We are familiar with how a Facebook Group functions. Most of us are involved in more than one Facebook page pertaining to one's interest or hobby: Google Plus Communities function in a similar fashion. Google Plus Communities were introduced on 6th December 2012, and since then they have captured the fancy of everyone having shared interests. If used smartly, Google Plus Communities can prove to be a boon for brands as it provides them with a platform to interact with consumers. For example, a manufacturer of travel gear can interact with members of a 'Hiking' Community on Google Plus.
The sole purpose of being a part of Google Plus Community should not be increasing sales or traffic to your website, rather a medium to interact and have real conversations with people. The brands who are aware that social media is just a channel that helps them connect with existing customers as well as service potential customers are already ahead in the digital race.
Here we will discuss 5 ways Google Plus Communities can be used to benefit your SEO:
- Create awareness about your brand and services:
The Communities on Google Plus are highly straightforward, as in, a person who has an interest in the main cause of the Community will be a member of that Community. Google Plus also gives an option of starting Public as well as Private Communities. Firstly, a brand should try to interact and have conversations with members of Communities related to their industry. Once a level of trust has been established, then the brand can inform them about the service or product, in a very modest fashion. The aim here is to establish relationship and not push sales.
- Start a new Community:
If you are unable to find a Google Plus Community that is related to your service or industry, or, if such a Community exists but it is private and not everyone can gain access, then you can start your own. Setting up a new Community is extremely simple on Google Plus. Once you have created a Community, blog about it, post on your Facebook and Twitter page, and most importantly tell everyone on Google Plus.
- Maintain authority on your industry-related discussions:
Google Plus Communities are used as a way of getting answers or solving doubts by many users. Many industry experts are present on Google Plus and people see it as a chance of getting answers from an expert himself. This is when you step up and prove that your brand or service has an authority on discussions related to your specific industry. If your brand has a blog, then you can point the users towards your blog posts that have answers to their questions. And if you do not have a blog, then believe me, it's never too late to start one. If you take notes from discussions taking place in Google Plus Communities, then it will even provide you with relevant topics to blog about. Make use of such discussions by first listening, learning, and then taking active part in it.
- The Public Communities on Google Plus are indexed by Google search
This is the best news for SEOs. Any content that is posted in Public Communities on Google Plus is indexed by Google. Please keep in mind that the Community should be public and not a private one. If you post relevant information about your brand on Google Plus Community, then your brand will have another set of content that will appear in search result for related keywords. The organic visibility of your brand will increase manifold.
- Engage with active users:
Google Plus has a balanced mix of influential people and "commoners." Many users, you will find, have their own blogs, websites and even active social media groups. Such users, who are active online, have a natural tendency to influence people who share same interests. A brand must try to engage more with such users. Share insights about your industry with them, and if you have a company blog ask them to write as a guest blogger. Chances are that your brand will have better reach if you simply connect to active influential users.
Checkout this video by Google on Google Plus Communities.
Google Plus was never seen as a serious competitor to Facebook in the start. However, with new features and tools, Google has successfully made Google Plus ready to win the digital race. With features such as Google Plus Communities, it is very clear that Google wants big as well as small brands to be more actively involved on Google Plus. So, get started with Google Plus Communities, before your competitors take over it.