When first introduced, many people thought of Google+ as just another attempt, this time by Google, to play with the big boys in the social media arena. This social media site however grew to an astounding rate – with more than 1.8 billion registered users, 540 million active monthly users, and 800,000 users jumping in each month – Google+ emerges to the top of social network pedestal and grabbed the number 2 spot.
This booming trend is expected to go on relentlessly in the next few years, making it an effective digital marketing tool business owners can leverage on to connect with their targeted audiences through social media. This goes beyond the mere fact that this social network is another Google product but, as Google+ own Vic Gundotra stated, it is the social layer that binds all products and services Google has to offer – a fact all business owners and digital marketers simply could not ignore.
The Power of Google+ and Social Signals in SEO
- The site generates up to 1,203 million page visits monthly
- People upload 1.5 billion photos weekly
- People click the +1 more than 5 billion times daily
- Up to 70% of business brands already have a presence in the network
- Mobile users – all 20 million of them – use the site on a monthly basis
- About 6.6 million site users are from the United States
… and 22% of all adults online are using this site at least once a month
Mark Traphagen, a senior director for Online Marketing and the reputed expert on Google+, talked about how to harness the power of Google+ for Search Engine Optimization during the 2013 SMX East. As one of the top 500 Google+ users with more than 62,000 followers, people really listen to what he has to say about the site. He pointed out that Google+ profiles, pages and communities have PageRank – a key element for ranking it big in search results.
This was confirmed in a scientific correlation study conducted by the Moz Data Science Team to check how Google +1s can influence higher rankings. The surprising results generated by the study indicated that Page Authority and Google +1 URL’s number can impact search rankings than other factors or metrics, including domain links or even Facebook shares.
This fact is confirmed by another correlation study, this time by Searchmetrics, which point to Google +1s as the highest correlating factor. What this means is that the greater influence your business can generate in the Google+ network, the higher the influence in can generate from search just like any influential web site and online pages.
Steps in Creating an Effective Google+ Marketing Campaign
Now that you know the power Google+ can do for your business, it’s time to start with an effective Google+ marketing campaign – and you can start with the following steps.
Set-Up and Preparation
Before you can start with marketing of any form at Google+, you must first establish a strong presence in this social network, and you can do so by creating a page for your business.
1. Page Creation
If your business don’t have a page on Google+ yet, then you can start with the following now. Whether you’re a professional or artist, an organization, or a brand, you can set up your page using the procedures instructed in Google My Business and you can start connecting with targeted audiences in this network.
When you set up your page, make sure you choose the page type well, as well as the name for your page. Just like a standard website, the name of your Google+ page should have the proper keywords that will make it stand out in search results. So choose your business page names well.
2. Profile Set-Up and Optimization
After setting up your page and choosing the perfect name that can dominate search results, the next obvious step is fill out all important details about your business in corresponding section of your Google+ page. Your business page profile is the window potential audiences will first look at when they come across your business in Google+.
Fill it up with the most appropriate bio and description, pertinent links and details about your contributor’s links, and spruce it up with compelling images. After launching your page it will then become public for targeted audiences to see.
3. Set-Up Managers for Your Business Page
Just like any other organization or business, you will need managers to help operate your Google+ page and together you can create a strong influence in this network that will draw in targeted audiences. You can have up to 50 managers to help you manage your page and you can learn how to do this through Google’s own support blog.
Aside from managers, you can also set up other communication managers that can help promote your content. They can share in the control of the posting and content of your page towards one end goal, and that is to generate a steady stream of targeted traffic from Google+ users. Managers have full admin capabilities except for critical tasks owners should only have. The following table from Google Support will tell you the specific tasks each role has in managing your Google+ page.
Verify Your Business (for local businesses)
If you have a Google+ local business page, it would be best to have it verified by Google. Doing so would link your main business page and make it eligible for Google+ Direct Connect. What this can do for your business is to make it more visible in search results by the simple addition of the + symbol with your business name. The procedure for verification can be found from Google’s support page.
You need to ensure though that all information is accurate as this will be important in the verification process. There are different ways on how you can get verified and you can choose among the following.
- Verification by postcard
When you select the postcard option for verification, you need to have your address and contact information specified so you can receive the verification code in your dashboard properly.
- Verification by phone
If you want your business to be verified by phone, you need to provide a contact number that you can answer directly. You will receive the verification code through an automated message and have it entered into your dashboard.
- Instant verification
You can also have your business immediately verified if you’re already using Webmaster tools and have your main website verified. Just make sure you’ve properly chosen a good business name as you cannot change this once you have your business verified.
Link Website and Google+ Page to Activate Publisher Tag
If you have a brand that is not limited to a local area then you just need create a brand page. Make sure to link your website and Google+ page is linked together so that you can activate your publisher tag. Learn how you can do it using this guide.
Adding Related People and Pages
Once you have your business page established, you can start connecting with other Google+ users. Unlike personal pages, it would be wise to connect only with people and pages who are related to your niche and are relevant to your business goals. It would also be wise to connect with influencers and other important people and pages in your business niche as this will give good credibility and added visibility for your business page.
Just like any social media network, success at the Google+ network will rely heavily on how fresh and consistent your content will be. You should do this on a regular basis, daily providing content and updates that would be interesting to your targeted audiences. You can rely on different kinds of contents including How-to’s, humor, tips and tricks, motivational quotes, special offers, memes, news and other content that are relevant and interesting to your targeted audiences.
Some points to consider when posting content includes the fact that Google+ is already optimized for the semantic web and is more akin to the properties of a fully optimized blog, more than what Twitter or Facebook has to offer in this regard. You can have up to 45 to 50 characters to fully optimize the title of your post which has its own URL that can be influential in search results. Length also plays an important factor as studies show that longer content can affect the result in rankings in a positive manner.
Success in social media marketing rely heavily in your relationships with targeted customers. You can create and build such relationships by joining or creating Google+ Communities, with each circle established that is related to your business or niche. A strong presence in these communities can help you establish more credibility and influence in your Google+ circles, and you can learn how to do this through Google+ support pages.
- Join Other Google+ Communities
Your business can join various Google+ communities and it would be wise to join groups that are relevant to your business and your niche. Create relationships within these groups by actively interacting with member of these groups. Just make sure you follow proper guidelines. Your goal here is to build relationships and not to irresponsible promote your brand or business by posting links that will turn off other users.
- Create Your Own Google+ Communities
You can also have the option to create and start your own Google+ communities. The groups you created can easily be linked to your main business pages or websites, familiarizing members to what your business can offer. Just remember that you are building relationships so don’t blatantly promote your business in discussions as you will lose community members faster that you can create relevant content.
Whether you are a member of Google+ communities or have your own groups to maintain, you can build business branding by creating and promoting content in these groups. However, you should follow best practices in content promotion before you can do so in Google+ communities.
- Join or create only communities that are relevant to your business.
- Post content that are actually useful and relevant to your target audience.
- Post on a regular basis. The key to social media success is to provide fresh content that will nurture the interest of your targeted audiences. This rule applies to Google+ as well.
- Join in the communications, interactions and engagements in the communities you joined or create. This will build up relationships which is key to your Google+ success.
- Although it is also good to promote materials that will make your brand and products familiar with targeted customers, it will be detrimental to overdo this. Just do it in moderation.
Google+ is a fast-growing and very important social network that your business cannot afford to overlook or downplay. Building a strong presence in this network will be beneficial to your business and help create a strong following for your brand in the years and periods to come. You can start building a strong Google+ presence now and the materials shared above can help you do this using the correct procedures and the right path.