There are a number of ways using Google+ for marketing can have a beneficial impact on your business' search engine optimization efforts. Because Google is so eager to provide plenty of incentives for people to actively use the network, it has tied the platform very closely to all of its Google Search features as well. As a result, there are many ways that using Google+ can help boost your regular performance in Google's organic search results as well as help you generate more traffic from people doing searches on the topics you already rank for.
In fact, because of the strong connection between Google+ and Google Search, businesses can't afford not to create and maintain a Google+ page. Because Google is launching new integrations between Google+ and Google Search on a regular basis, your business' search presence will only suffer without an active Google+ page. Here are 5 ways you can use Google+ to help you enhance your business' SEO.
Add the +1 Button to Your Website
The first major SEO benefit of Google+ is in regard to +1 usage/shares and their influence on search rankings. Just like other types of social media sharing, the number of +1s a particular page receives is a factor in how well it will rank in search for different phrases. This directly affects search rankings, and the number of +1s a page has received is also displayed on results pages, especially if those votes came from people who are in your Circles on Google+. This is just another way maintaining an active profile on Google+ is directly influential to your success elsewhere, because your actions on Google+ will have influence on the rest of your profile and activity. That is the main takeaway from Google’s efforts: you will directly benefit by adopting and using more of the Google+ platform and integrating it with your website and marketing efforts.
Marketing Takeaway: Add the Google +1 button to your website and blog so that people can easily share your blog posts and landing pages with their friends, and help your pages rank better at the same time. You'll also benefit from increased traffic, as our research shows that websites using the +1 button generate 3.5x the Google+ visits than sites without the button.
Get Your Google+ Status Updates to Appear in Search Results
In late December, Google began including specific status updates from Google+ in Google Search results, when they were relevant. This works for both personal profiles and brand pages, making it a very useful addition. While profiles could already appear in search results, the update allowed for specific status updates to appear as well.
Marketing Takeaway: The key lesson here is to think about which keyword phrases you want your status updates to rank for, and make sure you optimize your status updates with those keywords. If you're posting about something interesting and insightful (and why wouldn't you be?), make sure you spend the few moments it takes to be thoughtful about your keyword usage. It will provide more opportunities to get found, and it's yet another chance for your great content from social media to shine.
Leverage the Google+ Author Tag
One of the most visible changes to Google’s search results pages with the launch of Google+ has been the addition of author names, images, and information throughout results pages for editorial content. Google executed a clever strike here by creating a feature that bloggers would be excited to implement. It was an unusually creative move by Google, because to leverage the feature, blog authors must include a link in their post back to their Google+ profile in order to establish authorship. This serves as both an inbound link into the author's Google+ profile page (which is obviously beneficial to Google+’s number and quality of inbound links), and it also ensures that every author who is active and excited about their blog signs up for Google+ and uses the service.
Marketing Takeaway: The appearance of profile information is great for helping your content stand out in search results. If you’re competing for a popular keyword, adding this kind of color and different appearance to your search result can really help you stand out in a crowd of results. By improving your click-through rate from that results page, you will have the opportunity to get more visitors to your site without necessarily impacting your rank. As long as you rank highly enough that people will have the chance to see you in the results (say, position 5 or better), this will have a great impact on how many clicks you earn from searchers. To start using Google+'s Author Tag for enhanced listings in search, click here and follow Google's instructions.
Take Advantage of Personalized Search
The most recent feature addition to Google+ is 'Search plus Your World,' a new version of Google that mixes personal results from your Google+ network in with your regular search results. This mode of Google will search your social network for results, even including results that only you can see for privacy reasons. In other words, Google's search now includes both regular results and very personal updates from social media. You'll be able to see when you are receiving personal results because they are called out in a special way and always placed at the very top of a search results page.
Be aware that what you share on Google+ can have an increased reach because of this update. It makes Google+ a great place for sharing content and having discussions, because now that content is easy to find (as opposed to networks like Facebook and Twitter, which currently lack personalized search).
Marketing Takeaway: Because it is connected to the world's most popular search engine, content shared on Google+ now has the potential for a much longer lifespan than content shared on other networks. Think about your keyword strategy and how to best exercise it on your Google+ page. Results from a searcher's Google+ network will also rise to the top of Google search results when they use Search plus Your World. And if your company has built up a large following on Google+, content you've shared with your followers will also show up in those followers' relevant Google.com searches, keeping your business top of mind and increasing its visibility among existing followers across multiple channels.
Get Your Pages and Profiles Found in Search Results
With the 'Search plus Your World' update, another powerful influence for brands that comes only with Google+ adoption is placement in the top-right corner of Google search results for people and pages who are closely associated with a particular topic or brand. If your Google+ business page is relevant to a particular keyword search, Google will show your page in the results for those searches. Furthermore, if you tie your Google+ personal profile to your brand’s domains (for example, by putting your work email address into your Google+ profile), Google can serve your profile in response to people who are learning more about your brand.
Marketing Takeaway: To make sure your business page shows up for searches on keywords for which you want to rank, maintain a regularly updated Google+ business page and optimize your updates with those keywords. For example, if a searcher searches for 'marketing software' on Google.com, HubSpot's Google+ page might show up in the top-right results box, providing us with more SEO real estate.
To make sure that your profile is able to show up in that top-right box for branded searches, make sure that you’ve added your work email address to your Google+ profile and confirmed the address works, and list your occupation and position in your profile. Remember that Google wants to serve the best possible results, so it’ll only show your profile if it thinks it would actually be helpful for a searcher. If you’re not regularly posting about your brand or really using Google+ often, Google is less likely to show you in the result. Encourage your business' employees to include your business' information and content in their Google+ profile so your business can get even more exposure in search results.
What other benefits have you noticed from using Google+ to enhance your business' SEO?
Image Credit: Widjaya Ivan