Google+ has been described as a game-changer and a ghost town. But do you really need to invest time and effort creating content and an audience for yet anther social media platform?
In my opinion – YES!
And for lots of reasons, but especially the growing SEO benefits active participation can generate. So read on and discover five reasons why Google+ could seriously enhance the online visibility of you and your business.
It can help you rank
One of the hottest debates about Google+ is whether engagement with the platform can help your pages rank higher. Whilst there’s no definitive answer, the evidence suggests it does. For example, research from Moz has discovered a correlation between the number of +1s and higher rankings. Here’s a quote from Moz to support those findings:
“After Page Authority, a URL’s number of Google +1s is more highly correlated with search rankings than any other factor. In fact, the correlation of Google +1s beat out other well known metrics including linking root domains, Facebook shares, and even keyword usage”.
The fact that +1s beat other key metrics, including keywords, is significant and interesting as it’s an indication of the weight Google is now placing on social search to improve the relevance of the organic SERPs. What’s more, it’s a clear indicator that actively posting quality Google + posts could directly influence your own position within the listings.
And there’s more…
Your Google+ profile ranks highly
It seems Google+ has been built for SEO – the evidence is there when you see how Google+ profiles and even some Google+ posts rank. Some people are finding that their Google+ profile (even though it’s relatively new) is ranking higher for their name than other, more established locations such as Twitter and Facebook.
This is really significant when you notice how there’s a shift online towards individual author authority as well as company awareness. Being present on page 1 for your name has the potential to increase your own visibility (and authority) as well as your business’ profile.
Google+ harnesses smart SEO strategies
Another reason Google+ content ranks so well is because the platform has inbuilt structures that allow it to harness the power of SEO to enhance the visibility of content. For example:
- Google Authorship incentivizes inbound links: Attracted by the notion of your profile photo appearing next to your content in the SERPs, Google authorship has encouraged people to link their content, from wherever it’s been published across the web, back to their Google+ profile. In turn, this means Google+ has created massive link equity giving it a formidable online presence.
- The Google+ set-up encourages the creation of quality content that can be indexed: Google+ posts have lots of flexibility. You can post photos, links and even write longer “mini blog posts”. And it’s this richness and depth of content that search engines love. What’s more, from a seo perspective, there’s also the opportunity to earn link equity for your own website. The links you place in the link box on a Google+ post are do follow links.
- You can write descriptive title tags that encourage click through: Each Google+ post has a unique URL with the title tag derived from the first sentence of your post. These URLs can appear in the SERPs. What this means is as well as finding your content on Google+, customers could also encounter your Google+ content via a standard Google search. And here’s where Google+ has an advantage over Twitter and Facebook posts. The title tags of Twitter and Facebook posts are much shorter (and therefore less descriptive) than Google+ making them less interesting and compelling in the SERPs. As a result, guess which social network is likely to attract the highest click through rate when presented in the organic listings?
- Posts are crawled and indexed quickly: Google+ content gets searched, indexed and gains page rank just like any other content on the web.This is good news if you want your content to get found. What’s more, here’s where Google+ has a BIG advantage over other social networks. Facebook actively hides posts from Google due to its privacy settings, and Twitter directs Google NOT to follow most of its links. What this means for you is if you want your content to get found, Google+ is the best bet.
- Longer shelf life: The fast moving, immediate nature of Twitter means tweets have a very short life. In comparison, because Google+ posts earn page rank, even older posts can still score highly in the organic listings.
As you can see Google+ content can become valuable collateral online. But where Google+ has a further advantage is its link with Google Authorship. Let me explain…
Establish your authority through Google Authorship
If you want to be seen as an authority in your business niche, Google Authorship is a stepping stone to achieving this. rel =”author” allows individual authors to own and tag their content– regardless of where it’s been published. The most obvious benefit of rel=”author” can be seen in the SERPs where your profile picture and link to your Google+ profile appears alongside the listing.
As you can imagine, search results with profile pictures are likely to get a higher click through rate. And that’s good news for your visitor stats.
But does it also increase rankings? Again the murmurings seem to suggest it probably does. Here’s an interesting quote from Google’s Chairman, Eric Schmidt.
“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”
For sure, it’s early days for Google Authorship and there’s lots of discussion about the implications – in particular what this means for author rank. In my opinion, given the huge emphasis placed on content marketing from both the customer and Google’s perspective, it seems an obvious thing to embrace.
If you’re yet to claim your Google Authorship, here’s a useful post from Social Media today explaining how to do it.
It harnesses the power of social search
It’s early days in terms of how Google+ is using social signals such as +1s and shares to help determine rankings. However, when you consider Google’s primary aim is to deliver the best, most useful, relevant content in the organic listings, it does seem logical that the social interaction on Google+ will have an impact on where your content ranks organically.
I believe Google Authorship is going to have a significant impact moving forward. People with high authority are more likely to do well in the organic listings. In addition, because the link box on a Google+ post is a do follow link, if that post is well shared and earns lots of +1s, Google could use that as a powerful signal of the quality of an individual piece of content and therefore elevate its rankings.
And it makes sense when you consider the power of social given that it’s real people giving expressing their opinion about the value of content as opposed to the number of links an article has achieved. I think it’s exciting times and I’m interested to see how this all unfolds.
Have you embraced Google+ yet?
As a small business owner there are countless strategies you can employ to raise your online visibility, attract more leads and make more sales. And at some level you need to decide where to focus your time and attention to get the best results.
I believe Google+ offers some significant advantages to small business owners, in particular because of its SEO benefits. In turn Google+ is one social media platform that I’ll definitely be engaging with. What about you?
Why not join the conversation on Google+ and circle me.