Since its launch on the 28th of June 2011 you’ll have heard all about Google+ and its quest to dominate the social media industry. If you have your business online whether it be a cafe specializing in west African pastries or a car rental company operating out of west Cork and you’re not using Google+ for business you should be worried.
The search engine results placement your site holds is a far cry from being secure and Google+ has a 100% direct proven effect on placement. You need to tackle the problem before it arises! Reclaiming or even improving your search engine placement will take up a lot of time, effort and revenue but you can avoid this by applying the following tips.
How not using Google+ will affect your site
This is Google we’re talking about here! Search engine placements for non-Google+ users will plummet as will website traffic.
Why will your search engine placement fall if you don’t use Google+ for business?
Well for a number of reasons actually. Google are on a crusade to provide the most relevant possible results for their users. For everyone unfamiliar with Google+ just like Facebook it gives you the ability to show your affection towards posts, videos, websites etc. It’s called the +1 button and it’s the equivalent to Facebook’s “like” feature. Websites, articles, YouTube videos etc. that have received hundreds of +1s are clearly quality and relevant sources of information that people find useful. Google describes the +1 button as
“The +1 button is shorthand for “this is pretty cool” or “you should check this out.” Click +1 to publicly give something your stamp of approval. Your +1’s can help friends, contacts, and others on the web find the best stuff when they search.”
The +1 button acts as a recommendation so to speak so take, for example, if you read this blog post, find it useful and decide to +1 it. While this +1 acts as a personal recommendation from you it also determines the social value of the article. The number of +1s the article receives shows on the Google search engine and while this doesn’t directly affect the placement of the article it improves the click through rate. Imagine if you were searching from tips on how to write a blog and you saw three articles displayed on screen. One has 2,455 +1s while the other two have less than 200 +1s, which would you choose?
How can you use Google+ to help your website place higher?
The following are five tips for using Google+ for business to help improve your search engine placement. The first tip is naturally to sign up to Google+ and the following should be implemented from the beginning;
Tip 1 – Be Strategic
Don’t just post randomly! Have a strategy in place for posts and get creative. A trap a lot of businesses across all social media platforms fall into is that they set up a profile and have an abundance of plans on what to talk about and how they’ll use it to drive business then they stop posting and the page becomes stagnant. Set out a plan of what you’re going to post about each day of the week and change it up so your followers aren’t getting spammed with nonsensical posts. If you’re a café post pictures of the different meals and special offers you have in store and make things convenient for your customers by posting menus or the days specials.
In their 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, the Social Media Examiner noted that 78% of marketers saw increased traffic with “just six hours a week invested in social media”. Ensure any of the precious time you invest is done so strategically in order to maximise effectiveness.
Tip 2 – Get your Website +1’d
Use Google+ to its full potential! We mentioned earlier on how a +1 is like a personal recommendation and this is something that can be a deciding factor in whether or not someone clicks through to your site. Let’s take the café example again. Imagine the level of competition a café has in any town or city in America, it’s overwhelming they’re on every street corner. The more +1s your website has the higher the chance is of someone searching for a local café and seeing a friend who has recommended it. Create incentives to get people +1ing. Offer discounts to people who +1 your site. After they +1 it and receive their discount offer a loyalty card to promote customer retention. Use Google+ for business and create opportunities to enhance your customers service experience.
Tip 3 – Segment with Circles
For the unaware Google+ gives you the ability to add people to circles. When you create a circle think of it as market segmentation i.e. you have certain markets that you want to target in specific ways. Again from the point of view of a café you may have a circle for loyal customers, another for students and another for the general public. This can take some time to compile
but it means you now have a method of communicating different promotions to different market segments. You can post your student meal of the day to your student circle and your discounted coffee special to your loyal customers circle.
Tip 4 – Website Icons
Make it easy for people viewing your website or reading your articles to +1 and follow you on Google+. Have a Google+ icon placed somewhere in full view on your home page and to the side or at the bottom of each article you publish. You want to increase traffic and the business you receive so make things as easy as possible for people to follow and it’ll happen. We like the Social Media Examiners Google+ box in particular. Clean, crisp, to the point and easy to +1 and follow.
Tip 5 – Quality Optimized Content
An absolutely colossal advantage of being on Google+ is that the information you post is indexed by Google, a website that receives millions of views every day. Digital guru Chris Brogan notes that indexing of Google+ content “happens quicker than your own website”. Ensure every post you put up on Google+ is optimized and targeted. Use keywords in your posts and descriptive alt text when you’re uploading any images. When writing articles and blog posts begin with the end in mind and optimize them and create compelling content that influences people to share. Remember content is the number one reason that people follow your page so think before you post to your Google+ for business page.
Google+ is well on its way to becoming a leader in the social media industry with the effects of social influence on search already evident. The race to reach page one on the world’s #1 search engine is a desire of every business with a website and Google+ has the ability to give you that extra push your site needs.
Do you use Google+ for business? Has it affected how your site is placing?