Clare Moorhouse

Harnessing the Power of Google Plus

There’s been a lot of misconception, and even skepticism surrounding Google’s social destination. “I already use Twitter” or “There’s no real benefit for social media from a B2B perspective”. These are some of the comments I’ve been hearing. To make matters worse, there’s a general lack of useful guides available out there that highlight the benefits of Google’s social layer from a business perspective.

This article will hopefully go some way to convince you that Google Plus is THE social media platform for businesses, and give you practical tips to build out your profile so that you can fully embrace all that Google Plus has to offer.

Google + for Businesses – do I need to manage yet another social platform?
If you answer yes to any of these questions below, then yes, I’m afraid you do:

  • Are you a local Business?
  • Do you use Google Adwords?
  • Do you write lots of content, blogs or guides?
  • Do you want to promote individuals within your organisation to be a thought-leader?
  • Do you want better search engine ranking & more click-throughs?
  • Do you want to build your brand reputation online?

Let’s talk about each of these features in more detail so that you understand the benefits:

Local Businesses
If your business operates specifically in a local area, Google Plus can help grow and promote your business to your local market. Google gives high priority to local businesses in its search results by placing these Google local pages results directly underneath the Adwords listings.

Google+ Local is an upgrade from the old Google Places. If you already had a Google Places page then your profile should have automatically migrated across. Take some time to build out your profile further and share posts, videos and photos of your organisation to make your Google + page really stand out.

Included in Google+ Local pages are customer reviews, which now play a big part in a buyer’s decision process. Google then uses these reviews to create their own scoring system, which is also published next to each listing.

Adwords Customers
The integration of Google + with Adwords allows advertisers to use social proof to enhance their advertisements. Google can show endorsements (reviews) on your Google Adwords for your business from your Google + followers. It will also show the amount of followers you have on Google+ to convince customers that you can be trusted. You can opt out of this feature, but it’s a sure indicator of your brand’s credibility online as it will only improve your Click Through Rate and increase the chances of a conversion.

Promoting Content
We should all be aware by now of the power of content, and the benefits it can bring to your brand. Google Plus is Google’s attempt at promoting and rewarding good quality content. It wants those who produce great content to get rewarded for it, and for users to find content quickly that’s relevant to what they’re looking for. Simple…when you say it quickly!

If you haven’t already done so, get the +1 button on your website. One of the biggest advantages of using Google + is that when your content is +1’d, it signals to the search engine that your content is quality content and improves your chances of getting a better ranking.

You don’t have to wait for people to +1 you, share the best content you create on your Google+ stream (same you do for Twitter). You’ll find the Google Plus stream a lot geared towards the promotion of content than other social platforms; including the ability to place photos, videos and links alongside your article, and then share that content with a specific group of people in your “circles” that you feel that article is relevant for.

Thought-Leadership
Have you noticed those lovely thumbnail pics of individuals alongside the SERPs recently? This is Google Plus working it’s magic once again. It’s called Google Authorship. With Google Authorship, companies can relate content that an individual within their organisation has written to an individual’s Google Plus profile. There’s many advantages of doing this, namely:

  • It positions key individuals within your organisation as “thought-leaders”; giving them (and the business) credibility for being an expert in a particular area or subject.
  • These search results with thumbnail images associated with them have said to receive a 38% more chance of being clicked on. Again, more clicks, more credibility and better conversions.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Associate your Google Plus with the website you write content for. This can found in the “About” section of you G+ profile, where it says “Contributor to”
  • The website owner/editor then has to implement the rel=authorship tag on their site using

<a rel=”author” href=http://plus.google.com/{insert_google_plus_id_here}>

 

Increased Search Engine Ranking & More Click-Throughs
The social media landscape is opening up a whole new world of opportunities for businesses. Likes, shares, +1s and retweets all impact search rankings and influence which pages are more relevant for keyword searches.

The way I see it, Google Plus is really trying to integrate the social signals they can extract from Google plus into their search engine rankings. Google Authorship is just the tip of the iceburg of what’s to come. Who knows what the SERPs will look like or look for in years to come, but now’s the time to jump on board the social media band wagon if you haven’t done so already.

Build Brand Credibility Online
There’s no denying that brand reputation is becoming more and more transparent online. You only need to search for a local restaurant in your area to find reviews, and scores of those places that influence your decision.

Do a search in Google for Cadbury and you’ll notice how much space their brand and photos takes up in the SERPs on the right. Cadbury were early adopters of Google plus and now boast a following of over 3 million people. Impressive yes, but they’re now reaping the benefits of what they put it into it when G+ started.

To sum up
As Google continues to build on it’s social networking “layer” it will be interesting to see what features they include and what other factors influence search rankings. But one thing’s for sure, Google Plus is not one to be ignored. It’s only getting bigger. Not forgetting that it’s being developed by the biggest search engine in the world, who has very deep pockets.

To get more help with Google + please contact our Search Team who can help set up your profile so you can start seeing some of the benefits for yourself.

Which social media channels are you using? Are you seeing the benefits? We’d love to hear your views!

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