How can one generate more social media traffic from Google Plus?
While with Facebook it seems to be getting harder and harder to get traffic back, Google+ is slowly growing into one of the top social media traffic generators, especially with the latest updates and design changes that show even more promise.
I’ve often found that many people are still reticent to try Google+ and don’t really see the value in it, especially with Facebook still around and strong. I’ve started using Google+ since its beginnings, and have noticed a steady, but sure growth of not only engagement, but also traffic. At the moment, it is one of my top five social media sources of traffic, right up there with Twitter, Facebook and the like.
With the latest update I’ve actually seen a surge in traffic, as Google+’s new home feed seems to turn more into a social news discovery tool than a regular social network news feed where you get mostly updates from your friends (or in this case, members of your circles).
Before I go into the tips of getting more traffic from Google+ I wanted to point out how the newest features can help you get more traffic even with minimal efforts on your part. As I’ve mentioned earlier, the new stream makes the social network feel more like a social news discovery website. Whenever you read a card on the Google+ stream, you can click on it to see related stories that you might be interested in. Google+ is also now able to scan through updates and photos and add relevant hashtags to them, taking it one step closer to becoming a new type of social network – a blend between a regular social network and a personalized newspaper.
Let’s now take a look at the best ways to drive traffic from Google+:
1. Complete and optimize your profile
I’ve often stressed how important a complete profile is for getting more traffic. And, since Google+ is a part of Google after all, I would also recommend optimizing your profile with all the relevant keywords so that people can easily find you online. Here is what your profile needs to be complete:
- Add a profile image and cover photo that represents you and/or your business and will attract your audience. The cover photo is extremely important as it occupies almost the entire profile page, and so it needs to be of very high quality, at least 480 pixels wide and 270 pixels tall
- Write a tagline with all the relevant keywords that describe you/your business. You could even do some keyword research beforehand so you use the best possible keywords, thus increasing your chances of being found online
- Write a short introduction about yourself/your business. The more keywords you can add, the better!
- Bragging rights: write down all of your achievements
- Complete your basic information
- Make sure you add all your contact information so that people can easily reach you
- And most importantly in this case: add links to your website and all other relevant social media profiles. If you contribute to other blogs/websites, make sure you add those as well. Don’t forget to also make sure that all links provided work.
2. Grow your circles
The more people follow you, the better your chances of getting more traffic, as more people will be able to see your posts and your profile. Make sure you add Google+ widgets and buttons to your website, so that people can easily add you and +1 your posts. Try to add people to your own circles that you think might be interested in you/your business. It’s very important to remember that quality is more important than quantity in this case, and you should focus your efforts to following people that could be interested in you/your business and what you have to offer.
3. Share your latest updates
Whenever you have a new update on your website or a new blog post, make sure you also post the link on Google+. Write short commentaries that will make people want to find out more and click on the links. This is one of the most basic and efficient ways of getting traffic on all social networks, not just Google+. Don’t forget to also include a call to action, not just the link to your website, to encourage people to click on it and share it with their friends.
4. Optimize your posts
As I’ve mentioned earlier, Google+ is now focusing a lot of efforts on social news discovery. With the new stream and the new hashtags feature, optimizing posts is more important than ever. By using relevant keywords in your posts, you will not only get more targeted traffic, but it will also make it much easier for Google to add the best hashtags and therefore making it easier for others to discover your posts, and ultimately your website. The more optimized your posts are, the more chances you have to also be found with Google Search. Whenever possible, try to add the best keywords in the first sentence of your posts. Just like with SEO, the closer a keyword is to the beginning of a sentence/title, the better.
This is another tip that works with all other social networks. By engaging constantly with other users constantly with other users, you will be able meet more people and grow your circles, you will get more engagement in return and ultimately you will grow your traffic. Here are some of the best ways to engage:
- +1 posts that you find interesting or engaging
- Comment on other people’s posts
- Ask and answer questions
- Share other people’s work
By taking the time to comment and talk to other people, you will start building more relationships, grow your follower base and eventually grow your traffic. Not to mention the added bonus of the SEO benefits!
Google+ Communities can also be a great source of traffic. Join as many relevant communities as you can, and start your own community. Make sure you engage with other community members and post regularly, including your latest blog posts. Communities are also a great way to grow your list of followers, which in turn leads to more traffic.
To start, go to the Communities page on your Google+ account and type in a few keywords that are related to your field in the search bar. Before joining a Community, take a look at how many members it has and how active they are within the community, as well as their location (especially important if you don’t serve an international audience). The more Communities you join, Google+ will get a better idea of what you are looking for and will be able to recommend more relevant Communities to you in the “Recommended for You” tab. Apart from posting your own content (including links to your website), make sure you also engage constantly, just like you would on your profile: comment, +1, share and ask and answer questions. Communities offer a great way to meet like-minded people that are interested in what you have to offer and who will want to visit your website.
7. Start a hangout
Google+ Hangouts allow you to broadcast yourself live via Google+, YouTube and your website. A great way to use this feature to get more traffic is to hold a free webinar – in the noisy world of the Internet, people are always looking to get more value. Make sure you direct them to your website and let them know that they will get even more value by visiting it. Hangouts are also great because now people will be able to put a face to your business, which can help grow better, long-lasting relationships. All hangouts are automatically saved to your YouTube account, so you can also re-use the video.
8. Calls to action
Calls to action are very important for getting traffic from Google+ (and other social networks, for that matter). Whenever possible, when you post something new on your account, include a link to your website and ask people to share the post and comment if they enjoyed it.
9. Link your content to Google+
Google+ has a very useful feature that allows you to link your profile to your content. Of course, this only works if you have a blog where you publish content regularly. This feature is called “Authorship” and it’s very easy to sign up for from here: all you have to do is have a recognizable headshot and that your name appears on each page of your content.
10. Use images and videos
Most people respond better to images and videos than to text, and with the latest updates at Google+ images are looking better than ever. Every once in a while try to share images and videos that you can link back to your website. This will not only help you get you more traffic, but it will also help you raise your engagement levels.
Are you using Google+ to generate traffic back to your website/blog? Which methods do you use? Please do leave a comment and share what’s worked well for you too.
- 10 Dead Simple Tips to Take Advantage of Google+ for SEO (seomoz.org)
- How to measure and report social SEO metrics (raventools.com)
Image courtesy of phanlop88 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net