If you haven’t heard of Google+ yet, you’re probably not reading this post.  The buzz has abounded on this newly launched site.  Now, with now over 20 million users, Google+ is well on its way to accomplishing its goal of not only competing with the two titans in social media (Facebook and Twitter) but overtaking them.  So how does Google+ factor in to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

First, let’s define some SEO “slang”:

  • Backlinks – These are essentially links on other websites that point back to your website.
  • PageRank – This refers to the algorithms used by Google to measure relative importance within the set, and thus assign a position to each Web page within a Google search.
  • NoFollow – Value assigned to instruct search engines that it should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index. It is intended to reduce the effectiveness of certain types of search engine spam, thereby improving the quality of search engine results.

One of the ways Google+ separates itself from the social media pack is its power to affect SEO. Google+ has something up their sleeve that the likes of Facebook and Twitter can’t compete with—Google+ links are following links that also have the ability to carry PageRank, while Facebook and Twitter do not. Meaning: links you shared on Facebook and Twitter are NoFollow links, so Google spider will follow the links but those links will not “count” toward your overall SEO ranking; but this is not so for Google+.  Since Google basically controls the search engines it has the freedom to make sure their links do follow and also count the sites in their ranking system. Those two factors alone make Google+ a place you might want to include in your backlink building strategy.

Two main areas where you can currently add links are in the Google+ posts and the “About Me” section.  The Google+ posts will be the area to add links that will carry short term weight (think of it as a “Status Update” feature on Facebook or LinkedIn), which will be valuable if you are trying to create social buzz.  The “About Me” section is a longer term “hey check out my other sites/blogs” section where the backlinks wouldn’t change much on a month to month basis.  Those links will have much more lasting power.

So even though there is still much to learn about Google+ and how we can effectively use it to market our businesses online, it’s safe to say that it is proving beneficial enough for us to jump in with both feet and embrace the potential new way of adding to our SEO efforts for some quantifiable results.

Read more: Why Brands Can’t Ignore the SEO Potential of Google+