Neglect Google Plus At Your Own Risk

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Google PlusBy Jason Knapfel

If there’s anything Google is not used to, it’s being called the underdog. But that’s what they’ve been dealing with in their push to compete in the social media sphere with Google+. Some Internet marketers seem to almost revel in referring to it as a “ghost town.” Even if there is some merit to that argument, they may be overlooking a very valuable marketing tool for themselves and their clients.

First, let’s take a look at what the detractors are saying. While there is no disputing the growth of user accounts, last summer Gigya reported that Google+ only accounts for two percent of all social sharing.

This article isn’t about taking on the argument of how Google+ compares directly to Facebook, Twitter, or even LinkedIn. There’s no doubt that Google has work to do to catch up, and it’s a very difficult task. They’re fighting against well entrenched brands and a world that only has so much time to spread amongst the social media platforms that are available.

But Google has one thing the other sites don’t: Google. Since Google+ is becoming more and more integrated into Google search results. That’s a pretty hefty leveraging tool and reason enough to convince any marketer that Google+ has an important place in your arsenal.

Here are some of the most important reasons you need Google+ in your Internet marketing strategy:

Your content is instantly indexed. It only makes sense that if you are posting content to a Google property that it would be quickly and easily indexed by the search engine.

Immediate search ranking benefit. Instant indexing also means you may see instant returns in Google search ranking. This may also be especially powerful if a post gets +1-ed.

There has been some debate about how Google+ comes into play with search ranking, particularly the +1 feature. But Internet marketers often suffer from tunnel vision. Even if +1s don’t have a direct correlation to ranking, it certainly can have massive implications for your overall marketing efforts, especially if you are getting content +1-ed by someone with a lot of Google+ followers.

SEO, simplified. What once took loads of SEO work to rank can come down to getting the target audience to follow you or your client on Google+. Of course, that’s not to say this replaces all your other online SEO efforts, just that you have much more power in your hands to control your destiny. You, in essence, have a captive audience in your Google+ followers.

That’s because when people have you in their circles, your content can rank for them when they search for related content.

In one of his recent Whiteboard Friday videos, Rand Fishkin at Moz made possibly the most intriguing assertion of all: that you may be able to rank for people who you have corresponded with through a Gmail account. But the key is that there must be a back and forth, you can’t simply spam someone and — presto! — you rank when they search for topics related to your content.

Content curation is key. Remember, your followers aren’t permanent. People can just as easily remove you from their circles, and that may very well happen if you are oversharing, and sharing content they just don’t want to clog their stream.

So, if you are marketing content for a wide range of clients, always share this content through their Google+ account, but think carefully about what is shared through your own Google+ account. Of course, that’s the beauty of Circles: you can share the right content with the right people.

Here are some additional takeaways:

  • Remember that if you want to rank for search by people in your Circles, there is a window of maybe a month that the posts will show up. Of course, the content can rank far beyond that for reasons other than someone being a Google+ follower.
  • If Rand Fishkin is right, that there is ranking possibilities for people who you correspond with a Gmail account, could there be a way to leverage this with a renewed focus on your email marketing efforts? Remember, they have to be involved in the conversation.
  • Need another reason to maintain an active blog? If it’s true that you can rank high in related search from people who follow you on Google+, sharing your content can be an effective way to bring potential customers to your site on multiple levels… through the actual shared link and also through Google search.

Google has won many more battles than it has lost. Remember the aforementioned study by Gigya. It’s important to note that their findings come from clicks via its own social sharing tools. Limiting, to say the least. Even if Google+ doesn’t reach the sharing levels of other social media, there are other reasons to make sure you are using it.

Also read: How To Get Your Google Plus Custom URL In 4 Clicks

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