Most of us SEOs have had felt (rather strongly) for a while now that Google+ was going to be big news. Google is serious about pushing their social network and taking on Facebook it seems, but they’re also serious about taking more organic cues from visitors, in order to rank content and decide what their users see. With Google known to combine its services in the past, it only makes sense that they this new social network would play an important role within their push toward social search and that the connection would potentially improve both services in the process. In his upcoming book ‘The New Digital Age’, Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt seems to confirm this.
In one quote (from WJS) he explains that search results will give extra weight, and rank higher, content that is tied to ‘verified’ online profiles, and that users are likely to naturally gravitate toward those links. ‘The true cost of remaining anonymous then’, he suggests ‘might be irrelevance’. You heard the man then – it’s time to get involved if you haven’t already and before you get left behind. Here’s how to do it.
How to Claim Your Google+ Business Page
The first thing to do is to ensure that you register your name or your business with Google Plus before any imposters start cropping up. This way you can then list yourself as the publisher of your site, as well as networking with other businesses. Most online organizations are getting involved in Google+ for the reasons mentioned above, so this is a great place to network and to promote your content. Login to your Google account, visit: http://www.google.com/+/business/ – Once you have created the page, click the profile icon, and then ‘edit profile’, then click on ‘Website, and type your homepage URL, and save the changes. Now you need to make sure you have this code on your home page: Find us on Google+ You can also verify your business with Google. Visit here for more detailed instructions: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1708844
Set Up Google+ Authorship
Confirm it’s Working
Once you’ve set everything up it will take a while for you to see the results in Google – usually between a few days, to a few weeks. This means you’ll need to find other ways to check it’s working and fortunately you can do this using the Rich Snippets tool at: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets It should say verified and include your author name and links to your profile.
Add Plus One Buttons
One of the big benefits of having Google Authorship, other than pleasing Google, is that it will help you to find your way into more circles. Then, by sharing your content you can get it to come up on their home feeds, as well as including the likelihood of it showing up in their search results. By putting a plus one button on your page though, you provide other visitors who don’t have you in their circles with the ability to share your pages with their own network and this is a great way to help encourage your pages to go viral. Grab the code here: https://developers.google.com/+/plugins/+1button/
Promoting Your Brand
The recent death of EMDs (Exact Match Domains – Domains matching an exact keyphrase) demonstrated how serious Google is about building trusted brands online (and lowering what it deems to be spammier results). Google+ is just one more example of this, so if you want to stay ahead of the game you need to be building your brand and your authority. One way to do this is with your guest posts. Rather than just including a link back to your site, make sure Google knows you’re the author (use a ?rel=author link, as described above) and add the page to your contributor list on your profile. If those sites are high authority and well regarded by viewers and by Google, then this will only help to boost the profile of your own pages. Oh and be active on Google+ itself – posting comments and sharing links are ways to network and to raise awareness, and if you’re entertaining and chatty (whilst still being professional) you’ll ensure more people want to stay in your circles. And actually you might just find it’s quite enjoyable being an active part of the Google+ community. Welcome to the world of Google+!