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The Lowdown on Google+ for Business
Posted on February 11th 2013
Google+ is the social network created and powered by Google—the most influential and important search engine around. When Google updates its search algorithms, marketers, bloggers and all companies with a website are wise to take heed and update their content and SEO strategies accordingly. Google+ has 343 million active users, and the social network is all the more important because of its increasing influence on search. Google dominates search. Social signals, like +1s, and AuthorRank are changing marketing as we know it and the way businesses need to approach social media. It is paramount to start using Google+ to promote your company and the original content you create. The social network recently created a stir by becoming the second largest social network after Facebook—surpassing Twitter.
Google+ allows businesses to create pages and develop relationships with prospects and clients on multiple levels. Individuals can add a brand to a specific Google+ Circle, share a Google+ page with their social network and interact with the content posted by the brand. For example, users can +1—similar to liking something on Facebook—the updates a brand publishes, leave comments, upload photos and tag the brand in them. The Hangouts feature enables companies to engage with fans, prospects and clients through video conference calls. Streamlined video chat certainly distinguishes Google+ from other existing social media platforms. Video conferences are a great way to build rapport with prospects, highlight the expertise and thought leadership of your organization and give your brand a much-needed human touch.
Google AuthorRank and Authorship
Google AuthorRank is shaking up inbound marketing and SEO in a major way. The concept of AuthorRank is that the reputation and influence of content creators seriously impacts the ranking of search results. AuthorRank does not negate the importance of PageRank. Instead, AuthorRank utilizes social signals to make search engine results smarter—taking into account the social influence of content and weeding out spam and unoriginal content from top search rankings. AuthorRank is Google’s solution for effectively indexing and judging constant streams of content. To fare well under Google AuthorRank, you and your company must be active on Google+. Each time someone gives your content a +1, it gets a stamp of approval—increasing its reach and magnifying your opportunities for higher rates of traffic and lead generation. Capitalize on these opportunities by having all your original content neatly indexed and more easily found with Google Authorship.
Create robust Google+ pages for yourself and your business—featuring your main content topics in the introductions. Work to increase your influence and credibility on Google+. Be genuinely engaged and participate on the social network on a frequent and consistent basis. Share a lot of great, original content. Build online relationships with industry influencers and thought leaders. Invest time in setting up Google Authorship—properly linking all your relevant content from across the internet to your Google+ page. Set up author verification on your company blog and wherever else you publish original content. You could have your face showing up next to your content in search results; get credit where credit is due. Before you enable Google Authorship, ensure that you have a robust Google+ page with a professional looking photo of yourself—or your company logo for a business page—and bylines on all the original content that matches the name of your Google+ page.
Setting Up Google Authorship
Edit your Google+ pages—both personal and business. Inform Google that you are an author for the sites that feature your content by adding their URLs to the “Contributor to” section. Then, create a link from your content to your Google+ page. This step is easy, if you have email addresses on the same domains as the sites you added to the “Contributor to” section. Next, visit the Google Plus Authorship page to enter your email addresses. If this is not an option for you, you must add the following HTML code to the text of all your original content: <a href="[your profile URL]?rel=author">Google</a>. Test your content to verify that your Authorship set-up was successful by entering one of your article’s URLs into Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. Your Google+ profile picture, byline and “More by [your profile name]” should show up in the sample search results.
AuthorRank is becoming increasing extremely important for marketers and SEO professionals. Strike, while the iron is hot, and act now to avoid getting left behind. You want your content to shine brightly under the AuthorRank system. Do what you need to optimize your Google+ page and enable Google Authorship before your search rankings are negatively impacted. Although Google+ has many great features, including Hangouts and cool photo editing tools, AuthorRank is reason enough to take the social network very seriously. Adapt to AuthorRank, or suffer the consequences.