Let’s admit it; some marketers tend to think that social media platforms are factors in their SERP. If you are one of them, now’s the time to erase that thought. Your posts on social media do not directly impact your SERP. Social media sites are channels that drive users to your website.
Yet, if there is one social media site that you should start using when improving your SERP, it is definitely Google Plus.
Before explaining the how’s, here are some facts you need to know about Google Plus.
Backed by the most powerful search engine, Google Plus has 418 million active users as of 2015. It recently made its changes last November 2015 to make it more interactive, but that’s another story to tell. We’ll focus first on these important figures about Google Plus:
- 20 million users are on mobile
- In North America, 64% B2B marketers use it in content distribution
- Asians make up only 2% of Google Plus’ active users in terms of social sharing engagement
- 53% of Google Plus users interact positively with brands
The concept is almost the same as other social media sites. You connect and interact through circles, Google Hangouts, communities and collections, and pages. And there are more changes to expect in the future.
Now let us go back to the question. How does Google Plus help in your SERP?
Google Plus improves your authority
It is not only your SEO or content writer’s job to improve your authority through quality content and technicalities. Your social media presence is a big factor to your authority and branding.
Here are the Google Plus factors that affect your authority
- Longtail keywords
- +1s and shares
- Frequency of posts
- Business Page optimization, and
- Number of followers
Post SEO friendly quality content that your audience likes. By statistics, GIFs have higher engagement compared to videos. Images have the highest engagement in terms of +1s. So if you are planning to create a content schedule, take these into consideration.
But do not limit yourself to content only. Same as traditional marketing, you also need to interact with your audience through answering queries, contests, promos, and surveys to name a few.
When you have authority, people will begin to search for you – this is commonly called as organic search.
Local optimization of your brand
Creating your own Google My Business page prompts you to have a business listing on Google Maps. This is important particularly if you are creating awareness to your audience. You want your business to be seen locally when users start typing “best restaurants in this area” or “most popular brands in this city” among any others.
Google My Business does not only create you a business listing on Google Maps. It also allows your customers to leave reviews; which are very important to keep a good reputation.
Keep in mind that it takes a while to optimize your brand. Some points you need to make sure when setting up your Google My Business page are:
- Your business name
It has to be free from errors and must be the same as your website.
- Quality logo
You want users to remember your brand if they are asked about what their favorite product is. Your logo is one of the big factors that build up brand awareness, so, you have to consider using quality images.
- Website URL
Of course, you created a business page to redirect users to your website. You definitely don’t want to miss the opportunity of increasing your ROI by losing one customer.
- Description of the business
It has to be brief, but concise, and SEO friendly.
- Business hours
Just like a brick-and-mortar business, keep the audience informed about the time when you can engage and listen to their needs.
But remember, Google Plus DOES NOT directly affect search results
It is a common misconception that using Google Plus means immediate good search results.
No, it doesn’t.
A study conducted by Moz last 2013 suggested that the +1s are correlated with your search rankings. Matt Cutts disapproved this on the same year when the study is conducted. However, Cutts agreed that Google Plus pass PageRank and allow anchor text.
The question now is; should you care about getting +1s and shares?
Yes. Although they do not directly improve your search results, it helps you build your authority. Remember that authority is different from SERP. There are businesses that are popular but won’t show on the first page of search engine, and vice versa.
You need to keep in mind as well that having a Google Plus account does not guarantee you anything. Your interaction with the audience is a vital part and it does not only apply to your online presence but to your business as well.
5 Important notes to do when using Google Plus
1. Connect as much as you can
Who will you be interacting with if you don’t have followers? Oftentimes, it is quantity over quality on social media. The truth is it has to be quality and quantity all the time. You may gain a thousand followers but it is pointless if only less than half interacts. It is going to be a long way in choosing the right people; but over time, they will get in your boat.
2. Join communities
This is a great way to build your presence on Google Plus. Communities are where users with the same interests interact. Some communities have rules to follow; you better abide so you won’t be banned.
3. Create your own community
If you join communities, it is a better idea to have your own. And, it is better if you start early so you can build your authority as soon as you can. Never mind if you don’t have a huge number of followers yet. It will grow over time if you remain consistent with your engagement.
4. Complete all the details on your profile
Users want to make sure that your business is legit. Begin by completing all the information about what you do, history, mission and vision to name a few. Make sure that the information on your About page contains keywords – better if they are long tail ones. Do not forget to customize your Google Plus URL. Include your website URL, social media accounts, and other ways where they can connect with you.
5. Maximize the power of hashtags
Google Plus automatically put a hashtag on your post – depending on the keywords used. But you can always change or add other hashtags. Oftentimes, users find products when they type or click them.
How to find the trending hashtags?
Click on Explore from the Menu and it will show you the trending topics. Google Plus categorizes the trends such as sports, technology, photography etc. Check out if there’s a better hashtag to include on your post.
Takeaways and Conclusions
Although Google Plus is designed to interact with people, its advantage is being backed by the most powerful engine in this world. Keep it mind that it only helps you build authority, but think of it as an advantage especially in the long run. Truth be told that most entrepreneurs prefer authority over SERP because it means users trust them.
At the end of the day, you can never rely solely on Google Plus for your business success. It is only one of the channels to attract more people to get in your boat. The success still depends on your hands.