Is Google+ Part of Your Social Media Circle?In barely two years since its launch, Google+ has evolved into the biggest social media channel after Facebook, with 540 million active users as of October. Moreover, what started life as social networking’s ugly duckling might now be a key tool for businesses trying to promote their content online. From its latest developments, Google+ could be your new best friend for content marketing and online advertising.
As it is, Google is the search engine employed by the vast majority of web users. So it stands to reason that using Google’s products to market your content will win you brownie points with the search giant. Whether you’re willing to play that game on moral grounds is another matter, but to ignore Google completely on its own playing field will only annoy the groundsman and his shotgun.
The SEO benefits of Google+
The SEO benefits of Google+ are obvious. If you have original content, formatted, hosted and trawled by Google on its own platform, it’s only ever going to be a boon. Indeed Google automatically indexes content on G+, so you’re laughing from the minute you post.
Web analytics specialist MOZ recently conducted a study suggesting that a ‘+1’ on your page from Google+ correlated with a higher search ranking than a Facebook like or share or the number of links back to your site from another reputable peer – two factors considered among the biggest influencers on your ranking. Only Page Authority (essentially a score for your online ‘chart position’) correlated higher with search rank. Rather than a +1 having a direct effect on your ranking, this relationship seems to be a measurable side-effect of using Google+ a lot. By natural progression you should be receiving lots of +1s. Nevertheless, the point stands that hosting Google+ content appears to make you much more visible than previously thought and it seems the value of a +1, at least by proxy, is higher than a Facebook like or a favourited tweet.
Targeted content for your community
Original content and quality photo or video media do wonders in gaining likes and shares on Facebook, while the use of hashtags and trends on Twitter not only ensures you keep with the zeitgeist, but also opens your content up to swathes of users who might not normally see it – potentially an undiscovered customer base. With Google+, however, you can take things one step further with the Communities option, introduced about a year ago. Like-minded individuals and organisations come together in masses of different communities each with a shared niche interest. You’re sure to find a community that relates directly to your area of expertise and so you can target your content to these groups and rack up the +1s because people actually want to hear about you. For example, if you’re promoting a very specific deal or product offer, there are G+ communities out there with members just waiting for new deals to jump on, and nothing else.
Authorship means integrity
Content marketing is all about trust – building trust with your customers so they engage in the first instance and come back for more; and building trust with your peers, developing your own position as a thought leader. Google+ Authorship takes this to the next level, associating and automatically verifying your authorship on anything you write or comment on. Google+ Authorship in basic terms means constant verification that you are you online. For writers and content creators this means an extra level of copyright protection while for businesses this means that customers, peers and Google recognise you as an active, reactive, knowledgeable and trustworthy source. With Google+ Authorship, the gold dust lies in the fact that trust is implicit.
Turn your targeted content into the perfect online ad in just a click
Only in the last week, Google announced its +Post ads initiative, which can display your content as an advert on the Google Display Network, which comprises over 2 million sites. Essentially it means you can choose to display your most spectacular Google+ post, whether that‘s a promotional story or a fantastic photo or video, as an online advert. What’s more, expanding on Google’s AdWords means that creative content can feed directly into your budgeted advertising campaigns, killing two birds with one stone.
Google Hangouts On Air
Live video conferencing and chat with Google+, Hangouts are a uniquely brilliant way of connecting with your customers, projecting your personality and promoting live debate in your area of interest. Use Hangouts On Air – a free tool – to broadcast live across Google+, your YouTube channel and any other online avenues you’ve chosen. Users don’t necessarily need to interact with the hangout, and can simply listen in to the debate if they like, much like a radio show. Ensure to promote the Hangout On Air beforehand to let people know when they can join.
Google+ is the fourth most widely used smartphone app
Integrating with Google+ gives your business website a major mobile presence at a time when handsets are encroaching more on the territory of laptops. Just under a third of smartphone users worldwide use the Google+ app. Consider then that your business will have fully integrated its geographical location with Google Maps – the most popular smartphone app, with 54% of smartphone owners using it worldwide – and perhaps your video content is on YouTube – the third biggest smartphone app – and your mobile presence occupies three of the top 5 apps in the world, all Google products.
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