Are you plussed up yet? Google Plus has been a much debated subject in the world of SEO and social media, but is it really any use for online marketing purposes?
The short answer is yes – it’s a Google product, people, and even if you can’t stand it, it’s going to be beneficial in boosting your position in Google search results.
The long answer is, well, yes, but its results aren’t necessarily direct and straightforward (or even all that tangible). But there are a few simple steps to help you start to make use of it, and work out how Google+ works with search results. On a user-level, it’s unlikely that there are reams of your customers regularly using G+ (sorry, Google!), but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it, or that you can’t use Google+ to make an impact on your ranking.
Setting up a Google Plus Business Page
When you set up your business page, your page title, meta description and introduction are all going to contribute to your search ranking, just as they would on a website page. If your business name doesn’t include one of your targeted keywords, then see if you can add it to your page title (in a natural and aesthetically pleasing way!). You also have the option to add a tagline, or meta description, underneath your title – use this to add in another keyword or two to describe your business and make it easily searchable.
In your introduction and general information section you have much more space to provide useful and in-depth information about your company – include your location for local targeting purposes, as well as a list of your products and services, your opening hours, website, phone number and anything else your customers will want to know. Valuable search keywords should pop up naturally throughout this text, and, as always, well-written content is far more user-friendly (and search-friendly) than a long list of spammy keywords.
You can also add photos and videos to your Google Plus page’s gallery – these can include keywords too so make them relevant and likely to be searched for.
And finally, you have the Recommended Links section – make use of this by hooking up with your company’s social media profiles, blog and any other points of contact or useful resources online.
Now you have a G+ page, use it! Start posting links, multimedia, updates and info. Search for your keywords, find relevant people and pages to follow and stick them in your Circles. +1 and share content that you like, comment and interact – with Google Plus you need get social to help your SEO. By showing you’re an active user (and that you have useful content to share), other people will (hopefully) start to add you to their Circles and +1 your posts, and so your audience will grow… Unfortunately at this point in time there’s no way to auto-post from a blog or social media profile or manager, so you’ll have to do it manually, but even just adding a post a day or a few posts a week is – according to early tests – enough to make a small difference.
Google Plus and Search
By making use of your Google+ page and adding keywords into your info, links, pictures and videos – all of these should turn up in relevant Search Plus Your World results. You must also connect your G+ page and your website by adding G+ code to your site, or sticking a Google+ badge on your pages, and don’t forget to add your website URL to your G+ page info.
A small number of G+ pages are searchable via Google by using the Direct Connect service which basically allows users to search for a company’s G+ page by entering the brand name with a + in front of it, such as +youtube or +pepsi. There are plans to roll this service out more widely in time, but obviously your eligibility will depend on your popularity, relevancy and activity. So get G-plussing!
And finally, let’s quickly talk about the little red +1 button. Right now the link between the amount of +1s a page has and its search ranking is indirect. More +1s does not necessarily mean it will naturally rank higher – it works in a more social, word-of-mouth way by flagging up content that you’ve ‘approved of’ to your friends. Search Plus Your World results show whether your friends have +1ed a particular result, and as we all know, we’re more likely to follow a link that someone we know has already looked at… For non signed in searches, users can still see the number of +1s a result has received, and are potentially more likely to choose a more popular link.
In general, a highly +1ed link has the potential to be shared more often, and should therefore end up with a higher CTR (click-through-rate), which will in turn boost search rankings (and so on and on and on)…
Using Google+ For SEO
So, to sum up, what can G+ do for my SEO?
- G+ belongs to Google, so making use of it gives you an automatic advantage within Google results
- The more valuable G+ becomes, the more people will use it, so it’s worth getting on board NOW
- G+ activity can boost your SEO results in a socially organic way
- By using simple traditional SEO techniques (keywords, link building and URL structure) you can use G+ to increase your ranking
- Search Plus Your World uses your G+ info to tailor results for your friends and contacts
- The +1 button indirectly (but effectively) can boost your search ranking