social media how toWould you like to drive more traffic to your website?

With new enhancements from Google+, you can more easily accomplish just that!

One of the biggest changes recently rolled out by Google might even be called a seismic shift in search.

Google is somewhat clumsily calling it “Search, plus Your World.” You see, Google has years of experience in the search engine business. And they are so good because they aim to deliver what people are looking for, not just what they actually enter into the search window. They have to figure out if your search on “porter” is supposed to show a lot of beer websites or websites focusing on people who carry luggage.

Part of what they’ve learned is that people want to see results based on their own personal history and social profile.

Google’s Search, Plus Your World

Google search is still search, but now they are tailoring a person’s search to include results based on their social media profile.

In short, Google is now including Google+ updates and people’s +1s (“+1” is Google’s version of Facebook’s “like”) in Google search. The “Your World” parts are indicated by a blue figure of a person’s head and shoulders.

google seo blue profile

This blue icon in a Google search lets you know you or someone you know posted this.

Powerful Social Proof for Businesses

Now when you search, you may see a post from someone you know or someone who knows someone you know. These will show up as people’s faces with search results.

Any student of influence knows that this form of “social proof”—seeing faces of people you recognize—will significantly increase the likelihood you’ll click on a link.

Don’t Miss Out on This Opportunity to Get More Traffic

Google has said it would like to include other sites in Search, plus Your World results, but sites like Facebook and Twitter block Google from searching or indexing people’s public posts. While information from Quora and Flickr does surface, most of the social information is from Google+ posts.

Here are 8 ways to help Google drive traffic to your site with Google+.

#1: Use “Their” Keywords, Not Just Yours

Most of us have our industry-specific dialect. So we naturally try to use those words and phrases when we’re being intentional about our keywords. The problem is that most of our customers don’t use those terms or phrases.

For example, here in Maine, the State Park employees may optimize their site to be found when people search for “Ft. Williams Park.” But 99% of prospective visitors will actually be searching on “Portland Headlight” so it behooves them to rank high for that term too.

Put these keywords in the “about” section of both your page and your profile. And remember to use them when you’re posting updates and sharing images.

google seo portland headlight

You might call your place "Fort Williams Park," but if your customers call it "Portland Headlight," you need to optimize your SEO for that too.

#2: Size Matters

In most social media training, we stress quality of engagement over number of followers or size of fan base. Usually, it’s better to have 8,000 engaged followers than 80,000 followers who ignore you. But current results indicate that a bigger Google+ following is better.

Kristi Hines did an interesting experiment on Google SEO a few days before Search, plus Your World was released. She showed that more followers affected her search rank even when people weren’t signed into their Google account.

More followers means better ranking in Google’s search. To grow your followers:

  • Let people know you have a Google+ page. Put a badge on your website. Tell customers to put you in their circles. Include your link, or a prettier version of your link, in your email and print communications.
  • Share your brand page posts through your personal profile. Brand pages are only allowed to follow people who have first followed them. So pushing your brand posts out through your personal profile helps your page posts receive more exposure.
  • Make sure your employees have their own Google+ profiles and follow your brand page. Encourage them to share your page posts and then “+1” those posts.

If you need help setting up your profile, check out 6 Steps to Getting Started With Google+.

#3: Train the Google Machine

Google search is constantly categorizing and indexing information. Now, in addition to search results, Google is sometimes posting “People and Pages on Google+ related to [your search term]” as a box on the right side of the page.

Not all searches have this feature yet. But the benefit of being listed there is obvious. So train Google to know how to categorize your page by keeping posts on topic and using consistent keywords.

Google says that as you post on the same topic, you’ll be conditioning Google to promote your page in that search.

google seo people and pages

Not all searches have a "People and Pages on Google+ related to…" box yet, but repeatedly posting on the same topic will help your page be listed here when Google expands this feature.

#4: Author Authority

Last summer, Google started supporting an authorship markup. Basically, you can tag your work in a way that shows Google your writings across the web. It also allows Google to pull them together when people search for you.

