Google+ is rapidly gaining ground as a primary social network for business users, with far more to offer the business user than Facebook for example.
As a newcomer to the social network myself, and in the process of creating a strategy through which I’ll be using Google+, this post outlines four main reasons why you should incorporate Google+ into your own content marketing strategy and how it can provide significant benefits to your business.
Above all, you should see Google+ as another important branch on your Content Tree™. It provides you with another opportunity to use and further syndicate your content, and in so doing, attract and connect with an audience who may otherwise never come across you.
So how does it differ from other social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn?
According to Google+ expert and aficionado, Chris Brogan, whereas Facebook tends to be the place to meet and interact with friends, colleagues, etc. you already have, Google+ is a lot more open and allows you to find and connect with people who have like-minded interests. As such, it presents more opportunities to do business.
He also states that while LinkedIn tends to be seen as the main social network for business, people on the network tend to use it incorrectly or poorly, sending prospecting (and often ‘spammy’) messages to their network, and using it to keep their resumes up to date. It is also mainly built on the premise that you should already know someone before connecting with them.
Instead, Google+ provides an opportunity to connect and build relationships with people you may not have come across before and don’t already know. You’ll generally connect with people who have like-minded interests, and as a result those people will also end up more minded to do business with you.
With email open rates under continual challenge, such as with Gmail’s tabbed inbox update in 2013, it makes good business sense to have numerous means of communicating with prospects at your disposal, and not to solely rely on any single one.
Prospects also have differing levels of receptivity to your communications depending on the environment they are in. For example, you’ll find a prospect less receptive to a sales message in Facebook than they might be in a different social network such as LinkedIn or Google+.
Google+ enables you to have contacts organized in different circles, and you can communicate with them differently depending on which circle they are in. For example, potential joint venture partners could be in one circle, potential customers could be in another.
When you add a new post, which can be based on content you already have such as a blog post, you can choose whether to make it public so everyone can see it, or limit your communications to one or more specific circles.
Google+ Hangouts also provide alternative, personalized, and real-time means of communication – you can have hangouts with up to 100 people at any one time, or video call hangouts with a maximum of 10 participants.
One practical application of this could be for example to interview someone of interest to your community in such a hangout, record the interview, and then enjoy ongoing mileage from it by putting the video on YouTube and sharing it through Google+.
3. Search Engine Visibility
According to a Search Engine Watch study, while links you share on Google+ may not have much impact on SEO, they have shown that Google+ activity impacts search in other ways.
For example, they illustrated that if someone is following you on Google+, your content will tend to have higher ranking in their search results. For an individual who has already indicated an interest in you, your online visibility can therefore increase markedly.
Perhaps more importantly, it doesn’t just stop at the individual level. An individual’s search results are also impacted by those who that individual follows on Google+. So if you are following anyone on Google+ who +1‘s some content, that content will have higher prominence in your own search results.
In other words, the search results people see are directly influenced by those who they choose to be influenced by (i.e. follow) on Google+.
That leads to two important conclusions:
- The stronger the audience you can build on Google+, the greater SEO benefit (and overall visibility) you’ll enjoy.
- Quality content is the foundation:
- You’ll attract followers in the first place and build your audience through the steady production of quality content and regular posts on Google+
- If someone with a large following decides to +1 or otherwise share your content, it can bring you a lot of exposure.
You’ll also find that content you share on Google+ is far easier to get ranked. So, in brief, a post on Google+ where you share your latest blog post can be far easier to rank and get you a lot of visibility than the original blog post itself.
4. Google Authorship
As a Google+ user, you can also link your Google+ account to content you have created online, so that Google knows who is behind the content and credit you accordingly. Known as Google Authorship, it gives you a couple of important benefits as follows (which is why we recently integrated it at SubmitYourArticle.com).
Firstly, you enjoy increased visibility in the listings, as result of your profile picture showing up in the search results. This means you can enjoy higher click-through rates than results that may be higher up the SERPs. It can also give your content higher credibility and authority, and that first impression is important when your content is often the first step in a relationship with a potential customer for your business.
Secondly, you start to build Author Rank, which enables Google to build a picture of the authority and credibility you enjoy as the author of that content, ultimately helping to form part of their ranking metrics (and likely an increasing factor going forward) and building your visibility further.
So that’s four reasons to be on Google+ and start to take advantage of the benefits it offers to your business. Need a fifth? The fact that Google own both the #1 and #2 search engines in the world should be reason enough to take this social network seriously and to start incorporating it into your content marketing strategy.