Circle Up: Google+ Tips from SEO & Marketing Pros

Once labeled a “ghost town” in 2013, today Google+ is anything but. Google’s burgeoning social platform is projected to overtake Facebook in 2016 according to a SearchMetrics study. Established in 2011, Google+ boasts 540 million active users.

Last week, @BruceClayInc hosted the weekly #SEOchat on Twitter. The topic of conversation was getting the most out of Google+. Find out what marketers including Google+ specialists David Amerland and Mark Traphagen had to say when asked about:

google plus tips
Follow and circle Bruce Clay, Inc. on Google+.
  1. Google+ SEO Benefits
  2. Google+ for Clients
  3. Google+ for Engagement
  4. Tracking Google+
  5. Google+ and Circling
  6. Google+ for Blogging
  7. Google+ Hangouts On Air
  8. Google+ Communities
  9. Google+ Personal Benefits

Feel free to jump to the topic you’re most interested in by clicking on the heading above, or read them all.

Google+ SEO Benefits

1. How have you seen Google+ impact your #SEO? Do your G+ posts or page rank for your brand or keywords?

@DanLeibson: It has impacted our Local SEO process heavily …

@KMullet: Well, since they dropped the Twitter firehose, you can *at least* count on G+ for fast indexing.

@DavidAmerland: G+ connections play key part in serendipitous discovery in search.

@MarkTraphagen: Yes! Google “Google+ page analytics” for example. Has been ranked for 2+ years now. First line of post is treated by Google like title meta tag (include keywords there). Personalized search big factor in G+ SEO. Peeps who circle you will see your content elevated in their searches. You build profile authority on G+ by who engages with you the most. Surprising to many: follower count alone is low correlation to search authority from G+ Relationships count!

@KristiKellogg: Agreed. engagement boosts clout (& @Klout) on all social platforms, not just follower count. The count is irrelevant.

@JoshMcCormack: Definitely. I’ve seen people with 10x the connections and lower Klout.

@VirginiaNussey:  I mainly recommend #GooglePlus participation to a client for Google Authorship and as an additional rankable profile.

@ClairDogg: I’ve noticed quicker indexing when blog posts are shared on Google+. Authorship has greatly helped for traffic.

@Jason White: We’re seeing a lot of benefits with the complete local integration and when used to send traffic across social platforms.

@TannerPetroff: I’ve seen Google Plus pages ranking for all sorts of stuff. Authorship markup is huge for SERPs, too.

Google+ for Clients

2. Do you recommend Google+ participation to your clients and for what purpose? How do you convince them of the SEO benefits?

@AlexPeerenboom: We almost always recommend Google Plus to clients now. Even if their industry isn’t very active. Hangouts are a great tool for content.

@DavidAmerland: G+ is a digital identity service. One ‘easy’ way to stake uniqueness in a crowded web.

@MannixMarketing: Have been recommending Google Plus since day one and now requiring it for local search. #GoogleAuthorship alone …

@MarkTraphagen: We build strategies for clients that bring proprietary audience for them into G+ (Hangouts On Air for one).
Hangouts On Air can be shown and promoted on other social networks. Then invite audience into brand’s G+ community to continue conversation. If a G+ brand page owns an active community, it may help the Google relevance “score” for that brand.

@TannerPetroff: Most of my clients are local, so setting up G+ local accounts for local SEO is necessary. Not tough to convince them.

@ChrisPKing: Convince them of long term benefits of Google+ participation and personalized search immediate benefits.

Google+ for Engagement

3. What content earns the most engagement on your Google Plus? Short posts? Long posts? Videos? Pics? Links? 

@TannerPetroff: I see photos coupled with medium length posts doing really well on G+.

@MannixMarketing: Most engaging posts are generally current event driven (big local festivals or national/global pop culture).

@ChrisPKing: Images work well in Google+ especially with large travel and photography communities.

@DavidAmerland: Content that resonates most closely with target audience needs. G+ revolves around the human factor. Content needs to be monitored and engaged with to thrive.

@MarkTraphagen: Images will get more +1’s & shares, but we do well with long form content that stimulates lots of comments, too. Worst performing on Google Plus –> “Link Dumps” – posts that are just a link with no added thoughts or questions.
Google Plus tip: If you want more quality followers, seek out good relevant conversations & contribute helpfully.

@KristiKellogg: I’ve seen a LOT of engagement with photos on my personal profile.

@ChelseaBeaAdams: Community engagement and thoughtfully tagging those you want to loop into a conversation is really the secret to G+.

@KMullet: Solve problems, answer questions, and be engaging/entertaining.

@DelawareDigital: Oftentimes the amount of engagement on a poor/lazy post astounds me.

@VIPsBond: A picture is worth thousand words, try info-graphics on Google Plus, they can certainly engage people, provided they are useful.

Tracking Google+

4. Do you track any metrics related to Google+? How much traffic is Google+ referring? Any analytics apps you’d recommend?

@MarkTraphagen: I highly recommend SteadyDemand for G+ analytics

@ChrisPKing: I use Buffer on Google+ Pages for analytics.

Google+ and Circling

5. What is your strategy when it comes to following other Google+ users? Do you participate in Circle Sharing?

@DavidAmerland: No. There is a simple criteria: do they produce or share valuable content that enhances my G+ experience?

