There are still people that argue for a wait and see strategy before using Google Plus. They will often point to lower numbers of people using Google Plus. These people fundamentally misunderstand the nature of Google Plus and the way it can improve your SEO results, even if none of your clients actually use Google Plus itself.
There are ten ways that Google Plus will improve your SEO:
- Google Plus content is treated by Google just like any other page on the web. Google Plus content will be efficiently indexed by Google, it will gain page rank and appear in Google's search results. With two thirds of searches in the US taking place on Google you want your content indexed and searchable in this way.
- Your Google Plus posts allow you capture SERP real estate as they appear on Google search page results, thus your audience may find your Google Plus content through a standard Google search.
- Google Plus content stays around, gains page rank, gives page rank and appears in search results over a long period. It appears Google Plus posts can retain ranking indefinitely with some posts over a year old still top of search result pages. Compare this to the 14 minutes of life a standard tweet is estimated to have.
- Google Plus authorship provides you with a higher visual profile in search results. By validating your Google Plus profile with sites where you publish, you will enable your image to appear next to the search results and attract greater visual attention on search pages. To manually claim authorship on a page you just use a rel=author tag linked to your Google Plus profile such as 'by Steve Rayson'.
- The use of Google authorship is closely tied to content authority. Google is keen to give a higher profile to authoritative content in search results. If an author posts interesting content which is shared and receives plus ones, this will potentially lead to higher authority. There is growing evidence that Google+ authorship improves your authority and search performance. Mark Traphagen argues that "over a broad sample of bloggers with G+ profiles, those who use Google authorship tend to average a full Page Rank higher than those who do not."
- Google Plus authorship and the Google Plus social layer provides a wide range of social signals that may improve the social media optimisation (SMO) of your content and SEO. This is not as simple as the number of followers, people in your circles or number of Plus Ones. What appears to be far more important is the interaction between you and your content and others of a high authority. Thus if a high authority person shares your content this will improve your own authority.
- Social signals from platforms such as Google Plus will become more important in determining search results. Joshua Berg has called this the social media optimisation (SMO) of SEO. He has explained that "social signals provide a much better way of filtering out the noise and improving the quality of search results" and "this is a trend that will continue because it is a much better way of understanding what people really want, which is one of Google's founding principles."
- The featured link in a Google Plus post will pass page rank to the page to which it links. Note there is a no follow for links included in the body of a Google Plus post, you must use the featured link. If you connect a Google Plus page to your website this will increase the relevancy of your website content and support your search ranking
- Links from regular websites to Google Plus content can also pass page rank authority in the other direction back to your Google Plus posts and pages.
- Finally, the use of hashtags in Google Plus connects every post to a search on the platform.
You are simply losing out in terms of SEO if you are not using Google Plus effectively. Hopefully, the ten reasons outlined above will make you look again at Google Plus and reconsider your social media optimisation strategies for SEO.