[Update: Google has finally pulled the plug on Google+. Please tune in to episode 6 of my Marketing Mantra podcast to learn more about my thoughts on Google+ shutting down and its implication for social media marketers. Listen to this episode on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify.]
When was the last time you were active on Google+? That must have been a long, long time ago. I don’t blame you. Google’s experimentation with social media hasn’t really gone according to plan.
You’ve probably stumbled upon these pictures several times.
If you think this way too, then you’re not alone.
Even social media managers who swear by Google+ tend to look towards Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as their primary content sharing platforms.
But that doesn’t mean you should abandon Google+ completely. There are still some powerful ways to leverage Google+ to build your brand and drive enormous traffic to your site.
In this post, we’ll show you 6 compelling reasons why you shouldn’t give up on Google+ just yet.
6 Reasons to Start Using Google+ Again
1) Google+ Content Gets Indexed Immediately
You probably know Google+ is good for SEO, and it’s true!
Sharing blog posts on Google+ is an excellent way to:
- Rank for keywords that you might otherwise not be able to
- Drive search traffic to your Google+ profile and then back to your website or blog.
This happens because it’s a common belief that Google crawls and indexes content from Google+ almost in real time. This is understandable since Google+ is Google’s very own social network.
This is what Cyrus Shepard from Moz has to say:
“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.”
Bottom Line: Content posted on 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.
Business2Community found that they got a traffic boost in Google just by sharing their content on Google+, despite having few followers.
So now we know Google+ can help you get better visibility in search engines. But since you’ve probably never used Google+ or abandoned it eons ago, make sure you’re doing the following things:
- Ensure that your Google+ profile page and brand profile page are fully complete. This is important because Google+ indexes this information.
- Grab your custom URL with your full name or business name. Google indexes your URL too, so make sure you’re getting a custom URL. You can follow the instructions here.
- Stay active on Google+. Make sure you’re sharing your latest blog posts and curating content from your niche. An active page on Google+ will help you get featured in search results even faster.
- Share your own blog posts, using a headline, immediately after they’re published. One of the fastest ways to get your URL indexed is to share fresh content as soon as it’s published. Make sure you’re including a headline and a brief description to increase chances of getting indexed. (More on this later)
- Keep building your circles. The more people you have in your circles, the more likely it is that your content will be indexed by Google. One of the fastest ways to do this is to add all your Gmail contacts to your Google+ circles.
2) There’s a Very Specific, Engaged Demographic on Google+
There are 2.2 billion Google+ profiles since every Gmail user ends up with a Google+ profile as well. But it’s hard to figure out the total number of active profiles on Google+.
Recent numbers indicate 375 million monthly users, while other places say it’s between 4 – 6 million active users.
Regardless of the numbers, they are an active bunch. Google+ Communities in particular now average 1.2 million new joins per day!
According to Buffer, Google+ is great for reaching people in tech and it could be true based on these demographics.
Here are 3 key data points to consider from these demographics:
- Google+ has the highest ratio for men on social media at 73%
- Majority of Google+ users (55%) are from the United States
- Based on the top occupations stats, it can be determined that 78% of Google+ users work in a role related to tech.
If that’s your target audience, then your posts may get more reach and engagement on Google+. Even if it’s not, Google+ still has a lot of active members who’d be interested in your content.
3) Google+ Communities are Still Popular
Earlier this year, Google announced that Google+ has 1.2 million new members joining communities on a daily basis. That’s an impressive number for a social network that’s considered inactive.
So how does Google define a community? 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+ or returning to it after a long gap and don’t quite have a following yet, posting content to communities is a great way to build an audience.
There are tons of active Google+ communities, here are just a few examples:
- Google Small Business Community, with almost a million members
- SEO and Internet Marketing, with 140,000 members
- Social Media Marketing, with 170,000 members
- Blogging, with 130,000 members
- Funny Technology, with 300,000 members
If you actively post content and comment in these communities, you can drive huge amount of traffic back to your site. Just make sure you’re not indulging in blogspam. Try to be an active member of the community by participating in discussions, commenting to relevant posts, and sharing not just your content, but content that your community will find interesting.
4) Top Brands and Influencers Have Found Success Using Google+
What do BMW, Dalai Lama, and Playstation have in common? They’ve all found success using Google+ and have a massive amount of engaged followers.
It’s true! BMW and Playstation have highly engaged brand pages on Google+ and Dalai Lama shares his message with nearly 7.5 million followers.
Google+ is a great place to build a community of followers and you’ve to deal with very little competition, compared to other social networks. The added benefits from SEO ranking make it all the more attractive.
Here are the top 15 brands and influencers using Google+ to connect with their audience. Follow them so that you can get insights into how they are using Google+ for social media marketing.
- Dalai Lama
- Arianna Huffington
- Social Media Examiner
5) You can use Gmail to Get More Visibility for Your Google+ Profile
Gmail is used by over 1 billion people every day. If you’re one of them, then you can enjoy perhaps the biggest benefit offered by Google+.
Google+ is integrated with Gmail, which means your Google+ profile appears in every email that you send. That’s right! If someone clicks on your photo included in your email, they’re automatically taken to your Google+ profile.
Now here’s how you can make sure people find something worthwhile when they visit your Google+ profile. Make sure you’re doing these things:
- Add your most recent photo to your Google+ profile (or the ones you’re using on other social networks where you’re active)
- Optimize your Google+ profile by including: Links to your blog or website, your bio, workplace information, and any other information you’d like to tell people.
- Maintain an active presence of Google+. This will give a lot of content for people to click through and may even increase circle count.
6) You Can Use Google+ as a Mini Blog
Despite lacking engagement when compared to other social networks, Google+ still has a lot of content posted on a daily basis. So how do you make sure your content stands out?
Unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, Google+ posts act more like mini blog posts. This means that each of your posts on Google+ can have a header, along with other formatting options.
Adding a header to your posts will help you in two ways:
- Google+ incorporates your headline into the title tag of the post
- The headline is typically what displays in Google search results.
In order to add a header to your post, you need to make it bold and also do a few other things to make sure your post stands out from the rest. Follow these formatting tips below:
Google+ Formatting Tips:
*This is a Bolded Headline*
Mix and match styles: _*Bolded Italic*_
*1.* Point One
*2.* Point Two
*3.* Point Three
• Point 1
• Point 2
• Point 3
Adding the right headline to your Google+ posts is critical to your posts getting included in search results and breaking up your long blocks of text with formatting make your content easier to read and can greatly influence the click through rate. So use headlines and formatting in all your Google+ posts.
Over to You
Google+ is not going to replace Facebook and Twitter for social media strategy anytime soon. But to get value out of this social network, you need to treat Google+ as an extension of Google. This means that while social networks such as Facebook and Twitter can still deliver traffic to your website, Google+ is so integrated across so many platforms that it has the potential to reach a wider audience.
Has this article made you change your mind about Google+? Are you going to make it a part of your social media strategy? Let us know in the comments below.
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