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What in the World Wide Web is Google+ or Google Plus anyway? You’re part of it, aren’t you? The early adopters have their tidy Google circles, a growing membership in others’ circles, and a fuzzy idea of what they're doing. But do they have a clearly defined strategy?
More to the point, if we are SEO consultants or professionals, do we know what to tell our clients about Google+? Can we explain the SEO upside to it? Do we really get it?
Here’s the question: Are we winning on Google+?
Unless you’re reading this, Matt Cutts or Bradley Horowitz, I doubt it.
If you already know that Google+ is a really big deal, you’re on the right track. This is no mere Facebook competitor — a wannabe that will fizzle out in the fight against the big blue social behemoth. Instead, Google+ is a new way of search, a new form of identity, and a powerful weapon in the SEO arsenal.
Basically, Google+ is changing search as we know it, and if you call yourself an SEO expert you need to know how to make hay.
Where We’re Going in this Article
This article is not going to divulge all the deep dark secrets of Google+. Nobody knows all the deep dark secrets. What we do know is simple.
Here is the premise: Google+ is really important for SEO.
Because that is true, you must take action. The action steps we outline below will improve your presence and power on Google+. As this happens, your SEO will improve, too. Watch and see.
1. Get on Google+ and fill in all the blanks.
When the world first heard rumblings of Google+, whispers of “Facebook slayer” could be heard. Such prognostications are passé. Horowitz himself stated, “It’s much broader in scope. This is something that will impact Google.” For all its glorious breadth, Google+ is a still a multi-dimensional social platform. Therefore, be present. Just as you curate your LinkedIn resume and post to your Facebook wall, so you must intentionally manage your Google+ profile.
Your profile is your SEO. AJ Kohn, a self-described Google+ addict, has bored deep into the search facets and results of Google+. His discoveries reveal this crucial fact: Everything you put in your profile — where you live, what you do, what you like, what you’re looking for, where you were educated — will register in Google+’s internal search. In other words, your profile is the soil for solid SEO.
There’s more to this than internal search, though. SEOMoz heralded Google+ as an “SEO juggernaut” that will “dominate search results.” That’s not just journalistic hype. That’s solid information. Do a quick Google search for your name or the name of a colleague. What shows up in the right-hand column of your search results? It’s data culled from Google+.
Capitalising on the SEO power of Google+ starts with something as simple as filling in all of your personal information, and optimizing that content to match your goals.
2. Become a Google verified author.
To improve your visibility in search results, you’ll need to have Google authorship. When you gain Google authorship, your picture will appear in search results next to content that you wrote. Having a photo of your smiling face in search results increases CTR by 484%, according to Douglass Karr (even if you’re not smiling). What’s more, authorship enhances your reputation and personal branding.
Getting verified is simple. Simply make sure your photo is on Google+, include your real name in the article’s byline, and confirm your email address. That’s it. You’re good to go.
For a quick overview of how to get verified visit https://plus.google.com/authorship.
Next, you should manually manage your contributions in your Google+ profile. Look for the “contributor to” section in order to edit the pages and URLs of content you created.
Verification is simple, yes, but it does take some time. Going through all your content, adding links, and listing your contributions is tedious. However, what you’re doing is dramatically improving your online presence. When viewed through the lens of ROI, what you have is a no-cost method of improving SEO. To reiterate the point made previously, boosting your Google+ input and authorship will also boost your SEO.
Google+ is intensively social. Therefore, socialise. Getting social is the way to build your platform and to appear more often. The more you appear, the bigger your presence will grow. The more presence you have, the better SEO you have achieved.
For most readers, online socialising is not new territory. We know how to share, like, and comment. Google+ is not much different. It is, however, much bigger in terms of the net effect of your sharing, +1ing, and commenting. That net effect is, of course, a positive impact on search. The following tips provide some easy socialising actions that should become part of your daily routine.
- Add and use the Google +1 button wherever possible. The more you click +1, the more visibility is gained. In one experiment, a company whose page received more than 70 +1s gained a 20% CTR increase. Not a bad SEO boost for a free little button.
- Include relevant users within your circles. Hopefully, they’ll add you back. Being part of someone’s circle will place you in all kinds of visible situations. Obviously, you cannot force your way into circles. You can, however, generously add others to your own.
- Join communities and start communities. Using Google “communities” provides instant access to groups and even more visibility. If you happen to be one of the 41,302 members in the “Joke of the Day” community, you may appear in someone’s community page. Thankfully, there are communities for nearly every imaginable interest — from Call of Duty fans to Plato’s Republic readers. You can create your own or find a niche community, and massively improve your influence and SEO.
- Share other people’s content. Like any social setting, don’t make the conversation all about you. Twitter users have learned this aspect of online social etiquette. It applies to Google+. Be a sharer.
The titanic power of Google+ is still being explored. As Google rolls out algorithmic changes in the coming months, the power of Google+ will become more and more apparent.
Most of our activity right now consists of building igloos on the iceberg, with little knowledge of what looms beneath. But at least we’re building something. That “something,” as it turns out, is an SEO game changer. The individuals and organizations that scoffed Google+ as a faux Facebook are now scrambling to catch up.
Google+ is incredibly important. You may ignore Google+ at your peril. Or, you may engage and win.