Google first introduced its social network, Google+, in June 2011. Just six months later it reportedly had 62 million users and is on track for 400 million users by the end of 2012. That will be half of Facebook’s total current user base in a fraction of the time, and double Twitter’s!
Just recently, Google announced Search, plus Your World, which is Google+ content appearing with traditional organic search results. This is proof that the lines between social networking, social media and SEO are indeed thinning and that social networking and social signals are becoming more important to the practice of SEO.
Google+ is a social networking force to be reckoned with and it is forcing marketers’ hands. I guarantee you that Google+ is not a fad. It is here to stay.
So why is it important to incorporate Google+ into your web presence, how do you do it, and how will it positively impact your organic search strategy?
With the introduction of Search, plus Your World, when your prospects search in Google for the keywords you want to be found for, relevant results will be returned in that searcher’s “Personal Results” from their “Google+ Circles”, as well as related “People and Pages from Google+”. Think about how this impacts your findability and the Page One search results for everything.
Here’s an example - when I was logged in to Google+ and searched for "community management tips", the #8 ranking was a blog post by Acquisio because they are in my Google+ circles:
When I logged out of Google+, and all other Google properties, Acquisio did not appear in my top 50 Google search results for the same keyword phrase.
Moral of the story: start building your circles and sharing your business content via a Google+ Page.
Search, plus Your World makes a lot of sense. Let’s revisit three facts about organic search and Google search that support the concepts of Google+:
- A lot of people use and trust Google’s search results. Really. The proof – according to comScore.com, in December 2011 there were 12 billion Google searches performed (up 3% over November 2011). Compare this to the second busiest search engine, Bing, with just 2.7 billion searches in December. #bigdifference
- Everybody looks at the organic side of search, and 80% to 90% of searchers will click on organic search results (the left-hand side) over paid search results (AdWords, PPC). Your web presence needs to be found on the organic side of search through your SEO efforts or you’re missing out on a lot of eye balls, prospects and business.
- Google is fanatical about search relevance. That is, fanatical about providing relevant search results to every searcher for every search. Since Google+ is a social network and social networks are about relationships it only makes sense that search results include relevant content from your relationships (your circles) in Google+.
6 Reasons to Add Google+ to Your Web Presence & SEO Strategy
1. Let them socialize.
Your prospects, customers and employees want to socialize with your organization. So let them - on the most visited search engine on the planet.
By embracing Google+ you have one more presence point to socialize your content, control your message for SEO and get found. It’s also one more presence point to initiate social engagement.
Since Google+ allows your content to be socialized with those who are interested in your brand, it helps prove relevance to Google and therefore impacts your organic search rank. As you grow your circles, social engagement with your organization will increase as well. This all leads to higher organic search results through Search, plus Your World.
So let the socializing and findability begin: Set up a Google+ Page for your business (http://www.google.com/+/business) and start publishing content, building circles, and getting +1 recommendations.
SEO Impact: The broader and stronger your web presence is, the better you will perform organically in the search engines. Adopting Google+ will broaden and strengthen your web presence.
2. Fresh content.
Fresh content is the key to dominating in organic search. This is true now more than ever before. Yes, the fundamentals of SEO are still valid – build a technically great website and have a strong backlinking strategy - but sharing excellent, fresh, consistent and optimized content via social networks is also key.
Google+ is just one more place to publish your press releases, blogs, testimonials, case studies and news. The difference with Google+ is that your content, if found, will be listed at the top of Google personal results mixed in with traditional search results (so long as it has been shared in the searcher’s circles).
Getting serious about producing fresh, optimized content and having it socialized in Google+ will really pay off.
SEO Impact: Publishing fresh content produces backlinks, social signals and authority. This increases the likelihood of being found. Google+ is just one more presence point to accomplish this.
3. Google+ produces social signals.
Social signals are now factored into Google’s organic search algorithm. A social signal can come from a Facebook Like, Share or a Google +1. Social signals prove that a piece of content is relevant. The more people who like, share or +1 it, the more relevant it is.
Now more than ever it’s important to integrate page-level social icons on your website, email marketing, press releases and blogs. Give any visitor to your web presence, at any time, the ability to provide your content with a social signal.
If you haven’t already done so, add the Google +1 button to all pages on your website.
SEO Impact: Social signals will continue to weigh into Google’s search algorithm. Social signals are like the “new age backlink.” Start building your social signals strategy today.
4. Your competitors.
If your competitors have not already rolled out a Google+ strategy then look at this as a stroke of good luck to capitalize on. This could be your chance to shine and dominate in organic search results.
But get moving and get paranoid about executing on a Google+ strategy. It will impact your organic search rankings, findability and traffic to your website.
SEO Impact: Just like you have an SEO backlink strategy to out-backlink your competitors, now you need to think about your social signals strategy to out-signal your competitors.
5. Google, Google+ and Search plus Your World aren’t going away.
My recommendation to marketers is to not ignore Google+. It isn’t going away any time soon and I predict traction throughout 2012.
According to Google, “We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships.” And, “[Google+] is a platform which allows us to bring social elements into all the services and products that we offer.” (Source: The Telegraph)
(Note: Google has changed its compensation system so that all Google employees think about Google+ opportunities every day.)
Google will continue to incorporate Google+ into more and more Google properties including their Android efforts. According to Google, “Most importantly, 700,000 Android devices are activated daily and this will become a very significant source of new users for Google+. That number will also grow next year.”
Think seriously about how your organization is going to incorporate Google+ into its web presence. It’s one more presence point through which your prospects are expecting to engage with you, and it provides your business with one more opportunity to produce and publish controlled content for your circles to consume.
SEO Impact: Google Search, plus Your World will be everywhere.
6. The Social Network War: Google versus Facebook.
Who will win? Up until now, Facebook has been the dominant force in terms of social networking and having marketers leverage social networking to reach prospects and customers. But what will transpire over the next 12 months? Will Facebook continue its dominance and keep marching along or will Google+ surpass their progress?
Which social network will dominate for business and marketing purposes?
Which social network will dominate for SEO?
The answer to all of these questions is, “no one knows.” Because of this, organizations should hedge their bets, fire bullets at both and grow their web presence to include both Google+ and Facebook.
P.S. Please take a moment to add gShift Labs to your Google+ circles. Thanks!