For a long time, there has been discussion over whether or not SEO value is truly given to your website through social media. According to Matt Cutts, the internet will become more and more social as time passes. Yes, social media engagement does affect your SEO value, so get on the bandwagon and get networking. To all the skeptics that do not want to plunge and invest into a trend, it’s not a trend it’s essential and you’re missing out on the power that social networks brings to businesses and more importantly business sales.
Marketing journals are coming out with more astounding statistics on social media usage that has so lovingly been named socialnomics. Just to give you a statistical shocker, almost 50% of Facebook users say recommendations from their friends holds the greatest impact on their purchase behavior. This should say to all business owners if you can get more followers you have a way to influence almost 50% of each friends purchase behavior!
But, no, we get Facebook, what we don’t know is what to do with Google Plus.
The BIG Question: How Do I Use Google Plus?
Yikes! It’s really not about the technicalities of Google+ it is about the simplicities? How do we as marketers use Google plus to increase our SEO value, gain followers in our circles and take control of the +1 function? And in the end, is it worth it?
I will explain to you the perfect positioning of Google Plus, the functions it currently holds, how to optimize your Google Plus profile for SEO and finally my theories on why it hasn’t taken off.
The Positioning of Google Plus
It is no secret that Google Plus is in the game of social media because of its added SEO value. In my opinion, Google engineers have built Google+ to appear higher in search results. My opinion is based on the fact that when I share information on Facebook and share information on Google Plus, the Google Plus share will always show above the Facebook share. I believe that the positioning of this social media tool is undoubtedly strong, how can we wield this SEO power for our benefit?
By the way can you do me a favor and plus one this article now?
The Functioning of Google Plus Features
You can add people to your “circles” you can even add them without their knowledge or consent. In this fashion it is similar to Twitter, where you can follow as many people as you want and increase your network or information feed. But, adding them to your circles doesn’t necessarily mean you will get added back.
To increase your circles it is important to have accessibility to easily be added. The best way to accomplish this is to add the button on your website, posts, and even to the signatures in your e-mails. G+ is not at the forefront of people’s minds when they are trying to engage with you. It is rare that you can acquire more followers on Facebook when people spend up to 4 hours a day on Facebook. As I’ve always learned, if you want people to act, you need to make it simple and put it right in front of their face. And to ice that statement off, incentives always work great to get more followers.
The best way to think of this button is a “like” or “thumbs up” function. It is basically saying, you enjoyed whatever link was posted or you approve of this. This +1 metric is important to Google because one it speaks to the strength of an article, webpage, post or even author. Secondly, it works as an engagement metric. So, having a +1 button on your blog posts is important to indexing your content fast, spreading it virally and increasing your reach.
To increase your +1 engagement for your website is a trick I am still working on. It seems that it used to be Facebook sharing was the big go-to and now Twitter has astoundingly taken the lead, but how to push Google sharing to the top? I am still working on that. As far as accessibility it is important to add the +1 button to all your blog posts.
This +1 button is the most powerful metric for Google, by simply +1 your page you are able to rank higher for your business. Rand Fishkin, Founder of SEOmoz performed an experiment for a Vintage Scooter Helmet website, it was ranking 16th and by simply getting a group of people to +1 the page he was able to increase their rankings to the 6th position. This is huge! This is all the difference between capturing 25% of all traffic for that keyword over not even receiving an impression on the second page.
Most people like to install a WordPress plugin to add social media buttons to a website but you can also go to Google directly and get the code for a Google plus button.
5 Musts for Taking on Google Plus SEO
The hint to true Google Plus SEO is understanding that you can no longer be an anonymous contributor to the internet world. Instead, take advantage of your presence on the internet and optimize it for the value of your posts and business associated.
Sharing is Caring
The bigger your network the better, this concept is strewn throughout the core power of social media. Get users to engage with you, link to your profile, add you to their circles, +1 your articles, and re-share your articles.
Easier said than done, but the key to recent Google updates is the power of quality content. So do NOT start buying 5 dollar articles and posting them on your website at poor quality and sharing them on your Google profile. This will not help you and this will not increase your quality network. Rather, write meaningful content with captivating titles which entices people to click and leaves them wanting to share your article with their own network.
Followed Links in Bio
Many websites you have to contribute a great piece of quality content to and in return you get a link, but not on Google Plus. You can add links right into your own profile with any anchor text of your choice. So, go to your Google+ profile page and edit your introduction and add links.
Title Tag Optimization
This is not the normal title tag between the tags in your post. No, I am talking about the sentence that describes your shared link. For example, when you post a link and paste in the url. Wait for the snippet to show up, delete the url and write in a captivating sentence. This sentence will become your title tag when searched.
For example: if I was going to share this post I would write >>
Google+ SEO Secrets http://www.linktothisblog.com
It is very important that you remember this when posting on Google plus. Many will simply share the information and not write any caption which is a beginner’s first mistake to SEO with G+. Also it is good to choose the right image to match the post.
Editing for Viral Hope
I’m sharing all my G+ Tricks! Not many people know if your blog post goes viral, you can always go back and edit the information. Even better you can analyze the factors which affected if it went viral and replicate that on old posts. If you had a catching title that made people click and share, or a meme associated to a post you can always go back and edit your posts.
Indexing with Efficiency
It’s no joke, sharing anything on Google plus indexes it faster than submitting it via webmasters tool.
The indexing of a new post or page is as simple as +1 or sharing it via your Google+ profile. A significant added perk to using Google plus as a marketer! In my current SEO marketing agency we have a habit of sharing the information we post on Google plus as soon as it is created to make sure that the information is indexed and shared immediately.
Share for efficient indexing.
My Theories on Google+
As a marketer I do enjoy the theoretical punches at why things are happening. Even more than that I love the statistical studies developed from controlled experiments. So, here is my pure opinion on why Google has not captivated the crowds and put a massive dent into Facebook’s social network usage.
Facebook was a first mover in the industry, they did not create something, sit and look at the abundance and let it run endlessly on its own. Instead, they used the information the strength of the millions of users and continued to grow. Listening to the users and seeing what markets they could branch into, then the Facebook pages were born.
Google Plus on the other hand was another social media that was created automatically when you made a Gmail or any Google account. Ultimately, when individuals are trying to create a Gmail account a lot of “fake” users essentially are created. This is especially true for people who have multiple Gmail accounts with a different profile attached to each account. Although, it may seem overnight that we all were added to circles of friends, very few people understood how those related to the usefulness of Google.
My main issue with Google+ is the lack of explaining the cool features and how they are utilized. It’s fun to drag and drop people into your circles, but what does it really mean for usability? Was it a poor move on Google to allow people to add you to their circles without your consent? It almost immediately makes the system feel as though the more information you share the less control and protection you have.
My final thoughts are the accessibility and identity. Was it smart to make a url identity of plus.google.com? Rather than separating into their own brand? Small things like this make me wonder if it could make all the difference. What if Apple made their logo without a bite in it? Would it resonate the same emotions? The small things that make all the difference to consumers make me wonder, what if they did this instead? Could that be the difference?