How To Harness Google Plus For Your Small Business

Blog > How To Harness Google Plus For Your Small Business

Posted By Create

Tags: social media, SEO, Google

With Facebook revamping its News Feed to, among other things, display images, videos and check-ins in a way much more like Google+'s, now seems like a good time to reassess the search engine's bold entry into the world of social networking. Did it fulfil social media prophets' cries that it would be a Facebook killer? And more to the point, did it ever need to?

When Google+ was launched to much excitement and hyperbole in 2011, it was easy to see why many thought it was "challenging Facebook". With little more than 'Circles' replacing 'friends' and natural integration with other Google products as differentiating features it was always going to have a hard time going up against the twin-headed Facebooktwitter beast.

However, since launch Google+ has managed to place itself firmly as the professional's social network, putting it somewhere between Facebook and LinkedIn in terms of function, and an impressive No. 2 in active usage after Facebook. There are several refinements to its service, such as requiring your real name, that may have led to this, but probably the most important is the (admittedly questionable) way in which the Google search engine now favours web articles that have been posted and shared on Google+.

Google Gets Real

Eric Schmidt Google+ QuoteIf you're doing a lot of writing for your blog (if you're not, you should be!) and you want to see these blog posts appearing in more search results and making a difference to your SEO, you'll want to ensure you've set up a professional and active personal Google+ account on which to link to these posts. 

As Google's former CEO Eric Schmidt said early this year:

“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

These 'verified online profiles' are of course Google+ profiles, which are part of Google's efforts to de-anonymise internet publishing, requiring your real name and linking your Google Account across all Google products you use. In light of this, when you set up your Google+ profile it's important to provide as much personal detail as possible (real name, career history, education), in the same way you would on LinkedIn in order to connect with relevant people in your sector.

If privacy is a concern you might want to think twice about giving these details to an internet giant with a history of privacy management that's patchy at best. However, as anyone in SEO knows, Google write the rules so until there's a free and anonymous alternative to boosting your content's search engine rankings so easily, Google+ is currently the best option out there.

Twelve Top Tips: Using Google+ To Improve Your Search Ranking

Start using Google+ to improve both your audience reach and your website and blog's SEO with these twelve tips. 

  • Set up a professional Google+ account with your real name

    If possible use the same Google Account you use to log in to Google Analytics and YouTube. Google will notice this across-the-board use of its services which will help it to verify you as an author in Google search rankings. If you have a business Google+ page, make sure you're managing it from your personal Google+ profile.
  • Link your website to your Google+ profile

    To ensure Google can verify you as an author, follow these steps to add a Google+ link to your blog page, complete with the all-important 'rel="author"' tag.*
  • Get in people's Google+ Circles

    Much as you do with Facebook and Twitter, make sure you're following a lot of people who write and post content relevant to your industry. This will increase the chances of you being followed back and your posts being seen by more people. The number of Circles you're in greatly improves what Google sees as your 'authority' on a particular topic. Another benefit is that people who add you to their Circles see your posts higher in Google search results.
  • Be a consistent authority

     Make sure the content you post on Google+ is primarily about your business. If Google detects that you're writing about everything from your cats to the state of the Ghanan economy it will find it much harder to pin down the topic you are an authority on.
  • Image is (still) everything

    As much as it's important to post links on Google+, the nature of us as people with busy lives means that easily-consumed content like images or videos still trumps links in terms of sharability, so be sure to complement links to your blog with interesting and relevant images from your business.
  • Write for Google+

    Google has been shown to look favourably on Google+ content with many comments attached to it. When you post a link to your blog, people will follow it and read the blog post. Great stuff. But if you complement this with sometimes writing topical and lengthy content exclusively and directly on Google+, the chances of people getting involved in the discussion and leaving comments are far greater.
  • Get tagging

    Like Facebook, Google+ allows you to 'tag' people, places and companies in your posts. If you're talking about someone or something in a post, just type '@' and then their name to find them on Google+ and tag them. This will get their attention and draw more people to your profile, and ultimately your website.
  • Make a hash of it

    Like Twitter and soon Facebook, Google+ supports hashtags so feel free to sprinkle them liberally across your posts for easier indexing and searching of your content.
  • Take a great cover photo

    Like Facebook (you may be sensing a trend here), Google+ profiles now come topped with a large image of your choosing, above your profile picture. This cover photo will appear in previews of your profile when people hover over your Google+ name, so make sure it's clear, attractive, interesting and looks good when viewed much smaller.
  • Make a contribution

    Once you've set up your Google+ profile, click the 'About' tab and scroll down to the 'Links' section. Whether you're writing for a small company blog or you're a prolific and opinionated blogger elsewhere, add links to the blogs you write for in the 'Contributor to' section. And below that, be sure to add a link to your own website in the 'Links' field. Feel free to add links to your other social media profiles like Facebook and Twitter in the 'Other profiles' section, too.
  • Comment regularly

    Google not only looks at comments you've received on your Google+ posts but comments you've posted on others' Google+ posts. If your comments receive a lot of attention and '+1's (Google+'s version of Facebook's 'Like') Google will know you're an active user who has a positive influence on social discussions.
  • Be patient

     Like all attempts to boost SEO these efforts won't make a difference to your site's search ranking overnight, but stick with it and over time you may well see a positive effect.
  • BONUS TIP! Let your circles share your website

     Using Create's widget, add a '+1' button to your website to make it easy for those visiting it to share your pages with their circles on Google+.

Whether you're just about to set up a Google+ account, you're an avid user or you're revisiting and dusting off a dormant profile, make sure you follow Create on Google+ to get the latest ecommerce and digital marketing news and announcements from Create.

*If you need help linking your content to your Google+ profile, your Customer Account Manager will be happy to help.


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