This step is bit more advanced, but can be well worth the effort. Kristi Hines gives detailed directions on how to implement the authorship feature.

#5: Web Links Both Ways

Another important way to help Google know how to categorize you is to include links between your business website or blog on your profile and brand page.

It seems Google recognizes some features, like authorship, if you include a link to your Google+ profile or brand page on your business website or blog. One way to do that is to use Google’s own badge creator or one like WidgetsPlus that offers more design flexibility.

link back forth

Google+ gives you lots of options for sharing links to your other websites, your social media profiles and your brand pages.

#6: Engage and be Engaging

Google says one of the top three things to do to appear in results is to post and engage with posts.

One way to measure the engagement of your updates is through a Google+ tool called “Ripples.” This cool pictorial tool gives you an idea of who is sharing your posts and who the key influencers are. The more you share with the influencers, the more engagement your posts should get. If Google is reporting on this engagement, they’re tracking it. If they’re tracking it, you know it’s influencing search.

So be engaging. +1 other people’s posts. And experiment with posts until you find ones that consistently get shared. On Google+, two of the best ways to get shared are:

  • Share something incredibly practical and helpful to your niche.
  • Share something really funny.

People on Google+ tend to respond well to both types of posts.

ripples view

Google is tracking the level of engagement for posts and letting you see it in a tool called "Ripples" which you can access as shown above.

ripples picture

Ripples allows you to see who shares your updates.

#7: Use +1 Buttons

In most Google searches, you can now see an option to “+1” a result. Google is specifically using these +1 results in search rank. On December 10, 2011, at the Mediapost Search Insider Summit, Google’s Laura Kelley said that +1 and Google+ pages for brands will become a significant ranking factor for Google searches.

#8: Use Pictures and Videos

You’ve probably noticed people click on pictures more than on text links. And many Google searches now include a prominent display for image search. So use images on your Google+ profiles and brand page. And make sure to use keywords in the “alt” field of all pictures on your own website.

use images

Using images can help you rank higher in Google searches with Search, plus Your World. A quick search on "fundraising coach" not only shows my website, but also images of me speaking and images from my blog posts.

posts in search

Google+ updates are showing up in normal Google searches. This is an added incentive to regularly post and grow engagement with your posts!

Google Search, plus Your World means that people can now see recommendations from their connections right in their Google search results. This is great for your business. People want to see social proof—proof that people like them do whatever it is they’re about to do. Google is offering that.

This makes Google+ more important than ever for your business. Even if you don’t think your customers are yet active on Google+, you need to get on it for the SEO value. By doing some simple steps like consistently post on the same topics and grow your Google+ followers, you help Google drive even more customers to your site.

What do you think? What other ways are you finding that Google+ helps with SEO? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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  • Thank you marc for both your time and insights on google+ tips. I am probably happiest reader here to read your tips because i noticed that you are a nonprofit coach training nonprofits officials on how to use social media for the social good and believe me i am one of them. By profession, i am a social media analyst and content writer but apart from this, i manage our family charity hospital’s online presence across web and social media platforms. And to be true, i have been searching for effective ways to use g+ page for my charity hospital. And i got it at times when i need it, thank you again. 

    I have also opted for your weekly emails (Moin Shaikh, Al-Ameen Hospital)
    Thank you

  • If you are a small business owner and posting on Google + regularly using your keywords strategically, there is a big chance that your Google plus posts may be getting higher rankings than your own website in your local area. 

    Important point to consider about using Google + if you have not joined the party yet. 🙂

  • Caleb Anthony

    Excellent article! I love the detail on not only how each action can influence your ranking, but also exactly how to go about doing it. I plan on using a lot of these tips over the next few weeks.

  • I definitely agree with engagement concept plus the fact that Google is truly the Big Daddy dominating the search industry.

