January 19, 2012
There’s just no denying the dominance of Google+ in search results pages anymore, and many experts agree. Though plenty are still sour over Google’s self-serving move to incorporate Google+ results in SERPs through Search Plus Your World (SPYW), numerous SEM and SEO experts, including Social Media Examiner’s Lisa Peyton and SEOmoz CEO Rand Fishkin are slowly surrendering to the situation and suggesting others to do the same. “It's my opinion that if SPYW continues to roll out to all logged-in Google users and Google stays as aggressive as it's been in the last 10 days with pushing Google+ for even logged-out users, the service will become a necessity for search and social marketers,” states Fishkin. He adds, “I'm no particular fan of using your market power to force users onto a platform they may not want, [but] I'm also a realist.” The reality is, whether you like it or not, Google+ is topping Google SERPs, and not using it for rebelliousness’s sake is just going to make you miss a lot of opportunities as a web marketer or website developer.
Do We Really Have To?
In his blog on SEOmoz, Rand Fishkin points out several reasons why web marketers should start riding the SPYW bandwagon and establishing a really good Google+ page, including:
- Google+ is in the search results like you have never seen before. Plenty of testimonies and examples have been posted online about how Google+ pages have been taking over the top spots for search results, outranking even official websites, and more updated Facebook and Twitter accounts. If you don’t update your Google+ account or add more content to it, it would look pretty bad.
- The power of association and keyword association. When you post content about a certain topic or +1 something, people in your “circles” or your whole network of friends and associates will see this at the top of their search results when searching for the same topic no matter how broad or small your entry. And this will happen solely because of your connection in Google+, not necessarily because of the credibility or popularity of what you posted or +1ed. Also, whatever you share can top the same number of SERPs as your number of friends and associates. Hence, thousands of connections could mean the top spot on thousands of SERPs.
In Fishkin’s searches, he’s also found that specific Google+ pages can rank really high for really broad terms. For instance, in a search for the term “SEO”, Fishkin’s Google+ page was among the top results. It’s one thing to appear in SERPs of your friends, but to appear as a result for such a broad term means you get exposure to billions of searchers around the world.
According to Marc Pitman of the Social Media Examiner, many users also find Google+ to be cleaner and more clutter-free than other social sites. It’s also easier to retrieve your personal information, thereby making it easier to protect your privacy. It’s gained a slew of new features such as multiple admins for business pages, “On Air” hangouts, free voice calls, integration with Google Music and other Google tools, face-recognition capabilities, heftier integration with Gmail and contacts and many more to come. And Google+ has had a growth rate that is faster than that of Facebook or Twitter.
Achieving Success with Google+
So how do you make Google+ work for you and your search engine optimisation? Here we’ve compiled a list of tips to make topping SERPs a cinch with Google+:
- Link, Link, Link. In an article by online marketing consultant Kristi Hines on the Social Media Examiner, she points out how Google+ followers can really boost rankings, and in order to increase your number of followers you have to scatter a lot of links. Put a link to your Google+ profile and/or web page on your website, on forum profiles, other social media profiles, email signatures, when commenting on blogs and anywhere else it is allowed. Adding a Google+ badge to your website can also help.
- Set up Authorship. Another tip Hines gives is to set up authorship for articles you’ve written using Google+. Using this will let logged on searchers add you directly to their circles, and of course, secures your blog or any other written work a top spot in SERPs because of the Google+ connection. Directions for setting this up can be found in the Google+ explanation of author information in search results.
- Encourage +1’s. Install them in individual pages and your main homepage to establish social proof of popularity.
- Fill Out All Your Information. Hines says that Google “prioritizes different areas of the [Google+] profile for both on-page optimization and in search results.” These areas include your profile name, other profiles (on the right side of your Google+ profile) and the first 55 characters of your introduction. Make sure you zone in on those areas and have them filled out properly.
- Post Engaging Content. Lisa Peyton of Social Media Examiner surveyed the most popular and followed pages on Google+ and found that they all offered the most interactive content which included unique and unpredictable media and the latest news events and issues. The pages were updated several times a day and were consistent in giving what their audience wanted. So here again, the very fundamental aspect of knowing your audience proves extremely useful.
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