When Google+ was first introduced to the public, there have been people who dismissed it as just another social media site that would not be able to match Facebook or Twitter. Indeed, Google+ has fewer users than the other social media sites at present.
However, statistics show that the growth of Google+ users is on a steep rise. Business owners, professionals, and professional SEO services in particular have accounts in Google+. This is because they know how useful Google+ can be in establishing contacts, asserting an online presence, establishing one’s authority in his niche, and, in an SEO’s point of view, optimizing websites.
The following are some tips on how you can maximize Google+ for SEO purposes.
1. Proper profile creation
Make a stellar profile page of yourself. Google+ gives search engines a wider access to its users’ pages, so your profile page will also be indexed and possibly even be shown on the SERPs if the users look for your name or the name of your company.
If you run a website, you should definitely make the most out of your profile page and use it as an opportunity to add credence to your name. Include your notable achievements, but don’t go overboard and make it resemble a CV. You just need to establish that you are an authority in your niche or industry.
2. Adding links
Add links to your website or blog, as well as links to articles you’ve written as a guest blogger in authority sites. This gives you authorship rights to articles that are posted in other sites. In connection to this, make sure you have the “rel=author” tag on each of your article pages so that it will link back to your profile page on that same website.
Ex: <a rel=”author” href=”URL TO YOUR PROFILE PAGE”>
If you have two profile pages, like your Google+ profile page and another in a website where you are a contributor writer, you can use the “rel=me” tag to link to the profile page of the other site.
Ex: In your Google+ page, insert:
<a rel=”me” href=”http://profilepage in anotherwebsite.com”>Other articles written by author for AnotherWebsite.com</a>
Ex: In the website where you are a regular guest writer, insert:
<a rel=”me” href=”URL TO YOUR GOOGLE+ PAGE”>Know more about me</a>
These tags will signal to Google that both profiles are talking about the same person and attribute authorship to you alone.
3. Circles and followers
Add followers and join circles. You should especially make an effort to add influential people (not necessarily high profile or popular, but influential in the sense that they can convince other people to do as—or believe what—they say) in your chosen niche. This is a classic SEO move that capitalizes on the fact that association with authority sites or persons is also a ranking signal.
There are 17 ways that you can trigger notifications concerning your activities to appear in the accounts of the said influential people. If you don’t go overboard and come across as spam to your contacts, they will surely take notice of you and possibly even feature your comments and posts in their own websites.
4. Create content for your page
Basically, what this means is you have to make worthwhile posts that other users will want to repost or mention it in their own page posts. Most importantly, include links to your posts so that if ever they will be reposted or replied to, the URL will be indexed as well. This will bring you additional link juice for your site.
Reply to your contacts’ posts, as well as those of authority figures. Giving your two cents about a particular topic will not only put your name and profile out there to be indexed, but it will also give you the opportunity to make a positive impression to other people in your niche or community.
There are advantages too if you impress somebody who’s considered an authority and he replies directly to your comment or post. On a personal level, it may be the start of a string of interactions between you and the person in authority. Even if it doesn’t reach that point, the fact that he or she took notice of will put you in a positive light to their fans and Google+ contacts. Your post/comment may even be featured in their own blogs or websites.
6. Using keywords
Choose and use keywords on your profile page and on each post you make. This will never be gone from any SEO endeavor. Exact match keywords are applicable, but just like in website content, don’t use keywords or phrases that wouldn’t sound natural with the sentences of your post or profile information. Remember that many Google+ users are also knowledgeable in SEO. Should they detect any spammy behavior from you, they will, in all probability, block your account.
7. Going “Local”
Use Google+ Local to boost your local SEO. This is especially useful for commercial websites that have brick-and-mortar offices (ex: human resources companies, restaurants, department stores, hotels, training centers, clinics, etc.) and are hoping to attract plenty of local customers.
Google+ Local evolved from Google Places, which was once independent of Google+. This new version is basically an online business listing. When users look for establishments found in a particular location, your business may be listed as one of the results. What’s great is it incorporates social media with the traditional concept of a business listing. So, if ever a person’s contacts had made reviews and recommendations about your local business and posted photos of the place, your business will be one of the things he’ll first see in the SERPs. Of course, this will only work well if many people recommend your business on Google+.
Tip: If you run a local business, make it known to your customers that you’d appreciate getting feedback from them on Google+. Ask them to +1 your official website as well.
8. “Local” vs. “Business” pages
In connection with using Google+ Local, those who have already created a Google+ Business page for their businesses might be confused with having to manage two different Google+ accounts (Local and Business pages). The good news is you can merge these two pages without losing the content already published; you even get to keep the links and business contacts you’ve already acquired in your live Google+ Business page (Google+ Business pages were launched way before Google Places was integrated with Google+).
The SEO benefit here is obvious: whatever link juice you get from your business page, it will still be retained in the newly merged and verified Google+ Local account. Thanks to the integration of Google+ social activity, there’s even a possibility for you to receive more references and get a higher CTR.
Although Google+ will probably never see the same kind of social interaction that happens in Facebook and Twitter, it definitely has its own worth. We can expect that people will use the other social networks for casual social activity and turn to Google+ for more productive pursuits, business- and SEO-wise.
About the author
Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media, a search marketing company located in Vancouver, BC. Pitstop Media’s SEO services have been helping businesses across North America increase their search visibility. If you want to invite the author to guest post on your blog please contact www.pitstopmedia.com