Feb 27, 2014 • Jessica Jones
In our ongoing inbound marketing series we’ve discussed quite a few social media platforms. While inbound marketing and SEO go hand-in-hand, Google+ is a better fit for the DIY SEO series because your reasons for using it are likely going to be more driven by the SEO benefit than the inbound marketing benefit.
Although Google+ usage statistics continue to grow, it still doesn’t see the amount of social media use as Facebook. This doesn’t mean that you should discount it as a social media option - it does have a strong, and loyal, user base, even if it doesn’t have the numbers of Facebook. No one has the numbers of Facebook - not yet, at least. Perhaps someday something will rise up to slay the Facebook dragon - or a new wave of options will push it into the background to slowly go the way of MySpace - but today is not that day.
When Google+ was first launched rumors flew that it might be that slayer, but obviously that hasn’t happened. The fact that it hasn’t taken the entire social media world by storm has caused some people to discount it or consider it to be a flop, but that is far from the case. It is a continuously growing medium, and personally I’m not yet ready to discount the possibility that it will, in time, overtake Facebook, but time will tell. Even if that never happens, Google+ is an extremely useful tool if you know what that tool’s strengths are.
First and foremost, let’s not forget that Google+ is a part of Google. Which search engine is it that has everyone scrambling to play by their rules? If you haven’t created a business profile directly on their home turf, you can bet you’re missing out on SEO opportunities. Google+ is intimately tied to Google’s search engine, and Google+ content is indexed and ranked just like other pages on the internet.
Even if you don’t use Google+ actively, having a business account is going to be beneficial to you. One is created for you automatically when you claim your Google Local listing, which you should absolutely do if you haven’t already. If you fill in all of your business information - hours, description, etc. - on your Google Local listing, that information will carry over to your Google+ page. Google+ and Google Local are tightly linked, so it’s possible you’ve already got a Google+ page, even if you don’t realize it. There’s no reason not to take a few extra minutes and personalize it, updating your cover photo and your profile picture - make sure and get your business’s logo in there somewhere!
There are multiple benefits to having a Google+ account. One is that information from your Google Local and Google+ account will carry across Google’s many divisions - this means that your business’s description, photos you’ve added to your account, even your business hours may show up in Google search results or Google Maps listings. Another element that can carry over is your customer reviews. Encouraging your customer base to leave positive reviews on your Google+ page can be good for your SEO as well as being encouraging to potential new customers who see your listing and the high star rating that’s attached to it!
If you blog regularly on your site then you can also use Google+ to set up Google Authorship, which will link the content you create on your website to your Google+ profile. This allows information about you to be shown in the results when your content shows up in a search - including your Google+ profile picture, which is obviously an advantage when users are scanning for a result to click on.
Being connected to a Google verified author also gives your content more weight in search rankings, so your blog articles are more likely to show up in searches to begin with, and then more likely to be clicked on if your headshot appears along with your byline!
<figcaption id="caption-attachment-1661" class="wp-caption-text">Google+ Authorship makes your listing stand out in the crowd! (Until everyone else is doing it too, at least!)</figcaption></figure>
Being shared on Google+ will also improve your content’s rankings, and you’re much more likely to get Google+ shares if you actually participate on Google+, posting your content there and getting yourself added to circles. While Google says that +1s (Google+’s equivalent of “likes”) themselves do not directly affect page rank, when a user shares content on Google+ it generates a link back to that content and, as you can imagine, Google very efficiently indexes links on its own social media platform.
According to an in-depth (and somewhat controversial!) article that moz.com published about the correlation between Google +1s and page rank, “entire books can now be written on using Google+ to boost your SEO efforts.” Given that, it should come as no surprise when I say that this post has only just skimmed the surface of Google+’s potential. We may explore Google+ more thoroughly in future posts, but for now if I’ve convinced you that Google+ is an important tool for your SEO then I’ve accomplished my goal!