If you run a small business and have started putting together an online marketing campaign, then you are probably aware of the importance of gaining high search rankings. You are probably also aware that there are many things you can and should do to achieve your desired rankings. What you may not be aware of is that Google+ can be a very effective tool for achieving the kind of results you want from your efforts at optimizing your web pages for search.
True, Facebook is leagues ahead of Google+ in terms of the total number of active users, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should just ignore the latter. It is still the world’s third largest social platform (after Facebook and Twitter) and it has about 540 million active users each month! Now that’s not a paltry number, is it? Besides, Google+ also holds the distinction of having more engaged users, compared to other social sites.
A 2014 Forbes survey found that the content you post on Google+ typically generates twice as much engagement as content posted on Twitter and about the same level of engagement as content posted on Facebook. Considering the discrepancy in the number of active users between Facebook and Google+, the survey results reveal that the percentage of engagement generated by Google+ content is much higher than that of Facebook! And one more thing: Google deems Google+ content worthy of high rankings (provided the content itself is of high quality, of course), so there’s really no reason for you to ignore this platform.
Another point to ponder is this: Facebook and Twitter both do not allow Google to access much of the data in their pages. Such is not the case with Google+, since it is a Google-owned social platform. This tells you that Facebook and Twitter are actually more limited in terms of SEO effectiveness. Google+, on the other hand, offers benefits well beyond being a social platform. The DoFollow Link makes it an excellent tool for SEO because it enables you to gain another quality link for every website you share.
If you’ve never used Google+, whether simply as a social platform or for optimization purposes, don’t fret. Here are a few tips on how you can improve your SEO results by making use of this platform:
1. Optimize your profile
One of the first steps you can take to ensure you maximize your use of Google+ as a tool for SEO is to thoroughly fill-out your profile. Note that your Google+ account is a sort of extension of your website, so it has to appear as professional as possible. Here are some of the things you can do:
SEO Title – Make sure this is the name of your business. Unlike the titles of your content, your Google+ title isn’t the place to use your keywords; keywords have very little, if any, Search Engine Optimization value in this case.
Page URL – Google+ allows you to customize your URL, so make sure it is clean and encourages easy recall. Make it easy for users to find you. Just like your page title, it is also advisable to stick to your brand and do away with keywords here.
Tagline and Introduction – The first few sentences in this section serve as the Meta Description for your page, and this is where you can use your most relevant keywords. Be sure to use the space wisely because it is limited to 160 characters. You should also remember to use the Authorship tool here because this tool informs Google that certain pieces of content were authored by you. And authorship is reflected on Google search results pages (SERPs) even when you aren’t logged into your Google+ account.
Links – Embed links to your website, blog, and other accounts on your Google+ profile. Doing so not only enhances the visibility of those pages, but also helps Google determine how relevant a particular page is to any given search.
2. Post content
As soon as your page is properly optimized, you’re ready to start posting content. As with any other social platform, all you need to do is post a teaser or summary of the content itself and then provide a link to the content. It’s best to keep your summary/teaser short and to place the link in the attachment area rather than the summary box. This enables you to benefit from the DoFollow feature. The best thing about links in Google+ is that they increase in value the more times your post is shared, +1d, and linked to.
Remember that the term “content” in this case doesn’t just refer to the updates you post on your account. It also refers to the comments you post on other people’s content, the replies you make to comments/questions on your posts, the +1s and shares you make of other quality posts, and the events/hangouts you facilitate. It may seem like too much of a hassle to do all these, but once you make it a habit to fit these tasks into your routine, it’ll take you just about ten minutes each day to manage.
3. Get followers
You’ve probably been told that quality always trumps quantity, even in using social media for online marketing purposes. Where Google+ is concerned, quantity is also very important in terms of the number of followers. One very simple reason for this is that your pages are likely to come up higher in SERPs when the person conducting a search for relevant keywords is following you on Google+, as opposed to someone who isn’t a follower.
So, how do you get more Google+ followers? Among the best things you can do is share your Google+ profile on your other social media accounts and link with them. This allows you to leverage your followers on those social networks. It is also a good idea to place a link to your Google+ page on your website, on your blog, and on any web page where it is allowed (forum profiles, your comments on other blogs/sites, etc.). You may also place a Google+ badge on your website.
4. Connect with industry influencers
Google+ is a place where stalking can be a good thing, provided that you do it right, of course. The platform has 17 notification triggers you can use to connect with industry influencers. By now you should already know that having a strong connection with industry leaders helps you gain authority and places you on the right track towards becoming an industry influencer yourself. So, make a list of the key influencers in your industry with whom you’d want to connect on Google+ and then start doing the following:
- Mention them in your posts – Not all of them in a single post, of course. And not on every single post. If you have a post that’s highly relevant to what one influencer does, then you may quote or mention him on that post. Be creative, but don’t go overboard.
- Share your posts with them – Again, not every post with everyone on your list. Determine which posts are most relevant to each person on your list and share accordingly. Of course, it’s always a good idea to share a post with the influencer mentioned on that particular post.
- Share posts in circles the influencers subscribe to
- Post relevant comments on the influencers’ posts
- Respond to comments they make on your posts
- Add the influencers to a circle
- Check their circles and suggest people to add
- Tag them in photos
- Tag a few of their photos – There may be times when they post photos that are highly relevant to you. Tag those photos.
- Suggest a profile photo to them
- Comment on photos they’re tagged in
- Comment on photos they’ve tagged
- Comment on photos after they post a comment on it
- Initiate conversations with them
- Invite them to events
- Remind them of upcoming events
- Participate in events they created – Any activity you engage in on their events will actually trigger a notification
Remember not to overdo the stalking, as that can get you banned from their inboxes permanently.
5. Track your results
You’ll never know if you’re on the right track in terms of benefitting fully from Google+ unless you keep track of your performance. You may assign custom links for your Google+ URLs to make it easy to track the statistics of each of those pages. The great thing about Google+ is that it provides you with a whole lot of tools for measuring and analyzing results. CircleCount, for example, shows you how the number of your followers has grown, how many of your posts have gone viral, and what your CircleRank score is in comparison to other profiles. You may then make the necessary adjustments to your strategy depending on the results of your analysis.
Google+ has indeed become a very valuable tool for SEO, which really shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, it is a Google product. So do yourself a favor and start leveraging Google+ NOW.