to give prominence to its own social network as a source of quality information.  This understandably is upsetting both Facebook and Twitter.  It is interesting that my own observation, and that of a number of my connections, is that the information shared on Google+ to date is more focused and of a higher quality than that shared on Facebook or Twitter – it tends to be enlightening, educational or practical.  From what I have experienced from the circles I have created, Google+ posts tend to challenge my assumptions and expand my thinking.  This may be a function of the fact, that because it is early days, I have been able to include people in my circles who are prominent elsewhere but excluded from access because of their number of followers.

[Image source:]

The Implications for Small Business Marketing of the Google+ Integration with Search Engine Results

As many commentators have pointed out already, the implications of this Google+ integration move by Google are not entirely clear for a number of reasons.  We do not know what the final configuration will look like – only some people have access to the new format which is in a testing mode at the moment.  We do not know how Facebook and Twitter will respond, but respond they will!   We are uncertain whether the Google+ results shown will be just those from your own circles or those from Google+ generally.   What we do know so far is that a lot of old assumptions and processes about search engine optimisation (SEO) will need to change. 

We can also assume that some of the implications for small business marketing will be:

  • if you are not on Google+, you will be at a considerable disadvantage when it comes to search engine results in the future – you may actually disappear from the search results that you are currently achieving
  • when you share on Google+ via your stream, you need to ensure that your content matches the primary niche(s) or keywords that you want to be visible for in search engine results
  • it will no longer be enough to be on Facebook only – it is interesting that Mari Smith, known widely as a Facebook guru, is prominent in the new Google+ search results (she has around 50,000 people in her Google+ circles)
  • Google+ is effectively integrating  list building with search engine optimization (SEO) – through Google+ you will not only build your list, you will also increase your chances of appearing in Google’s integrated search engine results
  • Google’s shift from page rank to people rank is happening in earnest – another level of integration will be when Google integrates Google+ results with organic search results based on people rank
  • small business owners will no longer be able to ignore social media if they want to appear in Google’s search engine results
  • your Google+ business page will assume greater importance in terms of how often your business will appear in search results and what keywords/search terms will influence the search results for your small business
  • your images on Google+ (photos, graphics, illustrations) will feed Google’s integrated search results and feature in its increased focus on multimedia
  • the Google+1 button will assume even greater importance because of its indication of how your content is valued by your connections
  • your personal profiles on social networks will become even more important (you need to integrate them into your Google+ profile to strengthen their capacity to demonstrate your social connection)
  • social connections along with quality content will assume even greater importance – it will not be enough just to create quality original content, you will also need to be connected to people who “value” that content.

As Mike Brooks commented, a core meaning of the integration of Google+ with search engine results is that we are facing the era where “content and connection is king”.

We have moved over time from thinking of Internet marketing as a linear process to a circular process (with web rings, blog rings, lens rings, etc).  I think we now have to visualize Internet marketing like concentric circles formed when a drop of water lands in a pool of water (as the image above shows).   

Internet marketing can now be visualized as concentric circles formed when content is dropped into (shared with) our pool of connections.

The integration of Google+ into Google’s search engine results has profound implications for small business marketing that cannot be ignored by small business owners.

Postscript: Since I wrote this blog post, top Internet marketer, Bill Guthrie, has come out with his Google+ Manifesto, where he asserts that, “We’re witnessing the quick death of SEO as we know it” and that “Google+ is now mandatory”.  He released his PDF Manifesto as a Warrior Special Offer (WSO) which explains the principles behind Google+, their implications and offers heaps of tips and ideas to take advantage of this massive change which will change small business marketing and affiliate marketing.  You can grab your copy at the WSO discounted price here:

Grab your copy now so that you can get in on the ground with the game-changing Google+ which will influence the course of small business marketing into the future and have a serious effect on your search engine results.

Google+ Photos – Share Your Photos to Promote Your Personal Profile and Small Business Brand

Gold Coast - Colonial Golf Course

Gold Coast - Colonial Golf Course

Google+ photos adds another dimension to the Google Plus social network and provides additional opportunities for small business marketing and branding.

The Google + photos option is accessible via your Google Plus home page by clicking on the photo icon as illustrated below:

Google+ photos icon

When you click on the photos icon, you will see a menu on the left hand side which gives you some options for what to display:  

Google + photos options

As the default option is ‘Photos from your circles’, these will be shown as a collage with the number of comments in the top right hand corner of each photo.  If you click on the photo, you will see the image displayed in a Lightbox with the comments listed on the right hand side.  You can also add your own comment at the bottom.  Here’s an excerpt from a display of photos from my circles:

Google+ - photos from your circles


Uploading your own photos to Google+ to create albums

On the right of the Google+ photos page, you will see the large icon – Upload New Photos.  Once you click this, you will be able to add photos to an existing album or create a new one and then share the album with your circles, the public or individuals.   They will be able to view your album as a slideshow.  In the process, you can tag the photos with your own name or that of someone you are connected to.

It is important to check out the “Your albums’ option when you are on your Google+ photos page.  Even if you have not personally uploaded any photos to Google+,  you will probably find some albums created by Google from its own index (as I have mentioned before, Google is watching you!).  I checked out the ‘Your albums’ page on my Google+ account and discovered I had 11 albums, some of which I did not want and others which needed a name change.  You can delete albums and change their names from the “Your albums’ page.  You can also change the “sharing” settings via the dropdown menu (it looks like the photo albums created automatically by Google are set as ‘private’).

Uploading photos to Google+ from Picasa

In December 2011, Google integrated Google+ with Picasa so that you can now upload photos directly from Picasa to your Google+ account.  However, you will need to upgrade to Version 3.9 of Picasa to do this.   This recently released version of Picasa also provides expanded ways of editing photos (e.g. cropping and effects) and allows for uploading different sizes of your photos.  You can choose the smallest size (800 pixels) but retain the quality of the original photo from Picasa.

To download the latest version of Picasa, click on the following link:

Picasa Version 3.9

To upload photos from Picasa to Google+:

  • Log into your Google+ account
  • Highlight the photos or albums you want to share from Picasa
  • Click the “Share on Google+” button (at end of the page)
  • Choose a name for the album
  • Choose image size
  • Select the circles you want to share the photos/album with
  • Click ‘Upload’

Picasa 3.9 makes it even easier to share your photos with your circles through Google+ photos and thus build your personal profile and your small business brand.