Posted 18 July 2013

Using Google+ for SEO

Using Google+ for SEO

It’s been over a month since the latest Penguin update and those that were affected are now slowly starting to take control of their rankings again through content marketing, auditing the quality of their links and of course the relatively new kid on the block in SEO, social media.  Social signals are now a well-established factor that search engines such as Google take into account when ranking a site, and these include posting about a company, sharing, bookmarking a site/page, commenting on what a company has said or liking/following their brand or business page.

With so many different kinds of social media it could in theory take you all day to update every network, so you need to prioritise, but since the Penguin update how do you know which social signals carry the most weight when it comes to ensuring your page ranks the highest?

Search Metrics have just published a ranking correlation study they have worked on for the past 3-months, and covers the period following the release of Penguin 2.0; the results were surprising for some.  They examined the top 300,000 URLs ranking the highest for the presence and extent of certain properties, and not only was the Google +1 social signal the most prevalent, but it is also on the rise; by 2016 it is set to overtake Facebook ‘share’ in terms of social sharing. If this trend is set to continue it is now not just advisable to have a Google+ as well as a Facebook and Twitter page, but it should be made the leading social network for your business.

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There are a number of possible reasons why Google+ is having this beneficial effect.  One might be the introduction of Google authorship, which is where any content an author writes is linked back to their Google+ page and gets actively attributed to them with their profile picture.  The fact that the listing stands out because it has a photo may help to increase traffic, and if the author is an established writer this could also boost credibility and result in further increases in traffic.  There aren’t any concrete studies done on the effects of authorship on SEO but MediaShift have seen a number of blogs seeing traffic increases from between 15% and 50%.

Google+ can also help you get more natural and high quality backlinks.  A Google+ profile offers you the chance to get backlinks to your website from high authority sites; this will positively influence your website ranking. Inbound links in your Google+ posts will also help drive traffic to content, and the activity on your Google+ page is a factor that Google takes into account to attribute value to these links.  Google+ can contribute to and assist your content marketing by increasing visibility, as others will want to link to any interesting content you have written which should boost SERPs.

Google+ will still need monitoring in the same way that all other social media marketing does.  You can do this by tracking traffic from Google+ to your website, and in terms of actual sales you can monitor the effect Google+ has with promo codes for online purchases, as well as allocating a unique tracked contact number for your page and using call tracking to measure the number of sales made via phone that are triggered by your Google+ page.  Monitoring the effects that Google+ has on sales as well as traffic and rankings means that you can get a holistic picture of how it is helping your business.

Businesses interested in making the most of their online presence should no longer just have a Google+ page for the sake of it; they should actively use it to potentially improve search engine rankings, promote their brand and generate additional revenue.

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