Expert Advice on the Value of Google+ For Business
Over the past few months, there has been a deluge of content published about Google+. Some online marketing heavy-hitters such as Derek Halpern have even taken the discussion to their Google+ account about the response rate on the platform compared to its current rank as the second-largest social media site. While there are many views on the usefulness of Google+, the expert opinions below will make you think twice about not engaging with this very necessary social channel.
On the Socialization of Search
What first got my attention about Google+ and made me realize it was a force to be taken seriously was the inclusion of author photos by some search results when doing a Google search. As I researched how to get my photo to appear with my posts, I learned that this isn’t just an “oh, that’s nice” implementation that Google made. It’s actually a serious reflection of the importance of what is referred to as Author Rank and how Google will be ranking content from verified authors higher than anonymous business content. Without a Google+ verified author on your business blog, you could see a plummet in your content rankings.
Mark Middo’s post on Google+ being essential for business confirms these higher rankings and points out that he has seen more traffic to his blog even for posts that don’t rank No. 1. Author Rank is defying what had become universally accepted – that a No. 1 ranking earns the most click-throughs – and in a very big way. Mark points out that web searchers will now have the choice to click on plain links or links with a welcoming author photo next to them. Not only will listings with photos get more clicks, they will be a stepping stone to building a relationship with the authors of those posts, which will earn more leads and convert those leads into customers.
On Increasing Google+ Community Engagement
One feature of Google+ that you will want to take advantage of is the Communities section. I have enjoyed interacting in the Entrepreneurs, Self-Employed & Small Business community as a result of the excellent work of moderators such as Paul Maplesden and Stephan Hovnanian.
In his post on brands using Google+ Communities, Mark Traphagen gives some excellent and easy-to-implement advice for brands that are committed to building a presence on Google+. His most important advice for brands that want to get started is to promote your community in as many places as possible. As he points out, anyone with a Google account can get involved in a community, but it’s going to be up to you to let people know about it and how to interact on it. Google+ Communities, just like blogs, Facebook pages, and other sites, are never a “build it and they will come” scenario. Rather, it takes effort to build an engaged community that looks to your brand as the go-to source of information related to their interests.
On The Power of +1
The idea behind a +1 is simple. Similar to Facebook, if there’s something you like, you +1 it and the people who have you in their Circles will see the content in their feed.
But Maria Duron points out something distinctive about +1s in her post about Google+ and its role in word-of-mouth marketing. While the idea behind a Like and a +1 is similar, the results are completely different. If your audience is adding you to Circles and they perform a Google search on topics related to what you have +1d, there is a high likelihood that your +1 and the comments you made about it will appear in their search results.
Maria also highlights the importance of +1ing content related to hot topics related to your audience’s interests. Since your +1s can appear in search results related to those topics, you will increase your visibility online and brand yourself as an expert in those topics.
After reading through these insights on Google+, have you changed your mind about the effort you will put into Google’s social network? Leave a comment below if you’re convinced or still have doubts about engaging on Google+.
Jeff Machado is a content marketing strategist at Fiore Communications. You can follow him on Google Plus to ask any questions you have about this post.