By Jason Miller
Published October 18, 2012
Are you wondering how to best use Google+ to enhance your marketing?
Google+ is quickly becoming an essential part of any business social media strategy.
It boasts a cool 250 million users! And this number is sure to grow very quickly as Google is making a Google+ account mandatory for all Gmail users.
It’s an audience marketer cannot ignore.
Google+ can help people learn about what makes your business tick — your products, promotions, hours and anything else you want to share.
Google+ also plays a major role in search engine optimization (SEO) by making it easier for marketers show up in search results—yet another reason to include Google+ in your social media strategy.
Here are five simple ways to give your business an almost immediate boost using Google+.
#1: Include Keywords and Relevant Links on Your About Page
The About page is a fantastic opportunity to give a quick overview of your business.
You can also link back to specific pages and services from this page, directing potential customers to the most important pages on your website.
It’s important to have a balance of marketing-savvy copy that’s also SEO-friendly. So make sure to include information that searchers will want to know about your company.
Include keywords and links relevant to your business on the About page.
Take advantage of the fact that Google+ allows you to use bullets in your description, which makes it simple to create an easy-to-read list of your products and services.
You can also include links to specific pages and a contact form.
Test and track different variations to see what works best for your business.
#2: Connect With Your Whole Audience Using Google+ Events
Google recently announced the Events feature which allows Google+ users to send out customized invitations to anyone regardless of whether they are Google+ users. It syncs beautifully with Google Calendar and shows up automatically when a user confirms for an event.
In addition to sending out invites to webinars, work functions, parties, etc., Google Events can also send out invites for Google+ Hangouts.
This could be the catalyst to get your business on board with Hangouts or increase the awareness and attendance of the events you’re already hosting.
You can use the Event Tool to send invitations for Hangouts as well as other events.
The “Party Mode” feature of Events allows everyone in attendance to instantly upload pictures into the same album using the Google+ mobile app, creating a living, real-time photo journal of a specific time and place. You can then show the photos off in chronological order as a slides how, all within Google+.
#3: Post Often and Optimize for Best Search Results
Google’s Social Search results are more relevant when they take into account your social connections. That makes it important to include keywords within your posts so that they will show up in your followers’ search results.
Google’s search algorithm includes personalized search results specifically pulled from Google+ activity. The more relevant and content-based your Google+ posts are, the more search results you are likely to show up in.
When a user is signed in to their Google account the search results may highlight relevant content that’s created by or shared by your social connections.
For example, a search for “B2B marketing” shows activity from my connections as most relevant under Google’s Social Search personalized results.
#4: Set Up Google Authorship for SEO Benefits
Google is aggressively using SEO benefits to entice webmasters and bloggers to engage with Google+. Google Authorship is how Google authenticates and will increasingly begin to “trust” you as a quality source of content.
Setting up Google Authorship is simple and straightforward.
You identify yourself to Google through your Google+ profile and then link back to it from your content and vice versa.
Google Authorship is the easiest way to take advantage of the SEO benefits of Google+. Doing so will allow the author’s picture to show up next to his or her blog posts in Google search results, causing higher rankings and click-through rates.
Search results with author images are more trusted and much more likely to get clicks.
The business benefits of setting up a Google Authorship will:
- Increase awareness of your overall Google+ profile page
- Add a human element to your content and increase trustworthiness
- Help your content stand out from the crowded search results page
- Improve your chances of showing up in more personalized search results
- Protect the original post’s ranking position as higher than a post that has scraped or syndicated the original content
- Studies have shown that Google Authorship will increase click-through rates
Step 1: Add a link to your Google+ profile on each of your blog posts.
On each of your blog posts, add a link to your Google+ profile with “rel=author”attached to the end of the link URL.
Here’s an example: https://plus.google.com/111498947729292607681?rel=author. It doesn’t matter where on the page you put the link or what the anchor text is (the clickable words in the link). You can even link an image instead of text.
The end result would look like this: “By Jason Miller“.
If you want to insert this link into all of your blog posts automatically, then you can add it to your blog template; for example, in the footer or header (assuming your blog only has one author).
Step 2: Link from your Google+ profile back to your blog.
After you add a link to your Google+ profile for each one of your blog posts, the last step is to link from the opposite direction, from your Google+ profile to your blog. You do this by adding a link to your blog in the “Contributor to” section of your Google+ profile.
Include links to each blog that you contribute content to.
#5: Find Relevant Users and Conversations to Engage With
The number-one rule for success within a community or social platform is to engage in the relevant conversations that are taking place and add value when doing so. The success of your business within Google+ will be a direct result of how you engage from both your personal and business pages.
Here are two great places to find users and conversations to engage with.
Google+ shared circles directory: For your personal page, check out this Google+ shared circles database created by Chris Porter. It’s a fantastic list of Google+ circles based on industry.
Google+ shared circle databases are a great way to find targeted circles to engage.
With one click you can add these shared circles to your personal Google+ circles and have a lively stream of relevant posts and conversations to engage with.
Since your business page cannot circle someone until they circle you, it’s important to build relationships with your personal page and introduce your business page’s content where appropriate.
Take advantage of the rich search functionality of Google+: Search for mentions of your brand and industry-related keywords. Save your searches and they appear on your left sidebar for quick reference.
Regularly search your brand name and top keywords to find mentions and conversations.
Monitor your saved searches daily and respond to mentions, comment on threads and re-share people’s posts.
Even if you have nothing to say, a +1 or a simple “thanks for the mention” or “great post” lets them know that you’re paying attention. Staying top of mind is terribly underrated and these simple gestures will make an impact over time.
Over to You
Following the five steps above will give you and your business a jump-start and a solid foundation to build your overall Google+ strategy upon.
Spending a few minutes a day nurturing your presence will not only boost your Google+ profile, but also increase your business’s overall online presence.
What do you think? Did you find these tips helpful? How many are you currently incorporating into your social plan?
Please share your comments below.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Jason Miller
Jason Miller is the Social Media Manager at Marketo and a regular contributor to the Modern B2B Marketing Blog. In addition, he is an amateur comedian, Radian 6 evangelists, and a Seinfeld trivia champion. Other posts by Jason Miller »