Google+ has been on the lips of every online marketing professional since early 2011. With a base that has now passed 62 million users and the integration of Google+ into Google search, it has become clear that Google+ is here to stay.
As this new social platform continues to evolve it may be difficult to keep up with the latest trends, changes, and tactics for creating an optimized and influential Google+ profile for you and your business. With recent events and the release of Chris Brogan’s new book “Google+ for Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything” Lee and I thought it seemed a good time to compile some helpful tips of our own and some from Chris’s new book to help professionals take some of the fear and uncertainty out of using Google+.
Author Information in Search Results
I’m sure over the last couple of months you’ve noticed author information included in Google search results. This feature displays a photo of the author as well as an opportunity to add them to your Google+ circles. Getting Author information to appear in the search results next to content that you create can be accomplished a few ways.
Google suggests adding your name and your email address to each article or blog post and then verifying that same email address within your Google+ profile. The other option is a good old fashioned link exchange between the content you create and your Google+ profile. Add a Google Profile button to your site or manually add the link using: <a href=”[profile_url]?rel=author”>Google</a> and replace the [profile_url] with the long id in your Google+ profile web address. Then make sure you link to the sites that you contribute to from your Google+ Profile in the area called “Contribute to”. Once you do that, there’s a form you need to fill out.
Google Plus for Search
Many SEO professionals and Marketers were up in arms after last weeks release of Google+ search functionality. It appears that Google is favoring it’s own content over others. Google does include information from some networks such as Quora or Flickr, but at this point is excluding popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. What does this mean for marketers?
Take full advantage of these changes and post useufl information on your Google+ profile or company page that are relevant to your business and the business problems of your customers. Engage with others and be useful and interesting so that as many other relevant users of Google+ add you to their circles as possible. The larger your network on Google+, the more likely your content will appear prominently in their search results.
“Where Google+ Fits in the Business Ecosystem”
Outside of the obvious need to have a presence in Google+ for search visibility, there are other good reasons for professionals to leverage the social network. In his book, Chris Brogan expresses that how a company uses Google+ for business is up to them, and that there are many opportunities to consider when building a Google+ strategy. The suggestions in the book are pretty much best practices for any kind of social network involvement and with all the attention being paid to Google+ the past few months it’s a good time to review. Some of the ways you may want to consider using Google+ for your business or professional online presence include:
- Community Building
- Contests & Promotions
- Customer Service
“The Most Important Part of Your Profile: The Introduction”
Building out your Google+ profile is essential for how people perceive your brand. Google+ for Business puts special emphasis on creating a stellar introduction for Google+ profiles. The introduction field in you Google+ profile should include:
- Professional Experience: give your potential customers an idea of what it might look like to work with them.
- Personal Information: this will inform prospects what matters most to you outside of business.
- Linking: do not stuff your profile with links but be sure to link to outside resources where appropriate.
“Posting to Build Connections”
If part of your marketing strategy is to connect with interesting or influential people, Google+ this is a good way to inspire creativity in your own content. Some helpful tips for creating content to drive connections would include:
- Source information from websites that are not always sources. Posting interesting information from a more obscure sight is likely to catch the attention of new followers.
- Original content that takes a different stance from the majority of users is likely to get you some attention.
- Curiosity drives traffic, share some interesting knowledge that you have about something you care about such as music or film.
There is a wealth of information being created each day on optimizing, creating content, and socializing using Google+. Over the next few months Google will only continue to roll out changes to their Google+ platform and either by incentive or usefulness, Google+ will grow.
What are your most pressing questions about Google+? Has your business created a page yet? How are you getting your staff on board with Google+ profiles or are you focusing more on your brand page?
Be sure to connect with TopRank Online Marketing on Google+ here.