[This is a guest post written by Marcela De Vivo, a freelance writer and online marketing professional in Southern California.]
Many people running small businesses don’t realize that Google+ very well might be the most powerful social media platform available to them. Google+ has nearly 350-million active members as of early 2013, and that number looks like it’s going to keep growing in a very significant way.
Right now, only Facebook has more users. Google+ even has more active users than Twitter. I bet that’s a statistic that surprised you!
But the real power of Google+ isn’t just in the number of users. The reason that Google+ is so important for SEO-based business should actually be really obvious – it’s owned by Google! Google is the world’s largest, most popular search engine hands down. In reality, it has no competitors.
You already know that your search rank is important when it comes to people finding your business and website on the internet, and you know those two things happening are vital for making your business grow. Building and maintaining an active Google+ profile can improve how easy your business is to find through search.
Still Skeptical? Still unsure as to whether Google+ can really help your business grow?
If you already have a Google+ account, try doing a Google search for your own name. What came up first? Most of the time, it’s going to be your Google+ information instead of your Facebook or Twitter profile info. Why? Because Google – the search engine you used – operates Google+. Why wouldn’t your Google+ profile come up first?
Google+ and SEO Rankings
A lot of people wonder whether Google+ can really help drive their SEO efforts. It can, but you’re not going to really know how effective it can be until you get on board. Once you’re ready to take the plunge – and that should be right now – there are a few tips that can help get you started.
1. Sign Up NOW!
It’s pretty obvious that you’re going to need to sign up for Google+ before you go any further. Don’t worry, it doesn’t take long, and it’s really easy. You’re not going to be the first person or business on Google+, but it’s better to be late than never show up at all.
2. Build Your Profile for SEO
Setting up your Google+ profile is easy, but you need to keep your SEO-related goals in mind while you do it. After all, your SEO should be driving the choices you make when filling out your profile.
Use SEO-related keywords in titles, descriptions and anywhere else you can find a place for them. Of course you want your profile to make sense, but you should be able to get plenty of SEO in there at the same time.
You can also include SEO in your photo. Pick your absolute best photo that will draw readers in and add an author tag that includes some of your best keywords.
3. Spend Time Using Google+
You’re not going to need to spend two hours every day learning how to use Google+ for SEO, but you are going to need to dedicate some time to it. Take 10-15 minutes out of your busy schedule to focus solely on learning Google+ – a little time can make a big difference here.
During those few minutes each day, focus on adding new posts, sharing links and “meeting” new connections. Share what you have to offer, and don’t be shy about networking and promoting yourself and your business.
4. Optimize Your ‘About’ Page
You already know that your keywords need to be chosen carefully, but you may not have thought about optimizing your keyword use in your ‘About’ page. Customers will be searching for these keywords, and you want to seem like an expert in your field. Use Google Keywords to figure out which keywords will be the most effective for you.
You should also consider altering your keyword and content if it doesn’t perform the way you want it to right away. Changing keywords can affect your click-through rates, so don’t be afraid to mess with something that isn’t working.
After you’ve figured out what keywords are really working for you, those are the ones you want to use ALL THE TIME on Google+. Stuff them everywhere you can – as long as they make sense in context.
A final note regarding your ‘About’ page: take the time to add links to your website, blog or outside posts that you really think will benefit you. Doing that will give people viewing your profile faster access to your quality content.
5. Include Keywords in Every Single Title
This is another one that might sound obvious to SEO vets, but not everybody does it. Google+ sees the first sentence of each post as the title, so you’ve got to make sure you get your keywords, or at least as many as you can, in that first sentence. Putting these keywords in your first sentence pushes up your ranking and you’ll hook more readers right off the bat.
Remember, people viewing your content are going to decide whether they want to keep reading within the first paragraph, so you’ve got to make it good.
6. Keep Your Audience Interested
Keeping your audience interested is a key part of any online marketing. Your readers have a short attention span because there’s so much information on the internet. You’ve got to get their attention quickly and hold onto it!
That’s why you need to focus on writing posts that are incredibly interesting to your core audience and always full of factual content, as well as all applicable, contextual keywords. You’ll be viewed as an expert in your field, and that will help your ranking and your credibility.
7. The Importance of Google+ Events
Google+ Events is a new feature, but it’s one that can be really helpful for engaging your core audience. Google+ Events can be used to make invitations for online and offline events – both of which are a great way to connect with potential customers and clients.
How you choose to utilize Google+ Events will really be based on what you do. Online webinars through Google Hangout are beneficial for some business – others do better with in-person events.
However you choose to use Google+ Events, the important part is that you’re using it, and you’re including your keywords while building your online presence.
Tips, Tricks and Info Related to Google+ Events:
You can invite people to Google+ Events even if they’re not on Google+.
Google+ Events will sync up with your Google Calendar, making scheduling really easy for you and your event attendees.
You can promote upcoming events via pictures of past events using the “Party Mode” feature. Uploading pictures is fast and easy, and they’ll be stored in an online album of the event for everybody to see. Remember: Add keyword-related author data.
8. Google+ Authorship is Important for SEO
If you’re new to Google+, you may not be completely familiar with Google Authorship. In short, it’s a program that gives you credit for your writing and posts, but it has multiple benefits when it comes to SEO as well.
When you use Google Authorship, any content on the web will link back to your Google+ profile. That means you’ll have more followers and all the content you’re creating will be working to boost your search engine ranking. Posts created with Google Authorship also rank higher in SEO and are often considered more credible and authoritative by Google.
9. Google+ Circle Rankings
Google+ offers a feature that allows you to check your circle rank score, which can help you figure out how popular your profile is compared to others created by companies and individuals in your field. That means you’ll be able to track how successful your individual posts and total Google+ efforts really are compared to those you’re competing with.
Checking your Google+ circle rankings regularly will let you know if you need to make changes and tell you what’s really working for you and your business.
10. Don’t Be Afraid to Edit
Unlike some other social media platforms, you can alter your Google+ posts at any time. That means you can fix posts that didn’t do you much good by adding in more relevant keywords. It also allows you to retroactively change posts when you come upon a new keyword that’s working well for you. This is a unique kind of flexibility that other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter don’t offer.
Google+ offers huge opportunities for people that understand and can use SEO – far more than other social media platforms. Google+ can also help boost your ranking and make your website, blog and business more visible, but you need to be willing to take advantage of it.
Sign up today, and start learning how to use Google+. It won’t take long before you really see the benefits and wonder why you didn’t sign up months ago when you first heard about it.
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer and online marketing professional in Southern California. Google Plus has been very valuable for her business, Gryffin Media, and she uses multiple social media platforms herself to increase her online visibility.