Google+ has come a long way from the desolated social network in 2011 with 10 million users to the 500 million user base it has today. I mean many of you may or may not remember that Google+ used to be called Google Circles (thank goodness we didn’t stick with that winning name) in the field test stages. One thing most SEO’s are starting to say a lot is that Google+ can be incredibly beneficial to any business or organization. It’s hard enough to compete with businesses that have been around for years but Google+ helps you give a fighting chance. There are ways to combat the big guys and the best advantage is to be one step ahead and invest in your social presence. First here are some reasons why you should use Google+ in the first place.
- It integrates incredibly well with other Google services like Local or Maps. When someone searches for your business your profile picture will show up next to your search result (make sure your Google authorship is set up correctly) and it’ll inherently give your business more credibility.
- Target your demographics much smarter and easier by joining communities and interacting with the people who like your content. It’s also a great way to crowdsource content ideas and find out what people do and don’t like about your industry. It’s also great to network with others as well as opportunities to blog comment and develop relationships.
- This also goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that Google+ is future proof. Over time your Google+ page or Google+ Business page will mature and end up giving you awesome domain and page authority that will pass on it’s powers to your website (make sure you add a link in your About page, especially the contributor part).
- Posting breaking news or high quality content will rank first on Google+ or at least Chris Winfield found this to be true which he wrote about in his blog post.
The Do’s and Don’ts
Now that you know the reasons why Google+ is a must you should also know some proper etiquette when posting content or sharing it within circles or communities. The last thing you want is to have a big black mark on across your business and report you as spam. Just remember that your ultimate goal is to build your brand equity and Google+ is one of the best ways to do this. So let’s jump into the do’s and don’ts.
Publishing Your Posts and Messages on Your Page
Google+ is an awesome place to distribute your content. Not only are you building up your page authority but you get tons of followers in the process! It seems trying to get followers on Facebook or Twitter can be really tough for any business starting out, but just by posting some great content you can win a lot of fans over.
- Act like yourself and let your personality shine through a little. People want to see the culture of your company and not a generic post.
- Share your post with relevant communities and circles. Posting in a relevant community can get you referral traffic to your website as well as constructive feedback or insights.
- Not only should you be posting your content but you should also be +1’ing others as well as re-sharing it (if you feel so). People love those +1’s as much as you do and knowing that you like their content will create a better rapport.
- When talking about another person you should always include them by typing the @ + name to get their attention. People love to know what good things you have said about them or generally just referencing them. It helps a lot more than you realize.
- Add relevant hash tags to your content. People think hash tags are only in the twitterverse but it is definitely used in Google+ as well.
- Do not have 5 posts within 1 hour that dominates their feed. It’s one way to really annoy your audience. Just be respectful and only post really good content every few hours or 3 posts a day.
- Do not notify your users every time you have a new post otherwise they will get annoyed and be removing you as soon as possible.
- Do not post all your posts to all of your circles and communities if it doesn’t relate to all.
- Leave your private pictures where they belong…privately. Don’t post your photos on your page that is a no brainer for most but we want to leave no stone unturned here.
- Don’t reshare something you think is awesome and lead people to believe it is your own. Make sure you mention the original author in your post.
Do You Even Know All the Features of Google+?
Now that you know the important do’s and don’ts of Google+ you should take a look at the available features. No matter how small or basic there is something here you may have not heard of or you can use to your advantage. Let’s go through a quick rundown:
- Circles – enables you to organize people into groups
- Hangouts – a place to have a group video chat
- Instant Uploads – is only for mobile devices but it allows you to save to a private album where you can share later
- Explore (Formerly known as Spark) – where you can explore what’s trending as well as suggested interests and communities.
- Ripples – is a visualization tool that shows how the resharing activity happens in regarding a post. (To use just go to the top right of your post and click on the upside triangle in grey then click on view ripples)
- Creative Kit – an online photo editor integrated into Google+. You can actually have some fun with this or add text right on the image
- Google+ Pages – allows organizations or companies to set up profiles or “pages” for posting.
- Google+ Local – this replaced Google Places but this allows users to leave reviews or post photos to the business location.
- Google+ Events – allows users to add events and invite people as well as share media in real time from the event.
- Google+ Communities – allows people to create ongoing conversations about particular topics. If you manage a Google+ Page you can also create a community.
Well hopefully you have been able to get something out of this. Even if you are an experienced veteran there should be at least one of those Google+ features you haven’t thought about using to your advantage. One feature I have been using more and more is the ripple feature as I can really gauge how well my posts did. Another one we didn’t cover a whole lot in this post is Google + Hangouts, I have found them to be incredibly engaging as you can ask questions and meet others like yourself. There’s a great post on how to use Google+ Hangouts for SEO that I recommend you check out. Just remember to use the communities and get really involved. Nothing pays off better than a great contact or fan of your company.
Let me know in the comments if you have any features I should have mentioned or perhaps other great reasons why Google+ is important. Have fun out there and best of luck to everyone!