@ClairDogg: Pictures, with links a close second, get the most engagement, based on my experience.

@MarkTraphagen: I avoid the mass circle shares like the plague. Just adds junk to your stream and no authority value. See my post on what creates authority in G+: How Google Plus Pages & Profiles Gain Search Authority.  I find most of my most valuable follows through people who engage intelligently on my content and posts I’m engaging on. G+ Tip: Circles are most useful for managing your browsing. Create top circles for your most valued follows so u see more from them.

Google+ for Blogging

6. Are you using Google+as a blogging platform? If so, how do you decide if the content is going on G+ or your site blog?

@DavidAmerland: It should be part of your conversation with your audience. Some G+ posts are just G+ posts. Others are better as blog posts. Find the human interest factor in your stories. That will increase their impact.

@VirginiaNussey: #GooglePlus seems to support long-form posts, both as a poster and reader. We’ve experimented with excerpting blog posts on G+.

@MarkTraphagen: Original content on G+ gets appreciated if you do it regularly. Helps build your rep and following there. At Stone Temple, we’re experimenting with original content just for our G+ page.

@KristiKellogg: We do teaser posts, too. The #GooglePlus posts are like a sneak preview of the BCI blog :)

@PaulaSpeak: Google+ is effective place to summarize your blog posts and link to your site.

@Clairdogg: I have my blog in a central location, my website. Entries are shared on Google+ to appropriate circles.

@ChrisPKing: No, I don’t use Google+ for blogging or any other third party platform. Build your own products on your own domain.

@OldhamJared: I’m not using it for blogging, but would like to.

@Tony_DWM: Connect: G+ profile, authorship, link social accounts (G+ to YouTube), add G+ Biz page (w/ good description) & posts for G+ entity authority.

Google+ Hangouts on Air

7. What Google Plus Hangouts On Air do you participate in or recommend for SEO and Internet Marketing strategy?

@DavidAmerland: Those that allow you to learn something new, meet someone interesting or connect with your audience in real-time.

@MarkTraphagen: We do a weekly Digital Marketing Answers Show, once a month. David Amerland is our guest.

@GrantTilus: Google Plus Hangouts on Air are a great way to create original content for Google Plus. I’ll actually be presenting on producing them at SMX West.

@MannixMarketing: Generally participate in #googleplus hangouts that have reputable speakers or are more local conversations.

@PaulaSpeak: The Hangouts are a rich vein of expert information. :)

Google+ Communities

8. How are you using Google Plus Communities?

@DavidAmerland: Communities add depth to the engagement and the subject authority.

@AlexPeerenboom: I’m in Communities that are of personal and professional interest.

@ClairDogg: Interact with others with the same interests.

@OldhamJared: Currently using communities as a think tank with other marketers. Also for targeted customer engagement for biz.

@AlbanySaratoga: I personally use #googleplus communities like I do my “lists” on twitter. Quick way to tap into/engage specific groups.

Google+ Personal Benefits

9. How are you leveraging Google Plus personally? What’s the biggest benefit you’re seeing?

@DavidAmerland: I met some awesome people who changed my thinking. I have a direct channel with readers. Can’t get any more real than that. G+ is a true collaborative platform leveraging cognitive surplus. (i.e it helps you get smarter, faster).

@MarkTraphagen: On personal level, greatest benefit of G+ is as a learning community. Another personal benefit of G+ is personal brand building, esp. via Google Authorship. Big discussions w/ really smart people. Via hangouts I’ve actually gotten to really KNOW prominent peeps in my industry before I ever met them. When I go to conferences, people already recognize me from seeing my face in their search results.

@AlexPeerenboom: I’m using Hangouts more and more for client meetings.

@DavidAmerland: Be open. (it’s actually hard to do). Trust requires: Contact>Perception>Assessment>Connection – all steps possible within G+.

@VirginiaNussey: Seems like personally I use #GooglePlus for social community and content discovery and for clients I recommend as #SEO tool.

@ClairDogg: Mainly for sharing content, my own or others. Occasionally, share a private photo. Found a niche who engages.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this week’s #SEOchat! #SEOchat is held every Thursday at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET on Twitter. Learn more about participating here.

Kristi Kellogg is a journalist, news hound, professional copywriter, and social (media) butterfly. Currently, she is a senior SEO content writer for Conde Nast. Her articles appear in newspapers, magazines, across the Internet and in books such as "Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals" and "The Media Relations Guidebook." Formerly, she was the social media editor at Bruce Clay Inc.

See Kristi's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (2)
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2 Replies to “Circle Up: Google+ Tips from SEO & Marketing Pros”

Wow, I can’t imagine Google+ overtaking Facebook but if that’s what’s been predicted to happen by 2016 then I might start increasing my own Google+ circle. Thanks for this post Kristi.

Chelsea Adams

Zoey, Having just returned from #SMX West 2014, I’ve got to say… Google+ is a hot topic right now. I heard the social network brought up time and time again in session after session. The power of a network that is directly associated with Google is just really incredible. It’s been proven that G+ posts can help your brand rank on page one of the SERPs more often (in personalized search results for those people who have opted into following you on G+), and there’s a huge branding/community opportunity with G+ Hangouts on Air (often called HOAs); Huge beyond anything I’ve ever seen come out of Facebook. I only see Google+ growing and becoming more and more of a marketing priority for optimizers.


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