It’s been around for a while, and you surely have an opinion on whether you should invest your time into learning how it works. Your Facebook and Twitter, perhaps Pinterest campaigns are doing well (or not), and other social network, hum… do you really need to juggle another one? Well, the short answer would be: if you have any intention of bringing Google traffic to your website, yes, you should.
There’s “Google” in it, darn it!
Google Plus is a product of Google, and it was expected to see them pushing their network. Shares on Twitter and Facebook, in fact every social activity that includes a large number of people interacting with your stuff in any way, gets you points when it comes to SEO, but the points you can get from Google Plus seem to be what counts the most.
Google Plus is not primarily a social network, although there are befriending and sharing options – and you shouldn’t think of it that way. The number of +1s and circles you’re in, your interactions with the people in your circles and their interaction with you can give you the status of “power user”, but becoming a power user isn’t the goal by itself: the secret is in the integration of several Google’s products.
If you’re an author, for example (you write and publish your content online and you’ve claimed the authorship over your content using the rel=author markup), being a power user dramatically increases your author rank, giving much more authority to your own and to the blogs you post on. It’s like the new Page Rank, only much more complicated, and much more difficult to manipulate.
So what should you do to make it work for you?
There are no easy answers nor surefire how to’s, but the general rule of thumb is to become active on Google Plus ASAP, to spread your circles and the circles you’re in, to create and promote the hell out of your business page – in a word, to dominate the Google Plus world in any way you can.
Becoming a power user is certainly not easy (like on any other network), but the general SM rules apply here too: connect with people, share interesting stuff (not just your own), comment on their stuff, be nice, be informed and show it. The more engaged people you have in your circles and vice versa, the bigger authority you will have. While you’re at it, you should keep in mind that almost everything you put on Google Plus gets indexed by Google, and very fast, so don’t forget to use keywords wisely. Use this fact to be among the first ones to share the latest news: Google will pick it up very fast, so everyone searching to find out more about it will see your Google Plus profile among the first results, and they may decide to add you to their circles if they perceive you as someone who is well informed.
Setting up your business page is the next thing you absolutely have to do, especially if you have a locally based business. After filling all the boxes, claiming your business on Google Maps and adding all the pictures, the next thing you want to do is to get as many reviews as you can. Not only will they help your future clients to find out more about your business, but they will also help your website (if you’ve linked it to your Google Plus profile and page) with organic rankings. To get more reviews you can start by emailing your existing clients, or by leaving reviews on your business partners’ pages and asking them to do the same for you.
Share and comment like crazy! You can do this as page or as a person, but either way include others in your posts by tagging them; encourage people to engage with you in your status updates by asking them a question, and make sure that you answer all of them. Keep in mind though, Google Plus is not Facebook, and people there are following you because you share information that is useful for them, not because they’re looking to be entertained.
Spend half an hour every day on your Google Plus, make it be a commitment. It may not have the power of Twitter in spreading the word, but there are other uses for it that make it an irreplaceable tool in your online marketing strategy.
Jeff Gross is an SEO expert and content contributor at www.serijskiubojica.hr. One of the first things he did when they hired him was optimizing their Google + profile.