A Look At Google+ Direct Connect For Google+ Pages

Along with the big announcement of Google+ pages yesterday, a search-specific feature called “Google+ Direct Connect” was also announced. The Google+ Direct Connect functionality will help to give Google+ pages more visibility in the search engine results pages when custom operators are used.

What Exactly Is Direct Connect?

Last month, Google retired the “+” operator, most likely in anticipation of the Direct Connect release. Now Google+ Direct Connect leverages the “+” symbol for those looking to go directly to a Google+ page in search. Instead of typing in “YouTube  Google Plus” Direct connect will allow you to type “+youtube” to be escorted directly to the Google+ page, no results required.

Let’s looks at Direct Connect in action. When entering a query into search the Google+ page will show up as well as the icon:

Upon clicking on that link (or hitting enter when query is completed) users will be escorted directly to the Google+ page bypassing search results altogether. Once they land on the page, a special notification will show up asking visitors to circle the page:

Right now, only a few pages actually have Google+ Direct Connect including YouTube, Toyota and Google itself. While only a few have it, Google+ Direct Connect shows up in the administrative back-end of all pages. Right now, the most that can be done is to make your site elegible by taking the following steps:

Connect Your Website

In order to be eligible for Google+ Direct Connect, you must first connect your website. This involves going to your Google+ page, and going to the “connect your website” page that can be found under “Get Started” section:

Once in the connect your website section, you will need to choose a badge for your website. There are 6 badge sizes and a customizable name that can be added if you choose to do so:

Then toss the badge code into your page  and don’t forget the snippet for the head section! Once completed, you have automatically become eligible.

Tips On Becoming Added To Direct Connect

Right now, not every page is eligible for Direct Connect. Google says it will be adding pages algorithmically.  The official statement from Google is:

A page’s eligibility for Google+ Direct Connect is determined algorithmically, based on certain signals we use to help understand your page’s relevancy and popularity. In addition to this analysis, we look for a link between your Google+ page and your website. To help Google associate this content, be sure to connect your Google+ page and your website using the Google+ badge, or by adding a snippet of code to your site, in addition to adding your website link to your page.

Basically, make sure that you promote your page off of Google+ with links, drive users to add you to circles and post regularly on your Google+ page and you may have a better chance of accessing Google+ Direct Connect.

So sit back, update your Google+ page and soon enough Direct Connect should be rolled-out for you!

Postscript From Danny Sullivan: Direct Connect seems yet another clever bribe where Google is leveraging everything it can to win support for Google Plus.

In this case, why would any business want to push people to search with a + symbol to arrive on a page that Google effectively owns, rather than the company’s own website?

Answer? If you do a Direct Connect search, you’ll get only one result, an official page. If you don’t do that, then you end up with the classic “10 blue links” which might do things like suggest your competitor or a critic.

Consider the case of US presidential candidate Rick Santorum. Pushing people to find him for +Santorum neatly solves Santorum’s Google problem.

Google’s made changes over the years that help big brands see far less negative references to themselves in search results than in the past, mainly by allowing more than one page from a site to help “push” other content “down.” But that’s not foolproof, especially when negative news is happening.

Consider the searches for Toyota that were bringing up negative news stories during the safety recalls of last year. If Toyota is pushing that people to find them by searching for +Toyota, they would see none of that on Google.

Interestingly, Bing offered a similar solution that didn’t depend on having to take part in a social network. Bing’s “Best Match” results showed only one site when there was great confidence in the query. But Bing quietly dropped this feature since it launched, a sign that consumers didn’t like it.

Postscript 2: See our follow-up post, The Alphabet of Google+ Direct Connect.

 

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Google: Google+ | Top News

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About The Author: is the Chief Marketing Officer for Cypress North, a company that specializes in social media and search marketing services and web-based application development. He has been in the Internet marketing industry for 6+ years and specializes in Social Media Marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

Connect with the author via: Email



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  • S.C.

    Direct Connect could do wanders for traffic to your Google Plus page, but when Google changed the initial purpose of the “+” search operator a lot of people that were using it got pissed off.

  • http://logan9497 logan9497

    It remains to be seen how effective this will be when it is fully integrated. I am going to use it on my site and see what pans out.

  • http://www.nathanielbailey.co.uk Nathaniel Bailey

    Well this all sounds good at first but what about those companies who share the same name with another company, or other companies?

    For example, one of my SEO clients is a coach company [name coaches] and there is another company with the same name as theirs, so which one will google pick for the Google+ Direct Connect?

    S.C. I don’t know anyone that used + rather then “” so I dont think saying google pissed people off by changing it is going to effect how this works, plus I dont think google care if it annoyed some people as doing this is going to help promote and most likely grow the Google+ network bringing in more users.

  • Winooski

    Sorry for the rant, but…

    As I understand it, if Google gave to one of my Google+ pages “Direct Connect” status, all that would mean is any Google search for an appropriate trademark preceded by “+” would forward the visitor to our corresponding Google+ page. It’s a version of the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, but with the destination being a Google+ page instead of my official site.

    First of all, my impression is that few people use “+” as a search operator right now, and that’s after more than a decade of it being the official “the results must include this word” indicator. That’s one reason why Google recently yoinked that functionality for the plus sign, telling people to use quotes instead (e.g., old query: [restaurants +chinese]; new query: [restaurants "chinese"]). If “+” had REALLY used more frequently in queries, Google would think twice about its decision to repurpose it for use only as a Google+ indicator. (See http://searchengineland.com/google-sunsets-search-operator-98189 for more info.)

    So that means Google now has to undertake a huge marketing push to get users to start thinking about “+” as a way to get to a brand’s official Google+ page. Maybe it catches on, maybe it doesn’t, but, either way, it’s an uphill battle for getting it used more frequently.

    Second of all, it’s very nebulous as to exactly which version of a trademark the “+” would work for, if any. [+myofficialsitename] seems like a no-brainer, but how ’bout [+mymisspelledsitename], [+my official site name with spaces], etc.? Also, would the hapless searcher have to use quotes for multi-word Direct Connect searches? Again, we’re looking at another uphill battle re user compliance.

    And finally, as with so much of what Google does, Direct Connect functionality is entirely at their discretion, but we might increase our odds if we were to, y’know, put a badge on the site corresponding to the Google+ page in question. Hmm, let me think about this: I provide Google with free advertising, and in return, they might –might!– grant me the service of shunting people who use a specialized query formulation to…not my site, but to my Google+ page, which, presumably, will soon be sporting the ubiquitous Google ads (for competitors?) that we all know so well and love.

    What am I missing here? Help me out!

  • http://www.wotthetech.com/ Suroor Wijdan

    awesome article, this helped me in understanding what is direct connect. I already did all the required steps for my blog page, hope to get direct connect soon! 

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