Leverage the power of Google Plus to increase visibility
Guest post by Cyrus Shepard
It’s no secret. When engineers built Google+, they constructed an SEO juggernaut to dominate search results above all other social platforms. Although Facebook and Twitter are essential to marketing efforts, both restrict Google from accessing much of their data. This limits their SEO effectiveness.
Not so with Google+.
Here’s an experiment: If you use Google+, perform a search for your name and check the domain distribution of first 100 results. The graph below shows what happens when searching my own name.
Even though I use Twitter and Facebook far more often, Google+ dominates the search results. Multiply this for hundreds of millions of people, and you can begin to comprehend the scope of Google’s platform.
Fortunately, there are several ways to take advantage of this SEO dominance for your own benefit.
Optimize your G+ title tags
1 – The first sentence of your Google+ post becomes part of the title tag, which is highly correlated with rankings and greatly influences click-through rates. Choose your keywords carefully and consider that the first sentence will be the first thing most people see.
Check out how this simple post from Danny Sullivan ranks for its title.
A widely shared post with a good title has an excellent chance of ranking for its given keywords.
Use G+’s unlimited editing power
2 – Google+ is just like your own mini personal blogging platform. This means you can fully edit any of your posts at any time. Not so with Facebook or Twitter. Facebook gives you only limited editing abilities. Twitter, after you tweet, only lets you delete.
This is important if your Google+ post goes viral and you want to make updates or changes. If need be, you can also update the title tag and any attached media as well.
You may not own the platform, but Google+ gives you a broad amount of control over your own content.
Index new content lightning fast
3 – If you share new content on Google+, chances are that Google will index the page very quickly.
Rumor has it that new URLs are crawled almost instantly. This makes complete sense as part of the purpose of Google+ was to replace Twitter when creating Google’s Realtime Search.
In the old days, if you wanted a website indexed, you filled out a webform and waited several weeks. Today, it’s as simple as pressing a +1 button.
“Google+ is the new Google Submit URL box.”
— Rand Fishkin at GROW 2012 Source
Share your new content on Google+, as well as your other social networks, for quick indexing.
Connect with influencers
4 – Google+ lists 17 different notification triggers that can help you connect with influencers in your industry.
Depending on the individual’s account settings, these notifications can take the form of an email, phone SMS, or the omnipresent red Google notification bar.
17 actions that trigger notifications:
- Mention them in a post
- Share a post with them directly
- Share a post and you’re in a circle they subscribe to
- Comment on a post they created
- Comment on a post after they comment on it
- Add them to a circle
- Suggest new people to add to their circles
- Tag them in a photo
- Tag one of their photos
- Suggest a profile photo for them
- Comment on a photo after they comment on it
- Comment on a photo they are tagged in
- Comment on a photo they tagged
- Start a conversation with them
- Send them an invitation or update an event
- Remind them about events
- Any activity on events they created
Several folks have introduced themselves to me on Google+ by “gently” using the methods above.
Be warned: The few who crossed the line into spamminess have been banned from several inboxes forever.
Optimize your author pic for more traffic
5 – Last spring, I performed a series of tests with my Google+ author photo that led to an increase in the click-though rate for my websites.
If you successfully implement the author tag (here’s a step-by-step guide on Socialmedia.biz) and have a catchy photo, it often doesn’t matter if you rank 2nd, 3rd or even 4th. With an eye-catching pic you can often grab free traffic away from even your competitor’s #1 ranking.
Test drive a G+ social media dashboard
6 – Google Analytics has progressed greatly with social media reporting, but if you live and die by social traffic, you want to bring the information front and center.
Adam Singer created an awesome social media dashboard that you can use for free. At one glance you can view all your essential metrics from Google+ traffic and all other social networks including:
- On Site Social Actions, i.e. Google +1s
- Revenue per Visit by Social Network
- Overall Traffic Stats by Social Source
Bonus: Install this dashboard for free in your Google Analytics account by clicking here.
Check your CircleRank
7 – My favorite new tool is CircleCount. Try it now by pasting in your Google+ URL to chart your daily follower growth, the virality of your posts, and even see your “CircleRank” score compared against all other Google+ profiles.
CircleRanks of note (lower is better — it refers to how many people have you in circles, by rank):
The election is over. Britney won.
Follow your profile links
8 – Google+ not only allows you to link to your other profiles across the Web, but you can embed followed links directly into your bio with the anchor text of your choice.
The value of a link from Google+ is, in theory, like any other. It depends on the authority of both the page and domain. My own profile shows the following metrics:
- PageAuthority: 49
- PageRank: 3
- MozRank: 1.91
If you can raise your visibility by getting more people to engage with you, share your posts, or link directly to your profile, the more valuable your profile links become.
Embed post links
9 – Like profile links, Google+ also allows you to insert followed links directly into your posts – as many as you want. Simply insert the full URL and Google will automatically format it as a link.
The value of these links increases the number of times the post is shared, linked to and +1’ed.
For example, check out this one sentence post from Alexia Tsotsis, which has a PageRank of 3 and is cached by Google every couple of weeks. (Even though PageRank is not highly correlated with rankings, for Google+ it’s often the only metric available.)
If your post goes viral or is reshared by high-authority profiles, the value of those links increases.
Be an awesome (late) early adopter
10 – About 100 million people worldwide use Google+ once a month. The rest log in even less, although this number is growing fast.
None of these tips matter unless you actually use Google+. Out of the 400 folks I’ve circled in my Google+, only about 75 actively participate. No surprise, these tend to be the more savvy SEO and media types.
There’s still time. Folks are catching on. Yes, early adopters win the day.
You can do Google+ in less than 10 minutes a day. This means creating a few simple habits to fit it into your workflow.
- Press the +1 button to spread share-worthy comments
- Add comments on the truly great stuff
- Add +1 buttons on your own content
- Engage / Comment / Reshare / Start a Hangout / Create an Event
- Circle great people
- Make it easy for people to circle you.
Do you use G+? What’s your favorite Google+ tip? Please share in the comments below!