The biggest benefit of Google Plus is that it’s part of Google and therefore everything that you do helps with your Google search rankings. While the overcomplicated and underused Google Authorship program may not be in play any longer, ranking higher in Google search certainly hasn’t gone out of style.
Let’s look at some ways that you can use Google+ to boost your overall social media platform with social media optimization. And, yes, rank higher in Google search as well!
Social media optimization (SMO) is bringing the elements of social media and combining the strength of your social media community with conversations to create social signals. Sharing, creating, and engaging with posts on Google+ and other social media platforms helps Google to know that you’re active on social media and that people find what you have to say interesting and relevant as calculated by +1’s, comments, and sharing on posts.
From Moz, “social signals have both a direct and indirect impact on organic search rankings.” Direct impact comes from:
Number of people that like your brand on Facebook
Number of Facebook shares
Number of Twitter followers
Number of tweets mentioning your brand name or including a link to your website
Number of people that “have you in their circles” (Google+)
Focus on creating great content that you’re passionate about, not trying to trick Google with SEO, and share it widely with your social media community. You want people to find you and be interested by your content so they come back for more.
From Rand Fishkin, “Better content will outperform more content.” Google uses social signals to decide what is “better content” by the conversations built around your content, number of people that share it, and how you engage with others about your content. A strong Google+ presence can help more people find your content as your Google+ posts can rank in Google searches.
Meet new people in communities
There are Google+ communities on every topic under the sun! Go to your left side bar and search for communities. I typed in writers in the search bar and found many great writers communities.
Some signs of a great Google+ community:
- Many people are actively posting.
- The moderators are keeping it free of spammy posts.
- They have guidelines for the community that are being enforced.
- There’s great conversation on posts.
Engage on Google+ event pages for live conversations
Event pages are set up to host Google+ Hangouts. When the Hangout is live and on air, people gather on the event page to chat live with the hosts and guests on panels. It’s a great place to meet interesting and engaged Google Plussers.
Create a power circle
You’ll want to create a power circle that you can use to find great content each time you go on Google+, I use this circle for a stream to keep track of awesome people that I know share great content and who’s posts I want to engage with. From this example, I met almost all of these people on Google+ so they were a great additional to my social-verse.
My circle is a little large at 49 but you can make this any size you’d like but keep it relatively small. Start with an awesome power circle of ten and make these your focus for resharing, commenting, and engaging with. Meet new people on their posts in the comments and circle the new friends into a different circle. You want to keep a strong power circle for your Google+ listening stream.
Here’s a how-to for creating a circle on Google+.
Create an opt-in circle for blog growth
Creating a blog notification circle can help get your blog posts get more traffic on Google+ as well as more blog traffic. You can start a blog notification circle by inviting people to join – this is OPT IN – not to spam all the people that you’ve circled. Each time you new blog content, you can share your post publicly and to your blog notification circle.
When I share my blog posts on Google+, I put a note at the bottom that says something like “this is a new post from my blog and my blog notification circle received a notification for it. If you want to be notified when I post a new blog post please leave a comment in below on this post and I’ll add you to my circle.”
It’s a respectful way to share your blog content to people who are interested in receiving it. When people comment on your post and ask to be adding in the circle, add them to your blog notification circle and thank them in the comments. I even have people request to join my blog notification circle on posts that people share so it’s a powerful tool to grow your Google+ following and connections.
I hope this gives you a few ideas that you can implement right away to use Google Plus to build your overall social media presence and rank higher on Google+ for your important content. Post consistently on Google+ and join the rich conversations that are taking place. You’ll be glad you did!