Google+, contrary to the beliefs of many, is still a force to be reckoned with in the social stratosphere. It's currently the third largest social platform in the world and sees over 540 million active monthly users. It's quite apparent that Google+ is a powerful player in the social media game. For as long as Google deems it worthy, we are wise to follow suit.
Although Google+'s numbers still pale in comparison to Facebook's number of total active users, G+'s users tend to be more engaged versus those on other sites. In a 2014 survey conducted by Forbes, it was found that content posted to Google+ generated nearly as much engagement as its Facebook counterpart, and almost twice as much as that on Twitter.
If Google+ is new to you, don't be hesitant to dive in. Below are some guidelines to solidify your foundation on the site, as well as surefire tips to optimize your profile and you're maximizing of the platform.
Getting the Most of Your Optimized Google+ Profile
To be certain that you are truly using a Google+ profile to its fullest potential, be sure to fill it out as thoroughly as possible. The account essentially acts as a miniature website for a business so it is crucial for it to appear proper, professional, and have as much information for users as possible. While filling this information out you'll want to:
Customize your page's URL to be clean and easy to remember. This creates a user friendly experience when trying to find your site. Stay away from keyword stuffing here as that adds little to no SEO value.
Utilize keywords in the tagline and introduction as this will ultimately become the SEO meta description for your page. There are only 160 characters to optimize, so use this precious space wisely.
Add links to additional sites that you want to drive traffic to such as your website, blog, and other social media profiles. Embedding links directly on your G+ site will enhance visibility for these pages as well as provide Google with valuable information to establish how pertinent a particular page is in any given search.
Articles, Links, Videos, Images - Content Creation Galore
Since Google+ is owned by Google, they actively have search bots crawl through each post, leaving only one conclusion to be drawn; content is absolutely king. This is the single most compelling reason to use G+ to your advantage; Google is watching. Posting relevant, high quality content is still the quickest and easiest way to build a solid following on G+. When posting content, it is important to favor the following:
Configure posts so that long, drab blocks of text are broken up in an easy to read format so as not to discourage the user from reading longer posts.
To increase the likelihood that users will share your content, use images, videos, and gifs when at all possible. This will help liven up content and add color to draw more attention. In fact, the lion's share of Google+ top posts include images or videos.
Using clear calls to action is imperative when posting content, as this inspires users to interact with posts and take action on the spot. Google+ has literally hundreds of various call-to-action labels available for use to improve user engagement.
Every Detail Matters: Tips for Posts
No matter how small an aspect to a post may seem, rest assured that every detail counts. From content itself, to the hashtags your brand uses, right on down to the comments section, Google is able to crawl everything on G+ (unlike their competitors), making Google+ a critical component in your social media and SEO strategy. Be sure to pay attention to the details of your post to receive maximum results.
A few tips here include:
Always use a headline and be sure to optimize the first 40-50 characters as this will be incorporated into the title tag of the post and is usually what is displayed in Google search results.
Use Hashtags; they are not used the same on G+ as they are on other sites. Hashtags in Google are used to build correlations between topics, letting users find other popular and relevant material related to the tag used.
Publish to Google+ content that you are posting to other social networks. This will ensure your content receives maximum exposure across all platforms.
The bottom line is the Google+ platform has absolutely become an invaluable marketing engine designed to assist in brand awareness and SEO ranking augmentation; after all, it is owned by the company who wants nothing more than to provide the most relevant information for consumer searches.
Not being an active user on G+ is just not a plausible scenario in maintaining a strong social presence. Do your company a favor and get a G+ account set up and be sure to ask for your email subscribers, Facebook and Twitter followers, and contacts to follow you on Google+.
Do you think that Google+ is still poised to one day dominate Facebook? Or has this platform once (or still) deemed a "ghost town" reached its pinnacle?
About The Author:
Digital producer, online marketer, community manager, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney-Brown has been managing cross-functional teams for online businesses since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and one of the Web's foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She's produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, massively multiplayer games, community management, social networks, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, nonprofit director and spiritual counselor. Learn more at her personal website.