If you or your business aren’t taking advantage of Google’s own social network ‘Google Plus’, then perhaps now is the time for you to take a closer look.
Google Plus is a relatively new addition to the social media market, having launched only two years ago. As of December 2012 it now has over 500 million registered users! Google Plus, (also referred to as ‘Google+’ or ‘G+’), separates itself from the likes of Facebook and Twitter, being accessed by an overarching layer on your browser, within the Google search engine and integrated within your Gmail account.
If you have a Gmail account, then you automatically have a Google Plus profile set up for you, so it may be a case of taking advantage of what you have rather than setting up an account.
Google Plus Is Good For SEO
If gaining access to around half a billion users isn’t incentive enough, then it’s worth considering that Google is now integrating Google Plus presence as an SEO ranking factor.
Due to Google’s dominance over the search engine market, it can determine what factors contribute to its SERP rankings.
In recent years Google has begun to integrate and use social media activity as an important ranking factor for websites. Having an active social networking presence acts as a signal that your website shares interesting and useful information with others, which will then help boost your rankings.
It’s hardly surprising that Google is now shifting the focus on to its own social network, the amount of +1’s a site has is now calibrated in Google’s own ranking algorithms. It makes perfect sense from Google’s perspective to increase the importance of its own social networking site ahead of its other competitors.
“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.” – Erik Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google.
The focus on Google Plus is likely to increase in the coming years as Google is effectively attempting to monopolize the entire web market, including social networking, that has recently been dominated by the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
How Can Businesses Take Advantage?
This is the question that many businesses and bloggers alike will be asking, and the answer is relatively simple. All you have to do is improve or develop your presence on Google plus.
Gmail has more users than any other web-based mail service (including the likes of AOL and Hotmail). By clicking the ‘+You’ sign you’ll be transferred to your Google Plus account, which is likely to be somewhat dormant if you haven’t used the service before.
When you’ve established a presence on Google Plus the process is pretty straight forward, undertaking a social media marketing campaign often consumes valuable time and resources but through doing so you could actively improve your site’s ranking.
It’s worth mentioning that you could also theoretically let your followers do the work for you, simply by having a Google Plus account and having G+ buttons on your site or blog, your followers can increase your presence on the site. The amount of pluses you have is counted and monitored by Google, essentially its encouraging you to share information through its own social networking service, rather than through its competitors.
There is even Google Plus Local which can help get more people to see your local business.
Aside from the potential SEO benefits, Google+ does have other “plus” points (if you enjoy a pun).
Google Authorship is one of the fundamental benefits of using Google plus, particularly for bloggers. By linking your information to your Google+ account (via HTML tagging) Google can add a picture to your information on its own SERP ranking, this may seem like a minuscule addition but research has shown that it can increase your Click Through Rate by around 20%.
Check out our ‘Google Authorship Guide‘ to see how to get started and get your picture in the search results.
Google Plus is tailored towards individuals and businesses, it’s more business orientated than Facebook and more informal than the likes of Linkedin. One of the best ways to target an audience and other businesses that share the same interests is through the Google Communities service, users are encouraged to share and discuss relevant information through this service. It’s a bit like Facebook groups, but a lot more visual.
So there we have some of the potential benefits of Google plus, if you haven’t looked in to the service yet then it’s not too late, it could bring substantial rewards to your business or website. It can even help improve your SERP ranking, getting you ever closer to that illustrious front page, which is a potential goldmine for businesses as far as traffic and revenue is concerned.
Are you using Google Plus yet? If so, how are you finding it compared to other social sites? If you’re not using it yet, why not? Please let us know in the comment section below.