Social media is a critical part of a comprehensive marketing plan. In order for a business to succeed and draw in potential customers, it is helpful to have a significant online presence. The new Google algorithm demands quality content and does a much better job sniffing out black hat SEO strategies like cloaking and keyword stuffing. Legitimate businesses want to avoid these tactics and instead build up their online presence in authentic ways.

These days, you can find most companies on LinkedIn — the professional social network — but it’s a good idea to set up profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ as well. In fact, though Google+ is often overlooked, it is simple to set up and tremendously effective at increasing searchability on the web.

Google obviously places a premium on its own properties during the search process, so Google+ typically ranks high in search engine results when someone looks up your business. Read on for three steps you can take to set up a Google+ page for your company and grow your business over time.

Start at the Google+ site.

Step 1 — Pick a Category

When you first get started, you will be given several options for categorization. These include “Local business or Place”, “Product or brand”, “Company, Institution, or Organization”, “Arts, Entertainment or Sports”, or “Other”. Choose the description that best fits your company. If you select Company, for example, you will see this:

If you select Local Business or Place, you will see this:

Step 2 — Add the Basics

Include pertinent company information like the name, a link to the website, and then agree to terms and conditions.

Step 3 — Complete the Profile

Add additional details that are pertinent to your brand. This is a good place to add key terms to maximize search results and make it easier for people to find your business. Add a descriptive tagline or company motto. In the About section you will want to fill out the introduction, contact information, and additional links to your page like those to social media accounts and blogs.

A basic, brand new company profile on Google+ might look something like this sample page by FLH Company. There won’t be a ton of information in the beginning, but the basics are there and the company is easier to find during an online search.

The next steps for anyone managing Google+ business accounts include creating circles, following fans, and posting blogs and interesting content regularly. Build up an audience, boost engagement, and over time the Google+ page will start to rank highly during search.