Google Plus offers business opportunities available nowhere else.
The social network run by Google - the gateway to your business - is a game-changer. It ties together several Google products and delivers many rewards for brands. Vic Gundotra, the head of Google+, has said, "It's really the unification of all of Google's services, with a common social layer." Google+ places a heavy emphasis on search engine optimization (SEO), which differentiates it from other social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Google Plus and social signals
Sharing things on Google+ and encouraging others to +1 your content works essentially the same way as Facebook "likes", but the impact is more pronounced because Google Search favors sites that have received more social credibility from others. Although Facebook and Twitter are essential to marketing efforts, both impede Google from accessing much of their data, which limits their SEO effectiveness.
According to a study by Searchmetrics, social signals - recommendations through Likes, tweets and Google+ - account for 7 of the 8 most highly correlated ranking factors in Google search results. Social networks are used by real people who reveal what they genuinely like and think is important via sharing, liking, retweeting, and +1′ing, so it's not surprising that search engines track these indicators. Google +1s have the highest correlation, followed by number of backlinks, Facebook shares, and Facebook total (summary of shares, likes and comments).
Google Plus and PageRank
Google+ posts are crawled and indexed almost immediately. Google Search treats Google+ profile and pages just like "regular" websites, so they have PageRank and can be just as powerful as other websites in terms of ranking. Web pages with higher PageRank rank higher for search terms than those with lower PageRank, and higher PageRank pages deliver more authority to sites that they link to. It's important to note that Google+ posts can indefinitely retain ranking, which helps brands capture more real estate on SERPs (search engine results pages).
Key points about followed links:
- When you share a link on Google+, the anchor text becomes the title of the page you are sharing.
- Only shared links (the links that show up beneath your post) are followed. Links in the post body are "nofollow", so they don't pass any authority/equity.
- Most links in your Google+ "About" page are followed and do pass link equity.
- Uploaded images don't pass external link equity. Good images may increase a post's popularity and click-through rates, but these posts do not pass link equity.
Google Plus and Web influence
The larger your Google+ network, the more directly or indirectly you influence the search results of the people who have you in their circles. Google Authorship, which I discussed in my post Use Google Authorship to Improve SEO and Drive Traffic, is a powerful tool that helps people connect your content creators with all of the content they produce - I highly suggest that you follow the setup steps in the article so you can begin reaping its benefits. Google's nascent rel=publisher connection for brands enables Google to verify a connection between your brand's site and your official Google+ page - this produces a "verified site" notation that shows up on a brand's Google+ page.
Google Plus and Local SEO
Google+ Local is a part of Google+, and focuses specifically on businesses and their locations. These pages are similar to Facebook business pages, but include a many more features geared to help businesses connect with local consumers on a social level. Here's a page from a local pizza restaurant in Seattle:
The benefits of Google+ Local include:
- More online visibility, enabling consumers to find a link to your website, what your business has to offer, and any other information you think they should have.
- More customer engagement via its social features.
- Direct access to customers so you can connect on a more personal level, encourage feedback, and ask for reviews.
- Higher page ranking through posting fresh content on a regular basis. See my post A Beginners Guide to Content Marketing to learn more about its importance.
- Integration with Google maps, which enables consumers to find pertinent contact information like your phone number, address, directions, and hours of operation.
Google Plus post timing
A great app called Google+ Timing calculates the optimal time to share your posts on Google+. After granting the app access to your Google+ profile, it analyzes engagement on your posts, and determines what time is best for you to post. It's a pretty hand tool to keep in your arsenal.