Why your business needs Google+

Google+ logoGoogle+ is Google’s latest and most successful attempt at launching its own social network. Compared with other social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, it’s had something of a slow start but, as of the beginning of 2013, Google+ surpassed Twitter to become the world’s second largest social network, with 359 million active monthly users. It is now the 5th preferred social site for businesses to distribute their content.

Why is Google+ important for search?

There has been no explicit set of statistics released by Google to prove that a Google+ presence helps improve a company’s visibility in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), but we did get the opportunity to interview someone at Google’s NYC office and extract the following heavy hint:

 “If people want to be found on Google, they need to be using Google+”

-Lauren Goody, Google NYC

It’s been known for a while now that Google is paying increasing attention to ‘social signals’, and this is a clear indication that the most important social signal for Google is, unsurprisingly, Google+.

Getting started

Anyone with a Google account automatically has a Google+ profile, and you can use a single log-in to access Gmail, YouTube, and Google+ alongside all of Google’s other products. Using ‘circles’ you can follow people you know or like and designate them as ‘Friends’, ‘Family’ or ‘Acquaintances’. If you’re using Google+ for business, you may want to create your own categories, e.g. ‘Clients’, ‘Suppliers’ and ‘Employees’. You can choose which of your updates you make available to which circles, and which to make completely public.

As well as creating an individual profile page, you can also create a page for your business on Google+, similar to a Facebook fan page.

Emily Hill Google Plus profile
My Google+ profile

Your Google+ strategy

To make your Google+ efforts really successful, you need to get into plenty of circles (particularly those of the heavy hitters in your field), and update and share your content as frequently as possible. This increases the likelihood of receiving +1s (the equivalent of a Facebook like or Twitter favourite) and boosting your reputability to the outside community.

When it comes to Google+ activity, it appears that more is more. Here’s what another Google insider had to say recently:

“I would say you should be posting content on Google+ every day.”
-Gretchen Howard, Google NYC

Features such as Hangouts (video chats with small groups of people) and interest-based Communities offer lots of potential for businesses willing to consider creative ways of engaging their prospective customers.

Google Authorship and SEO

One of the most crucial functions of Google+ is Authorship, which allows you to link your Google+ profile to your company blog, and to any blogs you’re guest authoring. When one of your articles appears in the search results, you’ll get an author rich snippet with a headshot and a description, to let people know who you are and why you’re a voice of authority in your area.

Authorship results snippet
One of my articles with Authorship displayed in the SERPs.

Authorship is important for SEO because it’s Google’s way of attributing specific pieces of content to individual authors. The more trusted those authors are (e.g. the more circles they’re in, and the more content they’re publishing in their fields of expertise), the better position they’ll be in for preferential treatment in the SERPs.

So, if you don’t have a presence on Google+, our advice is to get one as soon as you can. Adding Write My Site to your circles would be an excellent first step!