Although Google+ is still struggling to establish itself as a viable social media alternative to Facebook, the number of users is increasing as Google integrates the tool with other services and starts to create a community around the range of features being offered. There are also some SEO advantages to having a well set up Google+ profile with both personal and business pages.
With any link-building strategy, it’s very important to network and build genuine connections and relationships that will help spread your content. Google+ facilitates this by allowing the linking of all of your social media profiles, sites and blogs in an organised manner. It’s also possible to link to sites to which you regularly contribute and, importantly, all of these links are “followed”, rather than “no follow” links and you’re able to select the anchor text (in your bio).
Google will follow the links in your posts and the more people share them, +1 your posts or link to your profile, the more valuable these links become to you. If your post goes viral or is shared by a high authority profile, the value of the links increases more. Content on Google+ is indexed rapidly – some say almost instantly – so it’s a great way to get posts by you into Google’s index quickly when there is a hot topic.
With many social media sites, you have little to no ability to edit your content once it has been posted. However, Google+ allows you to go back and make edits to posts as you see fit. Furthermore, Google provides the option for you to take ownership of that content and so it’s important to set up an author tag (for an individual claiming content on a page) or a publisher tag (for a business to claim ownership of a site).
Both the author and publisher tag can’t be used on the same page and if the publisher tag is used, it’s only for the homepage, not internal pages. You can use the author tag for internal pages with content. It’s still a good idea to use Google’s “rel=publisher” tag, but you won’t get the image in your SERP listing like you do by using the authorship tag.
It’s important to remember that a Google+ profile needs to be set up in order to implement the Authorship Markup and take advantages of its benefits. To set up a personal profile, you can go here. Business profiles can be set up here.
The benefits of doing this are:
- It makes your listing more robust, because it includes a photo, your name and links to more content by you. There are also indicators that your authorship markup may give you a boost in rankings. While some say it doesn’t directly help, others have reported an increase in rankings after implementing it.
- Your authorship markup also helps you build trust as it establishes you as a real person in the often-anonymous online world.
- It also allows you to claim your name (you don’t want someone trying to steal your name!) and your content (you’ll be seen as the original and rightful owner of the content and won’t have to worry about a “copy scraper” outranking you).
- You can improve your click-through rate by playing with your profile image that’s shown in the SERPs. Images that perform best seem to be close-ups where the eyes are looking to the right towards the listing in the SERPs.
Once you’ve completed the profile and you start posting, keep in mind that the first sentence of your Google+ post becomes part of the title tag, which impacts rankings and influences click-through rates. A word of warning is that Google doesn’t tolerate “spammy” practices, so it’s vital not to turn your profile into a link farm!
There are a lot of different ways to connect with influencers in your industry and networking on Google+ with those is one of the core focuses of Google+ users. It’s fairly easy to do because there are so many ways to do it, but be sure you don’t abuse the privilege, as if you become seen as a spammer, it will be very difficult to grow your presence.
While Google+ numbers aren’t as large as Facebook, they are growing and as with most things, it’s the early adopters that do well in the long run. So it’s worth beginning now to establish your position. Google+ is probably here to stay and also likely to get more important to your rankings and traffic.
If you’d like more information about Google+, or help with setting up a profile, please contact us now – we are one of Australia’s leading SEO consultants since 2006.