The way sites are found on the Web has changed significantly in recent years. Search engine optimization or “SEO,” a term that refers to how sites are found in online searches, is now more socially driven and is likely to become moreso thanks to Google Plus (Google+). We recommend building a following on Google+ as an integral part of your online strategy as we expect it will play an increasingly important role in internet marketing going forward.
Since using Google+ to its full potential can be game changer for business, we are providing this post as an orientation to the social platform. Here are 10 things you need to know:
- The “+1” button on Google+ is equivalent to the Facebook “Like.” It’s the quickest, easiest way for readers to respond to a post. To attract +1s to your content, use short bite-size posts with a relevant, interesting photo or graphic. Google Search favors sites whose posts and pages have more +1s, an indication of social credibility. According to a study by Searchmetrics, social signals (likes, favorites, +1s, retweets, etc.) make up seven out of the eight most likely correlated ranking factors in Google search results. The study also revealed that +1s have the highest connection to search ranking factors, followed closely by the number of backlinks, Facebook shares and total Facebook responses (shares, likes and comments).
- By using targeted keywords in your Google+ posts and profile, your content will show up in searches for those words. This will help you build authority and credibility on Google, as the keywords will point SEO-rich links to your site when they are shared. Make the most of your Google+ presence by fully completing the “about” section using targeted keywords and your website URL (address). Promote your page by adding a “G+” badge on your website’s homepage, blog, etc.
- Google+ has some great tools for customizing pictures. Use these and other tools you have available to create variety in your posts. Applying some tasteful creativity can add interest to your content and help you gain +1s.
- Google+ Local is designed especially for businesses to promote who they are, what they offer and where they are located. If your customers are primarily local, we recommend using this feature as it increases your visibility, encourages customer engagement by inviting comments and reviews, integrates with Google Maps to provide contact info and hours of operation, and can result in a higher page rank (where your site shows up in search listings) with content updated on a regular basis. Keep your local information correct and up-to-date.
- Check out the Google Timing app. Timing is important, and this app determines the optimal time to share your posts based on responses to previous ones.
- Google Authorship links the content you create with your Google+ profile. (This is currently available only to individual profiles, not to business pages.) Use a basic photo and a consistent byline. When the Google Authorship is set up, create a complete linking loop (Google+ profile and a link to your site from Google+) by using the rel=author parameters. Add your website to the “contributor to” section on your Google+ profile (http://plus.google.com/me/about/edit). Google Authorship information typically does not show up immediately when you add a post. Check for your attribution a couple of days after publishing.
- Google+ gives you the option of sharing a post publicly or privately with only those in the circles you have selected. Sharing publicly makes your post available to anyone searching with Google (not only those on Google+). In some cases, however, you may wish to share a post only within your Google circles (privately) – which makes it beneficial to be connected to more people on Google+.
- Decide whether you want Google+ posts to include or exclude an embedded link. Embedding the link will result in a thumbnail and some text in the post; excluding it lets you add a large picture and include only the link. The first option will typically result in stronger page ranking, while the second may result in more engagement. Choose which one is more important for your post.
- Create solid content and post consistently at least three times a week. Posts can show a depth of knowledge on a particular topic; build relationships by adding to a thread or conversation; promote a product; support a cause, organization or belief; or merely entertain readers with something amusing or unique. Include relevant keywords with hashtags (#) to have your posts show up when users search for the hashtag term or topic.
- Building relationships with your followers on Google+ adds not only personal value but also search value that gets noticed by Google and other search engines. Posts on Google+ are crawled and indexed immediately – unlike those on other sites or social media platforms. So frequent posts on Google+ are more quickly reflected in your SEO page rank.
Stay tuned … in our next post we will provide more tips on using Google+ to help you get noticed online. Please contact us anytime if you would like us to help you with your presence on Google+.