Why Google+ is Essential for Your Brand’s Visibility

"Google+ is good for business"

Emma Fox

Call it sucking up to big G or moving with the times, but the Google+ boat is one you shouldn’t be missing!

You may be aware of pros (growing user base) and cons (deriding their usage) from SEO experts but the overall trajectory is steady upward growth.

On the one-year anniversary of Google +, the company reported:

  •  250 million accounts have upgraded to or signed up for a Google+ account
  •  150 million accounts are active every month
  •  50% of its users sign in every day
  •  On average, 12 minutes a day are spent in the Google+ stream

While Google+ is not yet as big in terms of users as Facebook and Twitter, Google is throwing its full weight behind it.

The Google+ personalized search results are just one example. If you have a Google+ account, your searches on Google will also show you Google+ photos and posts — both your own and those shared specifically with you, that only you will be able to see on your results page.

SEO Benefits

Here are some key SEO and marketing advantages that Google+ can offer to Brand pages:
"Google+ increases your page ranking
The Power of +1’s: Based on the level of activity your brand’s page generates on Google+, the search engine can gauge your brand’s popularity and rank your page higher (depending on how much information about your brand gets shared or talked about).

Google’s updated algorithm factors in the number of  g+1’s your website has received when ranking it in search results.

When someone recommends content online using +1, this thumbs up not only increases the link’s visibility on Google+, but also directly impacts how Google assesses the popularity and the relevance of the website’s content when featuring it in search results.

Larger networks on Google+: As long as your Google+ brand profile is visible to the public, anybody can add your page to their Google Circles or follow it. These circles are groups of users that you target with specific information that only they can see.

This means that whenever a user +1’s your page, the recommendation becomes visible to all the circles he chooses to share the information with, whether they are his acquaintances, friends, business colleagues, or just followers.

For example, if you share H&M’s Google+ page or start following their Google+ page, people in your circles will see the update on their Google+ pages. In addition, when they enter a search term in Google associated with H&M they will see that you gave a +1 to H&M’s home page.

"Segment individuals in Google+ Circles"

Segment individuals in Google+ Circles

User Segmentation: Google+ Circles are excellent tools for customer segmentation. For example, you could create circles for customers, potential customers, new business contacts, VIPs, team members — you get the idea.

Let’s say you want to offer a special discount to your long-term customers. You could create a post with the exclusive offer and share it with users in your VIP circle. Or, you could share that discount post with your followers as an inducement to converting them to customers.

Google +Hangouts

The Hangout Advantage: The Google+ Hangouts feature has great potential and is simple to use, though usage is still in the growth stage. Google+ allows businesses to hold video-conferences with up to nine locations at a time. This video chat can include:

  • Sharing documents
  • Watching YouTube videos
  • Screen sharing

In addition, you can record and broadcast the chat. While big brands like Cadbury have used hangouts to expand their fan base significantly, a lot of smaller businesses are still unaware of how to use the tool for their benefit. The following are some suggestions that could help:

Take a leaf out of the big boys’ handbooks: Cadbury used a Google+ hangout to conduct a branding exercise by interacting in real time with Olympic athletes and chocolate experts.

"Google Hangouts"

Connect with Google Hangouts

Smaller businesses, too, can plan events (with lower budgets, of course) to promote new products/services by holding hangout sessions with local celebrities, well-known community figures, contest winners, etc.

Launch new products with a bang and a small budget: You don’t need to book a 5-star hotel and hire an event management company for a product launch if you don’t have the budget. Instead, you can plan a small fun event in your office and invite your key stakeholders to a Google+ hangout for the product launch.

Hold Product Demos: Holding a live product demo complete with audience interaction can help you generate a buzz around your product.

You can always record the demo video and broadcast it after the hangout session is over.

In Conclusion…

Google+ is definitely here to stay and it obviously offers some excellent brand building opportunities. But, that doesn’t mean that it should become the sole focus of your online marketing strategy.

Classic SEO techniques such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube marketing are still as relevant as ever, if not more so. Based on the growing popularity of Google+, however, it would be a smart move to add Google+ to your list of essential branding and marketing tools.

Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media Inc, a top rated Vancouver SEO company that provides services to businesses across North America.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

Comments

  1. Agree with you Jeannette that it’s essential to use Google+ for the reasons you mention.

    However, on Google analytics it’s difficult to comprehend if my site gets any referrals from Google +. Seems it’s not specified on its own but together with Google as a whole.

    It would be good if Google manage to develop Google + so that it becomes more interesting and active. Time will tell.
    Catarina recently posted..Solving the Euro crisis: A federal Europe or parallel currencies?My Profile

  2. This is on point and very relevant for anyone who is interested in expanding their online banding. I am still a novice with G+, but as it is with everything, the more I use it the more I will be able to exploit it’s features and opportunities for my blog.

    I love the Google hangout feature and have just begun using it for multiple reasons with great success. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted..A Bloggers Meet-Up: StoryMy Profile

    • Susan — you’re one of the few entrepreneurs using the hangout feature. Would love to know what a couple of those “multiple reasons” are. I’ve yet to take the plunge. You know the shoemaker’s shoe….

