Threat Intelligence Blog

Your Google+ Account

By now you are likely familiar with Google+, also written Google Plus. While some regard the service as Google’s response to Facebook’s seemingly endless reach into our social world online, here is how it’s officially described:

Google+ makes connecting on the web more like connecting in the real world. Share your thoughts, links and photos with the right circles. Use easy, spontaneous video chat to strike up conversations with as many as nine people at once.

Google+ is many things, including another avenue to reach an audience for your company’s marketing team. In this post however, we’re not going to expound on all the ways you can use Google+ for marketing purposes. There are dozens of places to read those online already. We want to share some ways to prevent abuse of your company and its brand in Google+ as it gains in popularity.

We’re going to show you:

  1. How to create an official Google+ page for your company so there’s an official, legitimate “stake in the ground” identifying your company on this platform.
  2. How to “close the loop” with Google and cement its understanding of what entity out there on the web should be identified with your Google+ page.
  3. How to report fake or impersonation pages that divert traffic or hijack Google+ users away from your official pages.

Time Required: Less than one hour

What You’ll Need

  • The login credentials for the gmail or Google account that your company uses for managing other services you probably already have in place like Google Analytics, Feedburner, or Google Webmaster Tools
  • A person at your company who can modify the HTML code of your corporate website(s).

STEP ONE: Create an Official Google Plus Page for your Company or Brand

Using the login credentials used for other Google services described above, log in at plus.google.com. Once inside, look towards the lower right on the page where it reads, “Create a Google+ Page”.

Google Plus

You’ll then be guided through the next steps to create your official Google+ page, including being able to select whether you’re creating a page for brand, local business, company, or other entity. Go ahead and follow the instructions there and make sure you fill in the section of your page’s Profile where it allows you to enter your Website. Don’t worry about putting all the finishing touches on a fully operational, content-rich page yet. If you must, you can upload a corporate logo to represent your organization there but the only thing we really need is to create the Google+ page itself. You can invite the brand manager to contribute later!

Before moving on to the next step, copy and paste the URL of the newly-created Google+ page someplace handy. You’ll need it in the next step. It should look something like this, which is Cyveillance’s Google+ page:

https://plus.google.com/100288787145411637689/

STEP TWO: Link to your newly-created Google+ page from your corporate website

There’s an easy way to tell Google that a specific website like acmecompany.com “belongs” to a its respective Google Plus page. In the end we always want to reduce the guessing Google has to do, translating into a tighter “identity” from Google’s perspective about your company or brand. So here’s what you do…

Swapping out the URL below for the URL to your company’s new Google+ page, insert the following code into the HTML HEAD section of the page you entered as your Website of your Google+ profile in Step One a moment ago.

Google+ Publisher link

Don’t worry! This will not create any visible change to the website that people will notice but when the Google search engine comes and visits the site it’ll see the feedback loop confirming that this website “belongs to” the same entity as your newly-created Google Plus page.

For reference, Google’s official instructions for this tip is found at this page. Google strongly prefers that you use the method where you include a visual link to your Google+ right on your homepage. You have that option if you want too, but this gets the job done without changing anything about the design your company’s web team has worked so hard on.

STEP THREE: Monitor Google+ for activity that can damage your company or brand and report offenders to Google

It doesn’t matter if it’s twitter, Facebook, MySpace – Cyveillance sees impersonators and fraudsters on every social media platform that comes along. While it may not be inevitable that someone sets up a fake Google+ page for your company, if that does happen Google has a handy reporting tool you can use to quickly communicate the problem.

Google + Report Impersonation

Congratulations, you’ve now covered your bases defensively for successful Google+ use. The stage is set for your marketing team to put Google+ to work for you now!

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