A large number of people still consider Google+ to be a ghost town, sparsely inhabited and sans activity – not worth investing time and effort to create and maintain a presence on. If you’re one of them, it’s time to give this thought some serious reconsideration.
In less than three years of its existence since its launch in the second half of 2011, Google+ has shown tremendous growth with the total number of registered users recently crossing the 1 billion mark and the number of active monthly users crossing 540 million. To gauge the growth in activity – 1.5 billion photos are uploaded every week and +1 is clicked more than 5 billion times a day. If these massive numbers are not reason enough for you to include G+ as part of your social media strategy, here are seven strong reasons why you must begin using Google+ as a business marketing tool.
1. It’s a Google product:
No other social network has the kind of web assets leverage that Google has. Think about it. Apart from being the world’s most used search network, Google owns one of the most popular browsers in Chrome, one of the most-used mobile Operating systems in Android, the largest video sharing website in YouTube, the world’s largest email service in Gmail, one of the most popular photo-editing platforms in Picasa, a versatile cloud-storage application in Google Drive and the most popular mapping service application in Google Maps. Google is the leader of the online world and is already using all its might to ensure Google+ gains popularity and acceptance. Apart from this, the use of Google+ also provides seamless integration with all other Google services.
Google+ your business
2. Higher Search Rankings:
The boost to SEO is one of the biggest benefits of Google+. Almost all SEO experts will tell you that content on Google+ is indexed faster than other content across the web and any links on G+ positively impact SEO results. This is because unlike most other social platforms like Twitter, where all links are placed with a no follow tag, Google+ links are follow links and G+ pages are treated as web pages. This increases website visibility and accumulates Page Rank and thereby, by actively participating on Google+, you are increasing the visibility of your brand.
A recent scientific correlation Study by Moz to discover the qualities of web pages that have a strong association with ranking high in Google, shows that Google+ posts have multiple SEO benefits unlike other social platforms. The study also found a strong correlation between Google +1s and higher search rankings, clearly indicating that sharing content on Google + has the potential to influence search rankings in many ways.
3. Enhanced search results:
When a user searches for your Google+ optimized business online, the results show the most recent G+ post, the number of followers, profile name and image, any +1 recommendations from friends and Google map directions to the business. And, if the person searching is already following your business on G+, the brands content appears even more prominently in the search results.
Recent Google+ posts in Search results
Apart from the right hand space on the Search results page, where Google+ information currently shows up, Google is also experimenting with including recent posts, most relevant to the search query keyed in, in the Search results space itself. The example below shows a relevant Google+ post of a play school, displaying in the results for the Search query “play school in Velachery”.
Enhanced Search results with Google+
4. Google+ Authorship:
Google Authorship includes the author’s photo and byline with the search snippet on search results pages. It is activated by linking the author’s Google+ profile to the website he is a contributor to, through an email address on that domain. Including the author’s credentials lends reliability and trustworthiness to the content and enhances ranking on Search Engine Results Pages(SERPs) while also improving click-through-rates, thereby increasing the reach of your content and traffic to your site.
5. Unfiltered Updates:
Unlike Facebook, which constantly tweaks its Edgerank algorithm to decide which of your updates will be seen by your fans, updates on Google+ are currently unfiltered and chances of your updates reaching your fan-base are higher on Google+ than Facebook. Also, unlike Facebook, whose primary source of revenue is Ads, Google’s primary source of revenue comes from search advertising and it presently does not need to force users to pay to gain visibility on Google+.
6. Google+ Ads:
The above does not mean that Google will never attempt to monetize Google+ through ads. Google is already testing paid +Post ads for Google+ content and apart from Google’s experience with Adwords expected to make the Ads a great product, the possible game changer would be access to the whole of the Google Display Network through Google+ Ads.
7. Google+ Hangouts:
Hangouts are probably the best and most important feature of Google+. Think of it as a free webinar tool where you can include upto 9 participants and automatically broadcast live to your Google+ page as well as your YouTube Channel. Hangouts are an excellent means of communicating with clients and potential clients to educate them about a product/service and share ideas and case studies.
The world’s second largest social network is here to stay. So, get on it, establish your presence and learn how you can use it effectively to grow your brand. The proverbial early bird always gets the worm and being early to Google’s party is sure to have its benefits in the long-term.
Anuradha Nair and Sunil Elango from Social Beat attended the GDayX event organized by Google Business Group – Chennai last month. The event which was held in Hindustan University, Padur included inspiring sessions, business presentations, a panel discussion and an unconference on latest trends in digital marketing and internet technologies from various speakers including Sunil Rao, the country head of Google Outreach programs. The conclave had a good mix of entrepreneurs, social media experts, SEO professionals and web developers. Below is a partial list of key takeaways from the day-long conclave.
Google Web Academy: The most important announcement from Google was the launch of Web Academy for Small Businesses for India. The academy currently has five modules on Communicate across Platforms, List Your Business Online, Survey Your Customers, Create and Share your Newsletter and Meet Virtually for Business. “In the next 6 months, 25 – 30 modules will be added to the academy,” said Sunil Rao.
Make your site crawlable: Search engines use some programs called “crawlers” to index web pages. If the search engine can crawl through the entire content of your website without any difficulties, it means your website is crawlable.
Images & Flash: If your web page is loaded with images, ensure that you use the alt text attribute and title in HTML. Avoid designing your website with flash content. It makes it difficult for the Google bots to index your website.
Google Plus Authorship and Rich Snippets: Applying for Google Authorship is the best way to gain credibility to the content you create/write. Once your authorship is approved, the author’s name and the profile picture start to appear in search results. Rich Snippets are nothing but displaying author’s name and the byline in search results. So, authorship adds certain value to your content and of course, the search results.
Fresh and Unique Content: Create unique contents in order to gain good visibility in search results. Invest more time in content creation than chasing the SEO trends.
Hindustan University Auditorium – GDayX Conclave
Use Resources Effectively: Regular updates on SEO trends and tutorials on various topics are available at Webmaster Central Blog and the Support websites of Google. Glance through the sites and update your knowledge on the recent trends and optimize your business results.
Site Speed: It is one of the important ranking factors that Google pays attentions to. Site speed is crucial since a slower site speed means a bad user experience and ultimately belittles the customer satisfaction. So, pay heed to the site speed of your website.
Responsiveness and UI: Creating unique content is not sufficient to achieve your goals. It needs to be recognized and shared across the web to yield satisfying results. Websites which are more responsive allow users to look for contents on your page. If you want your content to be shared broadly, making a user-friendly website is a prerequisite.
Google Plus Integration: The integration of Google Plus with search results was not unexpected. But it culminated three months back when Google announced hashtag search options. To cut the long story short, when you search for a keyword with the # symbol, you are expected to see Google Plus posts related to the keyword on search results. Get on Google Plus and build your community if you already haven’t.
Keywords under “Not Provided”: The number of keywords listed under “Not Provided” is increasing day by day in Google Analytics. It makes it difficult to identify the keywords which are helping organically. Running Adwords campaign seems to be only solution, at least for now.