Google+ has been around for a while now and finally seems to have settled into its groove. While it never became the Facebook-beater that Google clearly hoped it would be, it is nevertheless still rather popular and with the right types of people. In fact, in some respects, Google Plus could even be considered to be as popular as other big social sites like Twitter and Pinterest.
And perhaps the demographic group that should be most interested in Google+ are webmasters. Google+ is a fantastic place to market a website and a great way to connect with your target audience. More than that though, it can help improve the way that Google views and understands your site and may play an even bigger role in the future.
The Crucial Role of Google+ in SEO
Google+ was in fact voted one of the very most important factors influencing ranking in MOZ’s 2013 Survey of Ranking Factors. According to all the industry experts they interviewed, the ‘+1s’ from Google+ were ranked 4th behind other more obvious factors.
The insinuation here, is that Google use +1s as a sign of authority and reliability and thus are more likely to rank your site well based on +1s alone. This is likely to be even more important moving forward, as Google has been heard murmuring about integrating social indicators into their algorithms for a while now. On top of this though, +1s will of course impact on personalized search results; so if someone searches for a relevant topic and their friend has previously +1’d your site, they are more likely to end up reading your content.
For a while, webmasters had to use Google+ in order to take full advantage of authorship and to have their picture and Google+ link present in the SERPs. Controversially, Google recently did away with authorship, but it’s still useful to keep your site connected as it can still provide you with bylines (which in turn offer free branding) and it will still give you access to ‘Author Stats’ in Google Webmaster Tools. More to the point, Google has suggested that author rank might someday play a big role in their search algorithms.
How to Get +1s
Adding authorship to your pages and creating a Google+ page is still important then. Beyond that, you should then be doing everything you can in order to increase your number of contacts on Google+ and to get more +1s for your pages.
How Do You Do That?
Well for starters, you should be active on Google+. That means generally taking part in conversations, adding yourself to lots of communities and adding people who you think might share common interests. This is a great way to get your page into more personalized results and to increase the number of people you can share with directly through the site.
Including a +1 and share button on your site should go without saying (it’s easy if you use a plugin). On top of this though, you should also share your content actively with communities that you are a part of on the site. Don’t do this too often so that people get sick of you, but work hard on great quality posts and then share them with select groups who might find it interesting. Then be sure to stimulate discussion. A great picture really helps here too – pay close attention to the kinds of things that people like to +1. And remember that on Google+, people tend to press +1 before they’ve actually read the content. So remember that you should use a title and a picture that people will want to be seen advocating!