Why your business needs Google+ and how to get started

Many people still think Google+ is the underdog of social networks – the one network that isn’t quite worth investing the time and effort to create and maintain a presence on. However, recent reports have Google+ slated to have tremendous growth in the coming year. How? Google has been actively growing the network beyond the existing volume of Google service users (gmail, google drive, etc), Google+ recently integrated with YouTube – providing more potential users, and another great reason to give the social network greater consideration. Beyond the service improvements, the existing advantages of Google+ go far beyond mere social networking; being active in the social network can also lead to improvements in your website’s search engine ranking.

I know…I know you are screaming inside your head right now, “please not another social network to manage!”, and I completely understand. I, too, feel that it is difficult to integrate another social media network into your marketing strategy when you are already utilizing so many others. However, I truly do believe that Google+ is worth the time and effort – after all, improving website search engine ranking is priceless.

Here are just some of the ways you can prepare your business or personal website to take advantage of Google+

Share your content on Google+

This may seem like the most obvious thing, but it’s the simplest way to get started in any social network. Connecting and sharing via many alternative social networks doesn’t mean that you should forsake Google+. If you do, you will be missing out on a tremendous opportunity to optimize your content for Google’s search engine and to improve your overall page ranking. For example, if you share your website’s content on Google+, Google has been show to index that content at a higher priority.

When posting your content to Google+, it’s also important to consider the content’s keywords. Specifically, Google+ makes the first sentence of Google+ posts a part of what is called the title tag. The title tag is a piece of code in the structure of a website that has a much higher weight when it comes to search engine ranking. Keep this in mind when posting content to ensure you are using the keywords important to you – this is just one simple way to take advantage of Google search engine optimization when utilizing Google+.

Connect your website to Google+

I get it – you’re like thinking, “Wait, what? If I’m already sharing to Google+ how do I connect to it – and what does that even mean?” 

Well, if you connect your website to your Google+ page, your search information is improved in Google’s search results. Search results will show profile pictures and Google+ business page information where appropriate. Adding this information to search results has huge benefits: it improves your business or individual credibility and personalizes your search results, making them stand out from the crowd of others who are not taking advantage of Google+. Essentially, it’s an automatic step up on the non-Google+ using competition.

The connecting process involves adding some code to your website and linking to your website from Google+. Keep in mind that, for Google to actually add your information to search results, you need to reach a certain ranking.

Listening with Google+

If your content is on Google+, you can monitor who is saying what about you and/or your business. Beyond keeping a general ear out, you can also easily set up alerts to notify you when anyone is saying anything about you and/or your business.

As a business owner, you know that it is critical for you to be aware of any feedback, positive or negative. In fact, addressing negative feedback can often lead to positive results. Negative feedback unfortunately is often more recognized and showing that you are aware – and that you care about your customers – really can make a difference.

Controlling the content you create on Google+

Google+ allows you to create content quite easily and also allows you to edit it afterwards. While Twitter, Facebook, and the like offer limited content editing, Google+ allows you to edit just about everything; this makes it easy to go back and update existing content with additional information when needed.

Google+ is another tool

The key component of any marketing on the Web is to connect and to provide the content that will help you to earn new connections and maintain an interesting dialogue with your existing connections. Google+ offers all the tools needed to accomplish these goals, and if your inclination is to stay away from Google+, a little research will make you understand quickly that you can leverage the tool effectively to, not only connect with your audience, but to increase your search ranking, and exposure.

If you haven’t yet made Google+ a part of your social media marketing strategy, it is time to seriously consider doing so. Google+ will can help you to build credibility, position yourself as a subject matter expert, and strengthen your professional reputation.