Search met social and Google Plus was born. If you care about your business getting found by current and prospective customers, you should care about using Google+. But this “social layer” of Google offers a lot more than search engine optimization (SEO) influence.
Everybody’s doing it.
As of February 2014 according to The New York Times, 540 million people per month are active on Google Plus. Some of your prospective customers are on Google Plus, the only thing missing is you.
Hangouts … an opportunity to connect with people near and far.
With just the click of a few buttons, you can message or video chat with virtually anyone, from friends to customers. A lot of big brands are utilizing Google Plus Hangouts to connect with customers in a more intimate way. National Geographic used Google Plus Video Hangouts to celebrate its 125th anniversary. The New York Times uses Google Hangouts for Q&As.
Establish yourself as an industry leader.
Consumers want to do business with people they know, like, and most importantly, trust. Through using Google Plus, you can establish yourself as a leader in your industry, Build relationships with influencers, and develop rapport with your current customers.
Unlike Twitter or Facebook where shorter posts are recommended, on Google Plus you can “go the extra mile.” Exceeding 140 characters is okay. Post content that you would care about if it were not coming from you and share that content with relevant circles. You can also use Google Plus as a form of a blog. Instead of publishing content on a blog, post it on your Google Plus pages. I recommend linking the majority of your original content to a blog.
Grow your network, increase brand awareness.
Growing your network on Google Plus helps increase awareness of your brand. Similar to Facebook Groups, Google Plus offers a feature called Communities. Join Communities to interact with your target audience. Be sure to never spam Communities and always offer valuable information.
The SEO Factor
At the beginning of this article I mentioned search engine optimization influence. If your prospective customers are searching for your company or products online but they can’t find you, then how can they possibly buy from you? Since Google Plus is Google, posts made on a Google Plus Profile or Page are indexed rather quickly. Once indexed, they appear in Google’s search results. Plus it will help promote Authorship, which caters to Google’s AuthorRank algoritm.
Google’s never ending mission is to surface quality content written by subject matter experts. They identify content written by experts within respective industries by verifying authorship on articles, blog posts, web pages, etc. The first step in verifying Authorship on Google is to setup your personal Google+ profile, so you are assigned as the “author.” Include an actual picture of yourself and add links to the blogs/websites you contribute to. Add a snippet of code to sync the content you author with your Google+ profile. You can find how to do this here: http://goo.gl/aIfhAA. When this is done, verify that authorship is working correctly here: https://plus.google.com/authorship. If all steps are followed, your content has an increased likelihood of showing up page one of search results. If you have ever seen a picture of an author next to a search result, then you have seen Authorship in action. It looks like this:
Don’t be afraid to jump on the Google+ bandwagon! It will help increase exposure for your company and established authors and most certainly boost your SEO efforts.
Jennifer Schulman, President of
Fortune Web Marketing