Are you familiar with Google+ and how it can help your business grow? Google+ is a great tool for small business content marketing because it helps Google recognize authors and give them added exposure in results pages. Another benefit? Content that’s posted to G+ is crawled within six seconds. Basically, G+ helps people identify themselves online and stand out among the crowd so they can become more competitive players.

Does that sound good for your business?

Setting up a Google+ brand page is like listing your business in a digital version of the Yellow Pages. It gives Google a listing for your company, which it can then turn around and show people who are searching for your business online. This information appears in standard search results, but it might also show up in Image searches or Google Maps queries alongside pictures and reviews in search results.

So let’s get started. First, make sure you’re logged into your Google+ account that we set up last time. This will connect your personal profile with your business’ page.

Step 1: Start the journey to a stronger business

The process of setting up a Google+ page for a business is a little different than the steps for an individual – mostly because you have to prove that you are indeed authorized to represent a company. Go to http://www.google.com/+/brands/ and click on “Create a Google+ Page” in the top-right corner.

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Step 2: Tell Google what your business is all about

Next, Google will ask you what kind of business you are trying to register. The options are:

• Storefront: A restaurant, shop or office with a physical location people can actually visit.
• Service Area: A business that provides a service within a certain geographical area and also has a physical location.
• Brand: If your business is completely online, or you don’t want to register a physical location, select Brand. If you pick this option, skip down to Step 9.

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Step 3: Put your business on the map – literally

If you’re registering a Storefront or Service Area, you need to indicate exactly where you’re located. So when Google Maps appears, type in the address and hit enter.

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Step 4: Make sure Google recognizes you

If you enter your business’ address and it appears on the map, great! Move on to the next step. If Google tells you that it couldn’t find a company at that location, double-check your entry before clicking “I’ve correctly entered the name and address” option underneath the search bar.

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Step 5: Carefully enter your business’ details

If Google doesn’t automatically recognize the name and address of your business (or it has incorrect information from a previous tenant in the same spot), you can set the record straight and type in the address, phone number and other information that will help searchers find your business.

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Step 6: Check the map and confirm

Google is going to place a marker on the map where people will see your business when they search for it. Check off the box in the top-right corner when it looks like all the information is correct.

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Step 7: Prepare for verification

To prove that you actually have a business in that location, Google will send a postcard with a password on it. Once you’ve received it (within two weeks), you’ll be ready to go. Click on “Mail me my code” to confirm the address where it will be sent.

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 Step 8: Fill in your information

Now it’s time to flesh out your profile! Once you’ve gotten your verification code, you can start opening up the review section (so customers can rate your business), adding pictures and making posts.

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Step 9: No location? No problem – Just share the right information

If you don’t have a physical storefront and just want to register a brand on Google+, you don’t need to verify your address or wait for your code to come in the mail. Instead, all you need to do is enter the name of the Google+ page you want to create, the URL of the company’s homepage and the type of business you’re registering.

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Step 10: Celebrate your business on Google+

Congratulations! Your company is registered on Google+, giving you a slight edge in organic search results. But don’t rest on your laurels – become active. You can find followers, circles and communities for your business the same way you did with your personal page. And always post fresh content about your business, from product photos and happy customers to lifestyles blogs that are relevant to your customers. The more engagement you get on Google+, the more overall visibility your company homepage could receive.