      • Re: Google Hangouts, I have used them to connect with friends and other bloggers, separately or in a group. It has worked very well as long as each individuals connect is good. It really enriches the communication experience. 🙂
        Susan Cooper recently posted..A Bloggers Meet-Up: StoryMy Profile

        • Susan — Thanks. We should plan a hangout for our LinkedIn group. Would be fun to put a face and voice to our connections.

  3. @Catarina:
    Within your Google Analytics go to this report: traffic sources → social → sources → Google+ → activity stream, you can now see a breakdown of shares, direct posts, and comments

    Or you can go to traffic –> sources –> referral and then filter the data by “plus.google.com” – you should be able to see some data for Google+

  4. I agree, that would be fun to do. The max that you can have on a Hangout is 9. Everyone should be connected in some way on G+ to help facilitate an invite.

    As a side note; I had a Hangout with Cheryl Therrien (Geekgirlusa.com) this morning to discuss a mutual interest project. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted..A Bloggers Meet-Up: StoryMy Profile

    • Becc — you just asked the question that bedevils all of us. How do we manage our time to work on our business while maintaining an active presence on social media? Writing a quality blog is time intensive, but you have the benefit of being able to automatically post to your networks and repurpose the content for email blasts, articles, and newsletters. Some people I know set aside a set amount of time every day — say, half an hour to post updates to their social networks. It varies for everyone. If social networks are your principal source of leads then of course you will spend more time there.

    • It’s a matter of managing my time. Usually, at 5PM I write for half an hour, then, for another 10-15 minutes, I promote previously published articles on few social outlets. But, I have to admit it, it’s time consuming, indeed.

    • Doreen – yes the +1s improve your ranking and they also appear when people are searching you as a form of recommendation.

    • Just having a Google+ account won’t improve your ratings/rankings. But once you start using the account and publish under your name, the +1’s you gather will help build authority. In time that authority will probably help with rankings.

    • Lubna — I know how you feel. It’s tough to keep up with all the social networks. Depending on what works best for you, I say concentrate on those and do them well.

  5. Pat — So you use hangout, too. Glad you like that feature. Google is a force to be reckoned with. They have the time and money to build Google+ into a major competitor to Facebook, in my view. Hangouts are great and Circles are a key feature. They’re easy to understand because they’re so visual and while you can filter your posts in Facebook it seems more unwieldy, or maybe that’s just me.

  6. Excellent post, Emma and Jeannette! Given on how much of how Google has a say when it comes to the rankings and ratings of blogs and websites these days, it’s quite understandable that G+ is one social network we should all be a part of. I admit that I’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to using G+. A few hangouts, sharing and those kinds of stuff. But even now, I’m already seeing some positive results. I’ve been able to connect with a lot of the people I’ve looked up to and have started relationships with them. It’s only after connecting with them in G+ that I’ve been able to connect with them in other social media networks.
    Adeline Yuboco recently posted..[Interview] Chef Frank Roland Schmitt on Becoming a ChefMy Profile

    • Adeline — I’m really pleased with your success on G+. It’s interesting that because you connected with them on G+ they were open to connecting with you on other social networks. Maybe it’s because G+ is being viewed more as an authority site?? Would love to know why.

      • This is just my opinion, but I think that Facebook is viewed more as a place where you connect with your personal contacts like your family or friends whereas G+ is more a place where you can connect to establish a business relationship with others.

        Also, it could be the feature of G+ that you can follow and reach out to them like tagging them in some of your posts without requiring them to reciprocate adding you in their circles first. In Facebook, you cannot tag someone unless you’re already connected with them. You can mention them in Twitter, but it depends on their feed, so this can easily “get lost” in the other mentions they get. In G+, I noticed that you can tag someone in one of your post even though they are not in my circle or if I am not in their circles. Since they will still get notified that someone has tagged them in G+, it can eventually spark their curiosity to know who that person is. I think that is one way how to break the barriers and help you connect more easily with like-minded people in G+.
        Adeline Yuboco recently posted..Center for Culinary Arts Unveils Its New FacilitiesMy Profile

        • Adeline — You make excellent points about tagging someone’s posts. Also Facebook is viewed as a more consumer oriented site whereas Google+ has already established itself in the B2B community. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us.

  7. I am having a lot of fun with Google Hangouts. Last month I started interviewing local (Vegas) business owners and bloggers via Hangouts. I have been getting some good feedback from the business owners along with my community.

    They get free exposure, I get content for my site and I also usually discover where they need help with their marketing. It’s truly a win-win!
    Adam Dukes recently posted..How McDonald’s Changed The Fast Food Industry And How You Can Do The Same In Your BusinessMy Profile

    • Adam — what a smart strategy. I need to do more with Google Hangouts. I’m glad they are working so well for you.

    • Adam — what a smart strategy. I need to do more with Google Hangouts. I’m glad they are working so well for you.

  8. I love your phrase that “Google has become like a food – without it nobody can survive.” How true. Sometimes I think Google rules the world.