google plus seoIs Google+ becoming the new 800 Pound Gorilla of search engine optimization?

While there is still some debate regarding the degree of impact, it seems pretty clear that various signals from Google+ (aka G+ or Google Plus) help with search engine optimization.  In fact, Authorship almost certainly has an impact on rankings and has an undeniable impact on search result pages – your headshot and follower count appear in search results!  Yet, many Google+ users have an obsession with follower counts similar to the vanity numbers that plague Twitter to this day.  In order to benefit long term from G+, however, you need to treat followers differently.  Here is a partial list of tips to maximize Google+ for SEO:

1.  Treat followers as you now (should) treat back-links.   In other words, it’s many times better to have 1,000 active, engaging and interest-based followers than 10,000 inactive, unrelated and/or fake followers.  It also protects you from a Penguin-style day of reckoning for all the abusive circle sharing and fake follower schemes running rampant on G+ today. In terms of SEO, your goal should be to organically build a collective group of followers that actually want to follow you for your content, comments and shares.  By working to build a quality-based following, you can create a super-channel for content distribution that will amplify discussion and rippling effects….all of which filter back to Authorship which in turn helps SEO.

2.  Find, join and participate in a high quality community of niche super-engagers.  For example, for an SEO company, professional or enthusiast, by far the best community on G+ is SEO+ / Search Engine Optimization Web Design.  We find some of the very best SEO information here.  We comment, plus and actively share on deserving content – and there is a lot of it on this community.  We follow people and pages and they often follow back…helping to build each other’s strategic follower base.  There is likely a community for your niche too – find it and start participating on a daily basis.  And if you can’t find one?  Maybe even better – get ahead of the market and start your own.

3. Install the Google Plus (+1) voting script on your home page and inner pages.  Social sharing script buttons are the most underutilized and misused feature of many social network platforms.  You can attract many new followers and pluses on your company or brand page just but installing the script on your home page.

4. Install Authorship script on your website.  There are so many SEO reasons to have an active Google Authorship strategy.  In fact, in our humble opinion, organic ranking will shift from “pulling” SEO value from the Internet to a website into “pushing” SEO value to a website via Authorship.  If you actively work on SEO and you can achieve rank for some of your pages, then you want to take advantage of Authorship.  If and when your author data is pulled up in search results, not only do you get personal branding with an image and free, highly effective visual differentiation on the results pages, it shows the follower account and helps to attract more targeted followers.

5. Google Plus Widget: Saving the best for last!  This is perhaps THE coolest and most under-utilized Google plus feature there is (so far anyway).  You can embed this script a company page or personal G+ page directly in a website page or post.  Here is an example on a website page and below you can actually what it would look like embedded on a page:

google-plus-widget

Aside from the above, there are also some really great sources of G+ tips from active G+ leaders such as Stephan Hovnanian, Dustin Stout, Mike Allton, and of course  Mark Traphagen.  These guys and others like them are G+ trailblazers that are experts at extracting value from G+ and creating new ways to leverage the network.