Editor’s note: Google announced on October 8, 2018, that they will be shutting down Google+ for consumers in 2019. Farewell, friend! Here are some ideas on where you could share your content instead.
I’ve personally always been a huge fan of Google+, but it’s been several years since I’ve been consistently active: It simply became too difficult to keep up with posting.
Has the same been true for you?
I’ve always known that Google+ is good for SEO reasons, personal branding, and content sharing; I just found myself moving more naturally toward Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook — networks that I could use Buffer to manage all of my posts and share similar content. Sharing to Google+ natively was too much of a stretch from my regular routine of scheduling everything in one place.
If you’re still on the fence about the future of Google+ or its value to marketers today, I’d love to share five reasons why Google+ could be interesting for you to try.
Now, onto the five good reasons to make time for Google+ posting.
1. Google+ content gets indexed immediately and shows up in search results
You’ve likely heard that Google+ pages and profiles can greatly help your SEO, and it’s true!
Google+ is a powerful search engine marketing tool for companies, influencers, and your own personal branding. Sharing blog posts on Google+ in particular is an excellent way to …
- Rank for keyword terms that you might otherwise not be able to
- Drive search traffic to your Google+ profile and then back to your blog and website
Sometimes it happens without even realizing it. Such was the case for Patrick Antinozzi of Rapid Web Launch who ended up in the search results for Pokemon Go thanks to his Google+ post.
How does this Google+ ranking boost happen?
Well, rumor has it that Google crawls and indexes content posted to Google+ almost immediately. Here’s what Moz found:
If you share new content on Google+, chances are that Google will index the page very quickly.
Rumor has it that new URLs are crawled almost instantly. This makes complete sense as part of the purpose of Google+ was to replace Twitter when creating Google’s Realtime Search.
In the old days, if you wanted a website indexed you filled out a webform and waited several weeks. Today, it’s as simple as pressing a +1 button.
Content that you post to Google+ is far more likely to show up in search results than other pages, websites, articles, and content posted to other social networks because Google ranks their own social network higher and they crawl it faster. The added benefit is that Google even previews certain Google+ posts with rich snippets (profile picture, media, etc.), giving them even more real estate in a search!
As Laura Donovan shared in her Business2Community article on Google+:
While our company Google Plus page does not have a lot of followers, it does seem to give us a boost when it comes to how visible our blog posts are in Google searches.
Is there a catch?
Well, you do need to build a network on Google+ using Google+ Circles. The more people you add to circles and the more people who add you to their circles, the more likely you are to show up in search results for your network. Imagine if every person you emailed got added to a Google+ circle? You’d have a list of friends, family, colleagues, prospective leads, business partners, and much more who would see your content first! The broader your network on Google+ the more likely you are to show up in search results.
How can you take advantage of this? It’s pretty simple!
1. Make sure your Google+ personal profile and/or your Google+ page is fully complete.
Why bother? Well, Google indexes this information. This is an ideal place to make sure that Google knows who you are (and for those who find you on Google+ to know where to click to learn more).
In order to fill this out completely, you can:
- Head to your Google+ personal profile, hit “Edit Profile” then click the “I” icon to go to your About Me page.
- From there you can add your introduction and use words that relate to your brand in your tagline and about section
- If you hit the + at the bottom of the page, you can add relevant sites and include links to your website or blog
- Double check that the privacy for your introduction and sites is set to “Public” or whatever you are most comfortable with
2. Grab your custom URL with your full name or business name
After you claim your custom URL (you can follow the instructions here for desktop and mobile), it’ll be even easier to extend your branding into the search results since Google indexes the URLs, too.
3. Stay active on Google+
Make sure all of your recent blog content is being shared there, plus any relevant curated articles you wish to share.
4. Share your own blog posts, using the blog post title, immediately after they’re published
This is the fastest way to get your URL indexed and crawled to rank on Google search. Take care when sharing to Google+ to include the full title of post and even a small description to make ranking even more likely to be indexed and ranked.
5. Keep building your circles
The more people you have in your circles, the more likely you are to show up in search results! One idea: You could add everyone you email to a Google+ circle.
