Google+ has been an active juggernaut in the social networking game since the middle of 2011 but we’re just now seeing the importance (and force) that Google is putting behind their platform.
Search Engine Optimization will evolve yet again, as it always has, because of the introduction of the Google+ network. Accounts linked on Google+ already show a significant difference in search results which means your previous work with SEO could be in jeopardy amongst the tech-savvy individuals that are a part of the network (that may also be your customers).
In this article, I’ll be sharing the in’s and out’s of creating an effective Google+ SEO strategy, why you need to get on board with this and a few other speculations that may be worth exploring, for your brand, in the coming year.
Why Google+ SEO will be a BIG Deal
Sheesh, another social network I need to be active on?
You should be because Google has begun to integrate Google+ (and Google accounts) into search results for members that are logged in; considering that there are millions of Google accounts – this is a major game changer when it comes to search engine optimization.
There are three obvious changes at this time that we can see:
- Personalized Search. Google now uses your search history AND your friends suggestions as part of your search results. Before, your frequency with visiting websites would change what’s displayed in Google results but G+ has added a new social layer where you can view other websites your friends and associates enjoy along with suggestions; this jumbles around the results which means that it does the same for other people signed into the network.
- Google+ Profiles in Sidebar. Up in the top-right corner, where you’d expect to find ads, you’ll now begin to see members of Google+ that rank well for their specific terms. Go ahead, type in ‘Affiliate Marketing’, while logged into Google+, and you’ll notice at least two profiles that are displayed up at the top. Imagine how effective this could be if you too claimed your search term; people would notice you as the authority and your following would grow like crazy.
- Profile Prominence. When logged into your Google account, your G+ profile has major prominence over any other location you have around the web. I, personally, have a website I’ve been working on for nearly three years which is bumped down by my Google+ profile. Your profile, in essence, is becoming more powerful than your actual website; makes you aware that you need to keep your profile updated and focused to pull in new followers.
Game changer? Certainly. Your network and influence are going to have a major impact whether you’re active on the Google+ social network. Results will obviously vary for many people but the whole idea is to become an authority in a niche anyway; Google+ is now filtering those results which means what you see – someone else does too.
A Practical, Effective Google+ SEO Strategy
Now let’s get into the moment you’ve been waiting for – actually using Google+ as an SEO strategy.
To begin, I’d like to open up why each strategy matters and then explain some of the basics of how to achieve the desired results; it’s always best to understand why you’re doing it than blindly following.
1. A Complete, Optimized Google+ Profile
The very first item you should focus on, in Google+, is to complete your profile because this is where everything stems from and how people find you.
Like every SEO best practice, it’s still relatively unknown into what factors really matter to get the best ranking (Google keeps this a secret, obviously) but we can do a process of elimination to figure out the items that seem to matter most.
So far, these elements of your Google+ profile seem to have an impact on your SEO:
- The About Me. This is where you’ll want to fill in an organic description of yourself without being too overly promotional and spammy.
- Your Circles. The amount of Circles you’re in seems to have a major impact on your Google+ SEO because it alerts Google that you’re someone worthwhile and authoritative (it’s a spider indexing you so take no offense).
Other little factors that have come into play are the images you share on Google+ and your profile. My own pictures I’ve uploaded to my G+ profile now show as top results when I Google my name (while logged into my account).
2. Unique, Discussion-Worthy Information
Back to the old “content is king” line; Google+ is taking what you post in Google+ as part of their search results if the content is unique and discussion-worthy.
Note the later part specifically; you can blast all the posts you want on the network but the ones that rise to the top are topics that have many people actively engaged in discussion and +1’ing them from other authority-types.
Here are a few things to focus on with your Google+ content:
- Share content that’s only available on Google+; treat it like a new blog
- Upload a ton of new pictures and videos
- Link to people within the network to generate interesting discussions (@name)
- Try to be active in using the +1 feature ( and get others to do the same)
- Add people to circles and share information to them
- Respond when people engage you
In Google search results (while logged in), you’ll begin to notice that there are far more emphasis on articles and content shared on the Google+ network. These results are beginning to spill over onto other’s results if the content is worthwhile – just like Google has been doing for years.
3. Google+ Pages? Maybe.
Google+ also has begun to offer pages for local businesses, brands, companies, entertainers and other types just like Facebook pages.
It’s not entirely clear how much these pages will be implemented and rank for SEO at this time but knowing how quickly Google adopted Google+ in their results – it’s worthwhile to go ahead and setup your page (it doesn’t take all that long anyway).
These pages may not necessarily need to be specifically about you; they can be used for your business, website or any other item you wish to focus on – you can bounce between your main profile so it’s, in many ways, a secondary account within your profile.
Some of the major factors on pages seem to be:
- Page Name
- Authorized (using the ‘publisher’ link)
- Organization connected to the Google+ page
- 1,000 people added your G+ page
Once you’re done with that, you can verify your page; this gets the ball rolling with your SEO.
Other Factors worth Noting about Google+
Before I let you go, I want to share a few other items that are having effects on Google+ SEO. At this time, it’s not entirely known how much of an impact each has but they add to the overall strategy so they’re worth integrating.
For example …
- Use the +1 button frequently when you’re browsing the web; also, add a +1 button to your own website for people to easily share on Google+.
- Create content, within Google+, using the same type of formatting you would on your blog; don’t just throw around a quick link – actively take time to add to the discussion as if you’re writing a news snippet about what you’re sharing first.
- Actively use Google+ every day; treat it like an extension of your brand. Yes, it means more work but it’s not going away so integrate it now and reap the rewards down the line.
All in all, Google+ is well worth divulging time to improve your overall SEO but it does have a few best practices of its own. Use the tactics and strategies detailed in this post to improve your rankings with Google+; it’s the next big thing, get on the wave and ride it out.