By Meg Guiseppi
Google is constantly changing its appearance, features and functionality to improve the user experience, and in some cases, to improve users' ability to brand themselves.
What was once a "Google" Profile is now the About page on a "Google+" (or Google Plus) Profile.
Ever since the Google Profile was rolled out in 2009, I've been recommending that job seekers create one, to complement their branded, 100% complete LinkedIn profile, forming the beginnings of their online presence, or extending their existing online footprint.
I advised that, as long as their Google Profile was not a carbon copy of their LinkedIn profile, these two web pages would be a good basic online foundation, providing anyone assessing them (recruiters, hiring professionals, target companies, etc.) with information supporting their personal brand story and good fit qualities.
My advice still holds true with the advent of the new Google+, but now the profile is an even more powerful branding tool than when it was just a "Google profile."
Launched in June 2011, Google+ is attempting to outdistance Facebook, as a social network consisting of not just a single site, but rather an overarching layer which covers many of its online properties (according to Wikipedia).
Even if you do nothing more with Google+ than let it be one of your static web profiles, posting a branded, fully fleshed out profile, with the right relevant keywords, in the right places, can help you:
But Google+ offers so much more. It's a social network with Circles, Communities, Photo Sharing, Hangouts and a mobile app.
In 10 tips to take advantage of Google+ for SEO, Cyrus Shepard, Chief Marketer at Placefull, Inc. said:
"It's no secret. When engineers built Google+, they constructed an SEO juggernaut to dominate search results above all other social platforms. Although Facebook and Twitter are essential to marketing efforts, both restrict Google from accessing much of their data. This limits their SEO effectiveness. Not so with Google+."
Saman Kouretchian, an online marketing consultant noted in a Social Media Today article:
"Think about how often you use Google Search, Chrome, Android, Gmail, Google Maps, Docs, YouTube, Gchat, and Calendar, to name a few Google owned products. Millions of people use these products every day and if Google Plus is integrated into all of these, which it will be soon, then it might seem unnecessary to leave Google for social networking."
It's a good idea to set up Google Authorship so Google will link your original content anywhere on the web to you, as the verified author. This can qualify you to have the photo you've posted to your Google+ Profile sit next to the search results for your content, which may also help Google devalue (and ignore) any unauthorized content associated with you.
As of this writing, these are the sections available.
I suggest you exercise caution with the following areas. Including them will make your profile 100% complete, but this information may jeopardize your safety.
It's up to you, if you want to provide this kind of identifying info. I NEVER give out my date of birth if it will be posted somewhere online. And I don't want to share my relationship status with the world. All these little bits of personal information can possibly lead bad people to steal your identity.
If you'd rather not include a phone number, but want to be easily contacted, you can add your email address. If you're a job seeker, make sure that email address is not connected to your employer. Scroll down the right hand sidebar to the section headed "Complete your profile." Hover over the left/right arrows and click until you get to add contact info, where you can provide your email.
You can also add more photos and videos to your profile - of you or anyone or anything else appropriate.
For more about Google Plus, see Job-Hunt's Guide to Google Plus for Job Search.
Meg Guiseppi, Job-Hunt's Personal Branding Expert and 20+ year careers industry veteran, has earned 10 certifications, including Reach Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Reach Social Branding Analyst – LinkedIn Profile Strategist, and Certified Executive Resume Master.Meg is the author of "23 Ways You Sabotage Your Executive Job Search and How Your Brand Will Help You Land." Connect with Meg at ExecutiveCareerBrand.com for c-suite personal branding and executive job search help and on Google+ and Twitter (@MegGuiseppi).