What's the deal with Google+?
I found myself asking this question several months ago. As someone who claims to know a little bit about social media I figured I'd better get on the Google+ band wagon.
It looks like I did so just in time. I'm thinking Google+ will be the social media platform that grabs the most attention in 2013. Sorry Pinterest, I still love you, but you were totally last year.
According to the Global Web Index report in January, Google+ is the second largest active social media platform globally. True story.
I was turned off by Google+ at first because it's interface is unlike other social media platforms and can be a little overwhelming and daunting to figure out how to use.
Google+ is like a grown up Facebook or Twitter with more targeted and intimate sharing options, making it way cooler to share photos with close friends and family, or other select "circles," on a personal level, and on a professional level, making it much easier to target your content towards the appropriate audience, especially with the communities tool.
I've started using it for our agency, Palmer, as well as our other clients, specifically local car dealerships. Capitalizing on the Local feature of Google+ is key for good SEO practice for smaller businesses.
"These days, if you seek exposure in the local niche, wooing targeted G+ audiences should be your priority," according to this SocialMediaToday article. "Positive reviews and ratings, as well as Google+ shares, are likely to improve your listing's rankings on Google..."
Which brings me to the main point in using Google+; it is directly tied in with SEO rankings.
I recommend you create a profile immediately and start playing around with it. Dedicate a few minutes each day to exploring what Google+ can offer you, set some goals and integrate it into your SEO/social media marketing strategy.
To set up your Google+ account follow these tips on how to begin using Google+:
- Make sure you complete your profile. Use keywords to best describe you, your content and/or your services when filling out your profile as often as possible without overkill. Also, include links to your other social media platforms.
- Make your page look pretty. Your cover photo should be 940 px wide by 180 px tall and your profile photo should be 260 px by 260 px. Make sure to label your cover photo and profile picture with an alt tag that has a keyword or two in it.
- Set up Google authorship. If you write for a blog or contribute to any other online publication. Utilizing Google Authorship will increase the SEO value of your published content with direct links to your Google+ page.
- Share relevant content. Use keywords, select tagging and links in your posts. Furthermore, post informative content.
- Engage with your audience. Just like you would on other social platforms, best utilize tagging, hashtags and asking for engagement from fans. The more engagement, the better your rankings. While this type of algorithm is also relevant in Facebook, it becomes even more important because your Google+ popularity will also affect your SEO.
To sum; Google+ is going to be the social media platform that dominates 2013. You should continually be looking for informative articles about the platform and start playing around with a profile for you and your business today.
This is a little out dated, but this HubSpot blog post explains best practices for setting up a business Google+ page as well.
Read how to set up Google Authorship in a recent Kim Garst blog post.