We know, we know. We’ve been talking about how important Google+ has become to SEO for weeks. And we’ve decided to put our money where our mouth—er, keyboard–is and give you some solid proof to back up our claim—and some actionable advice to go along with it.
1. Face it: Google+ isn’t going anywhere.
Sure, Google Buzz and Google Wave were flops, but the search giant has apparently learned from its previous failed forays into the social scene. They’re ensuring that G+ won’t fall to the same fate as their previous endeavors by making it so critically essential to SEO that it’s impossible to ignore.
2. The +1 button scores you added SEO points.
That +1 button that started popping up all over the SERPs feeds directly into Google’s algorithm. If you haven’t yet embedded the +1 button into your standard social sharing widget that accompanies all your posts, do so immediately. Every time a user clicks that +1 button, you score valuable relevance points that will influence your rankings.
3. Sharing your content on Google+ ensures quick indexing.
Not only do your status updates get indexed, but they get indexed quickly. It’s basically a simple way to catch Google’s attention. Admit it: There couldn’t have been a more genius move on Google’s part. They’ve essentially forced publishers to use the platform—and use it actively.
4. Optimized post title tags are correlated with high rankings.
It doesn’t stop with simple indexing. Posts on the social network have a built-in title tag that can benefit you even more if you optimize them. The first sentence of your Google+ updates will form the title tag, so use keywords wisely to boost SEO and click-through rates.
5. There are tons of ways to engage other users.
Facebook lets you post to other profiles and pages within the network, invite users to events, tag them in photos and so forth, but your options are limited. You can tag another user in a post, send them a message or post directly to their wall. And you always run the risk of turning someone off if it seems like you’re spamming them.
But with Google+, there are multiple ways to connect with other users—and they’re so naturally ingrained into the way the platform works that you can use many of these strategies without wading into the spammer pool. You can add other users to your Circles—and it doesn’t require them to accept you as a friend. Mention them in posts, comment on posts they’ve been mentioned in or commented on or share posts with other users directly, among others. You can still cross the line into spam-land if you go too far, so exhibit a little self-control.
6. Google Authorship.
Need we say more? Google Authorship is one of the best features Google has ever introduced, and it has incredible SEO benefits. The first step is adding yourself as a contributor to the web properties you write for. It’s as simple as adding a few links to your profile. If you run your own blog, add your Google+ profile to your WordPress platform.
Google will start recognizing you as an author for the posts you produce—and your Google+ photo will start showing up in the SERPs next to those listings, improving the odds that users will click. Google will also include a link back to your Google+ profile, so you’re getting the added benefit of increased exposure and a boost in your connections.
7. You can check your Circle rank.
Checking your Circle rank score in Google+ lets you know how you measure up to other users in similar industries. It’s like a built-in authority rating. You’ll also see how successful your individual posts have been and whether they’ve gone viral. It’s a handy little tool to keep tabs on how effective your content and social updates are—monitor regularly, and change things up as needed.
8. You’re dying to host a Hangout (even though you’ll never admit it).
Shhh, we promise we won’t tell. Pinky swear. You have to admit Hangouts are one of the coolest unique features Google+ has unveiled. In all seriousness, Hangouts can be incredibly useful. They’re hosted via YouTube and will live on forever in eternity—unless, of course, you choose to delete them. But what other platform lets you essentially host a live video webinar with built-in recording capabilities? For free?
You can control the privacy settings on Hangouts, too. So if you want to have a quick meetup with a few friends or team members, you can make it private. And when you want to hold a public broadcast, you can use even more Google+ features—such as the Events feature—to ramp up the SEO value a little further.
Here’s the thing: You can talk about how the average user simply hasn’t embraced Google+ the way they have Facebook, and that it’s a waste of your time to promote your business on a social platform that only businesses are using.
Problem is, Google has used its secret powers of manipulation to give you plenty of OTHER reasons why you can’t ignore their latest foray into social media. With newer features like Google Authorship, you’re going to see an increase in activity from average users on the platform. Coupled with the SEO benefits you’re going to reap by being active on the network, it really doesn’t matter whether your Google+ page is getting as much action as your Facebook brand page. But with users undergoing Facebook Fatigue and Authorship making Google+ profiles more prominent in the SERPs, you’re going to see an uptick in activity on Google+ in the near future.