It's time to round up our social media series. It's been two months, in which we covered a wide array of platforms and best practices for work with them. Of course, social media is such a large topic that it deserves a whole blog dedicated solely on it. At MBC, however, we touch on different aspects of business development. This is why we will now be transitioning to another complex field - SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). So it only makes sense that we do the crossover with perhaps the strongest link between social media and SEO - Google Plus. I won't be surprised if most of you don't use it in your daily marketing activities. It never became as popular as Facebook or Twitter. Nevertheless, this doesn't take a pinch from its significance for powerful SEO. Let's learn how to best utilise Google Plus and easily get found on the search engine.
Who is on Google Plus
Google Plus is a little different than the majority of social networks and so are its demographics.
Google Plus has almost 400 million active users per month and more than half of them are located in the United States.
It appeals more to the older generation with 70% of users being over the age of 35. This also suggests that people on this platform have higher purchasing power.
Roughly 74% of G+ users are male, but the gender proportion of U.S. users is almost equal, meaning that outside of the States, Google Plus is mainly used by men.
Users on G+ are looking for knowledge and solutions to their problems. Most of them are not interested in personal events and sharing of moods and feelings, unless these provide some value and moral to learn from.
How does Google Plus Work
Very simply put, Google Plus is a hybrid of Facebook and Pinterest. Perhaps, a sprinkle of LinkedIn too, considering the demographics, their interest and intent to be on the social network.
When you connect with people on G+ you create circles. These can be work colleagues, close friends, family or any other specific groups of people. This makes the segregated sharing of content easy. You can share particular posts with some circles and leave out others. Of course, if you are marketing your products and services, you want to make your posts public, so they are seen by as many people as possible.
On Google Plus you can join and create communities. These are very similar to Facebook groups and Pinterest group boards. They let you promote your business content, collaborate with others and of course, provide value by sharing your knowledge.
There are two ways in which you can use Google Plus - from a personal profile and from a Business Page. One of the benefits of the latter is that it can be managed by more than one person (like Facebook Pages). That's quite handy if you have a business partner, a marketing team or you outsource social media management to an agency or a freelancer. The other benefit of G+ Business Page is that it allows your local business to be listed on Google Maps and makes it possible for people to leave reviews. Now this can be a huge advantage, not only from an SEO perspective, but also for the decision making process of a potential customer. You tend to pick a service with the most positive reviews, don't you?
How does Google Plus Affect SEO
First and foremost, G+ is part of the Google family. It is only logical that the Search Engine will favour content that is shared on its own social media platform than others.
Furthermore, value content gets more engagement on Google Plus than other social media platforms, because people are more interested in learning. Remember, they come to the platform to find solutions. More engagement means more bonus points for your Google ranking.
Here come the more interesting parts, directly influencing your SEO and search position. Google Plus posts get indexed much faster than any other web page. It can take days for robots to crawl your blog and index your page. It takes 5 to 10 seconds for a G+ post to be indexed. You see the difference yourself.
If these reasons were not enough to persuade you to increase your marketing efforts on Google Plus, the next one will surely do. Did you know that the results you get on Google when you search for something are based on the people in your circles if you ever created a G+ account, even if you don't use it? This is because of the personalisation settings and data all social media and digital platforms use. What does that really mean for your business? You can get a lot more organic traffic to your website from a targeted audience with the help of Google Plus. Here's how:
Create circles of people who are interested in what you do or offer
Post relevant and value rich content
Enjoy being discovered organically on Google, even if these people never get to see your G+ post.
Let me explain further how this works. If you searched for a particular keyword phrase on Google and you were not logged in, a given article would show on position 16, for example. Now, if that article was written by someone who is in your G+ circles and was shared on Google Plus at some point, when you log in and perform the same search, the article will show on a much higher position like 6 or 7. Any objections to the relevance of Google Plus to powerful SEO?
What to Post on Google Plus
Typically, images and videos perform best on G+, as it is with other social media networks as well. As I stated, several times above, Google Plus users are looking for solutions to their problems, so create content that can provide these. Last but not least, try to be current. This means post news and buzz articles that will spike people's interest and make them click on the link.
As to when is the best time to post on G+, this will vary for every business. Test and discover. Post during different days and times to find out when you get the most engagement. Once you have that information it's easy to create a schedule.
A Quick Trick to Get More Traffic through Google Plus
If you are desperate for traffic and high numbers are your main goal, there's something you can do on G+ to achieve it.
Choose a large community, for example "Motivational Quotes"
Download a nice image with a great motivational quote on it that somehow relates to your content. You can also create the image with a number of online tools, like Canva.
Post the image to the community, add your link to your blog post or web page you want traffic to and remove the link preview.
Now you can get hundreds of clicks to your website or blog.
Warning! If you abuse this trick by posting completely irrelevant content to the image you share, it will result in a high bounce rate. This can potentially harm your Google rankings. In addition, it may get you banned from some communities for violating their rule. Always read the rules before you post anything to G+ communities.
Have any questions? Pop them in the comments below.