2. Everyone You Email Can See Your Google+ Profile
One billion people use Gmail every month. Are you one of them? If you aren’t, you’re probably emailing with a bunch of them!
And here’s the great benefit of Google+ and Gmail: Your Google+ profile appears in every one of the emails you send, for whoever opens your email in Gmail on desktop.
It’s this information, right here:
Have you ever tried clicking on someone’s photo in an email and had it take you to their Google+ profile?
I’ve done that quite a few times when I’m looking to find out more about someone, and it’s always awesome when their bio is filled out and from there I can find their website, other social handles, or just generally learn more about them.
How can you optimize this?
- Add a photo to your Google+ profile
- Optimize your Google+ profile by including:
- Anything else you’d like to tell people 🙂
This way if your profile gets clicked, it contains all of the relevant information someone might be looking for and is a strong start to making sure your profile and content shows up in search.
Bonus: Maintaining an active presence on Google+ will also give people more content to click through and more context to learn about you.
3. There’s a Very Specific, Engaged Demographic on Google+ (Maybe Your Target Audience!)
It’s hard to pin down exactly how many people are using Google+, recent numbers say 375 million monthly users, whereas other places mentions between 4 – 6 million active users and in total there are 2.2 billion profiles since every new Gmail account ends up creating a Google+ profile as well.
It looks more likely that people enjoy using Google+ to host their photos, with 1.5 billion photos uploaded every week. I’ve done this myself as not all of my friends and family are on Facebook or Instagram, but they all have Gmail and can view the photos that way.
Regardless of how many people are using Google+, they are an active bunch. Google Communities in particular now average 1.2 million new joins per day!
What I found most interesting is the key demographics from those active Google+ users.
It’s common to hear that Google+ is great for reaching people in tech and it could be true based on these demographics.
This beautiful infographic from Sprout Social explains a bit more what demographics look like for other social networks:
Based on these there are a few things to note:
- Google+ has the highest ratio for men on social media at 73%
- And in particular, men in the United States with that as the location for 55% of users
- Based on stats describing the top occupations, it’s likely 78% of Google+ users work in a role related to tech.
If that’s your target audience, then you’ll definitely have a higher likelihood of reaching them. Even if it isn’t, Google+ still has millions of active monthly users, who’s to say they won’t be interested in your brand or company?
4. Google+ Communities are Powerful (and Popular)
Google recently released the numbers for communities on Google+ as having 1.2 million daily new community joins.
So what is a community on Google+? According to Google:
- Communities can have more than one owner and moderator, and other people can join that community
- When you’re a member of a community, you can post to that community. Members of that community may see your posts in their home stream.
If you’re still starting out on Google+ and don’t quite have a following yet, posting content to communities is a great way to build an audience. Some workplaces also use Google+ communities as an internal social network for employees.
There are tons of active Google+ communities, here are just a few examples:
Landscape Photography, with nearly 1 million members
SEO and Internet Marketing, with over 150,000 members
Social Media for Entrepreneurs, with over 135,000 members
Funny Videos and Pictures, with over 2.5 million members
Body Building, with over 440,000 members
5. These 10 Major Brands and Influencers Are Seeing Success on Google+
Scrolling through Google+, I easily came across many brands and influencers who have enormous followings. NASA and National Geographic use Google+ to share stunning photos, the Dalai Lama shares his message with nearly 7.5 million followers and gets great engagement, Evernote has a colorful profile with popular, active collections and communities on their page.
Google+ is a great space to build a following with a lot less competition and noise than some other social networks. The added benefits from SEO ranking and visibility in Gmail, make it all the more attractive.
Here are 10 brands and influencers doing well on Google+ to serve as inspiration:
- 10 Smart Tips to Leverage Google+ for Increased Web Traffic
- How to Boost Your Local SEO Rankings with Google+
- Twelve Things You Should Do on Your Personal Google+ Account Right Now
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you found this article helpful, I’d love to hear how all of this feels to you:
- Do you use Google+? Does your company or brand?
- Do you think you might find your target audience on Google+?
- If you haven’t been posting to Google+, I’d love to know a bit more about why if you’re up for sharing!
I’d love to hear what’s working for you and any thoughts you may have in the comments below. Excited to keep the conversation going.