And Google+ isn’t that much different, really.
But let’s make sure we’re all extracting as much SEO value from it as possible, yeah?
Granted, things change with the platform, continuously, but we’re going to cover some of the basic principles that will help you squeeze juice out of those +’s.
(Obviously, Matt Cutts denies this).
Yes, are there other factors that are more important? Sure. Are there other elements that should be in place first, before you start unleashing SEO mayhem on Google+? Absolutely.
Let’s Get Up To Speed On Google+
Out of the 200 or so signals that Google relies on to organize and rank websites, social signs are certainly in the mix.
It does seem like Google+ is much more intricately related to search results than, say, Facebook or Twitter.
On the one hand, both of those social media platforms have limited what Google has access to. On the other, Google+ is, well, Google’s own network, to compete with everyone else.
Naturally, if you can give your own products an advantage, why wouldn’t you?
(Let’s not be too naive about the “don’t be evil” mantra – besides, why would you actually trust anyone who, themselves, claim to not be evil? That’s like Machiavelli 101)
So, all in all, likes, tweets, shares, comments, and social activity matters for their algorithm.
So What Makes Google+ A Little Different?
It comes down to how any user-generated content is treated.
Public posts on Google+ are crawled and indexed, rather quickly, for search. Most tweets, posts, and other social media shares are not (Twitter told Google to “no follow” most links and Facebook privacy settings puts up a wall, too).
You could, potentially, optimize your posts with target keywords and long-tail terms with particular Google+ posts.
Also, if your post gets shared with other “circles” and +1’d, that could at the very least generate traffic and gain more exposure for your content to get linked to by others.
Google+ is like a favorite grandchild, or something, as it’s being used to enhance real-time search.
Not only that, but there are things like rich snippets and Google Authorship, with information, graphics, and pictures showing up in the SERPs (often resulting in an increase of CTRs).
The Google+ Basics That Yield Maximum SEO Results
Let’s cover a few basics that you should utilize to really get the most SEO value.
1. Do +1’s Matter Or Not?
Look, we know Matt Cutts is denying any +1 correlation and factoring in with Google’s algorithm.
But data seems to suggest otherwise — at least strongly enough where it’s worth attempting to get as many +1’s as you can.
And no one is saying those will automatically send your website through the ranking stratosphere, but social signals like +1’s and organic link building that can occur through content discovery by others? Sounds like winning, to me.
Keep in mind: you have to post as a “shared link”, and not simply post it in the content, and use the title tag of the content as anchor text.
2. Optimize Your Google+ Posts And Profile
Here are a few tips to help you post the most effective content, from the obvious to useful:
- Make it easy to share your content on Google+ — Do you have a +1 button added and linked up properly? Sure, a lot of people are probably preferring to just tweet or like your content, but don’t neglect to make your button easy to find and use. Capture those visitors who are using Google+, even though most probably are not.
- Optimize your profile — Fill out your profile with information about yourself and what you’re doing. Add the appropriate links to the Link section, such as “Other profiles”, “Contributor to”, and “Links”. Also, under Story, you can include links with anchor text in your “Introduction” section.
- Increase Your Presence — Start circling interesting people in your field, colleagues, or other interests. Anything you share can also be to specific Circles you’ve organized. Getting this right from the beginning will improve your chances of getting those shares and +1’s for your posts. Only sharing relevant information with the right people will go a long way. As always, be helpful and engaging, don’t just self-promote.
- Connect With Communities — Start joining, and even creating, communities. These are tribes organized around specific businesses, interest, ideas, apps, and so on. You should regularly post and engage with these communities to earn shares, links, and +1’s from relevant and related Google+ users. The key is, as always, relevancy. Building up a pattern of engagement here will only help you.
- Use Hashtags And Mentions — This will help you gain visibility and show up in streams for your hashtags. There are plenty already in use by others, so tap into those to spread your posts. And if you mention other people specifically, you have a greater chance of attracting +1’s and shares.
3. Google Authorship Advantage
So there’s still some controversy over this, and some say it’s dead but still alive. But, for all intents and purposes, Google Authorship still offers some advantages for SEO.
The basic premise is that trusted and established authors would get a ranking edge over less-than-trustworthy and shady sources.
Some of this is happening somewhat “organically”, as building trust on Google+ goes a long way already, with extensive and established networks of Circles and Communities.
This often means you can have hundreds (eventually even thousands) of shares, +1’s, and indexed links.
While Authorship has no impact on SEO rankings (yet? Who knows what the future holds), it’s still helpful — not necessarily for rankings as a direct effect, but driving traffic to your site.
Having your smiley face show up in SERPs, along with name and basic Google+ info, can help increase the CTR (click-through rate). This, in itself, can affect your ranking in the long-term (reduce bounce rate, more relevant and quality traffic that click-through and stick around on your site).
The Authorship short-term effects, with long-term SEO results, are communicating relevancy, building trust, establishing credibility, and improving CTR.
The Google+ Story So Far…
Sure, we can debate the actual, direct, short-term SEO results of being active on and with Google+.
But, for now, there are indirect benefits to be had from Google Authorship, sharing and posting content to your Circles and Communities, and having your content +1’d.
While there is a 15% reduction in rich snippets showing up in the SERPs, and some claim the Authorship project is all but abandoned, there is still traffic to be had from Google+.
Are you using Google+ for SEO reasons, at all? Would you?