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  • I don’t know if it’s because I’m active on Google+ or not but with no scientific backing I’ve seen Google+ effect my search results immensely…

    I just hope that mainstream users continue to catch on.

  • tgonetinnitus

    What I like about Google+ is that it can bring visitors who are a friend of a friend… These visitors actually recognise you before they know you.

  • Thanks for the kind words!! AND for the great work you are doing!

  • Terrific reminder, Rana!

  • Wonderful observation! Those visitors are much more likely to convert than random strangers!

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  • Larry Elsevier

    Thank You

  • Excellent post.  Thank you for putting this together.  G+ is definitely getting some momentum and I’ve been very pleased with it overall.  

  • Very nice article! G+ is really good for SEO 😀

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  • David Leopold

    Thank you for validating my Google+ “strategy”, Marc.  Folks should also make sure they don’t forget to “sync” their YouTubes with Google+—as they are focused on delivering enhanced searches with their own video database…  YouTube + your landing page + Google+ = Great Google positioning…

  • Thanks for your kind words! I am eager to see even more people use G+ actively!

  • Nice! What is your process of syncing?

  • Regarding the phrase in this post. “…they (Google) are so good because they aim to deliver what people are looking for,
    not just what they actually enter into the search window.” Not everyone agrees with Google choosing what you should see.

    In his book “The Filter Bubble,” Eli Pariser discusses how search engines have become the curators of what they think is relevant to you, not necessarily what you need or want. According to Eli, “the rush to build the filter bubble is driven by commercial interests to create the most comprehensive portrait of each of us to drive personalized products and not to respond to our information needs.” Agree or not, he offers examples in his book about how Google has become the “curator” of the information we see. He spoke about this in a TED conference if you want to learn more about his point of view.

  • Thanks for the google factor reminder….
    With all other social media activity – some how Google been forgotten…..

  • Brilliant post. Very informative, cant wait to apply Google + to my website and blog.

  • Lately I find myself using G+ more and more. I’ve had an account for several months now and the more I use it the more I really love it. I still frequently use Twitter & Facebook but am now starting to use G+ just as much. It really does have many advantages and is constantly improving. Yet another great article by the way!

  • great thoughts Rana 🙂

  • Point 1 and 3 are my take aways from this excellent post. i have not been that regular but then G+ gives a great feeling. only if i could curate the content as we can do on twitter 🙂 waiting for apps to come up with such feature soon . what so you think marc 🙂

  • Thanks. I do miss the days of search that brought out completely random results. There were some serendipitous discoveries! 

  • Thanks. Any day my writing is called “brilliant” is a good day. :)8

  • I can’t WAIT for Google to open up the API so cool apps can be created!

  • Paul Dionne

    I just enabled Google Authorship for contributors to our Resources page this morning.  How timely to have found this article.  It reinforced that my morning was well spent.  Thanks Marc!

    In a way I consider myself lucky that Boss Rocket chose to use Google for our corporate email provider.  It has made the emergence of Google + a lot less cumbersome than it could be.

  • Sugarhinton2010

    this is the most informational post i’ve seen yet. thank you i’m starting my journalism classes soon. So i guess i might be jumping ahead of myself maybe. i’ve joines the blogging club and facebook clubs.

  • Good for you! :)8

  • An incredibly smart piece. Lots of info to digest here but amazing data.

    Michael Girard
    Community Engagement, Radian6

  • Colleen Jorgensen

    Great stuff, Marc. I haven’t read all the comments, so if this has been asked, forgive me. I’m wondering about finding keywords my readers use. I frequently use Adwords Keyword Tool. Is this what you’re referring to? Or should I just google some of my own stuff? 

    Again – thanks for this. I’ll be sharing 🙂

  • Absolutely helpful article! Engage and Be Engaging is what is most important. Nobody is going to turn up on your page if you are not going to respond to them. It is important to establish your presence, not mere presence, but an effective presence.

  • TimHeckhausen

    Excellent article.

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  • This one deserves a tweet and 1+, i must say.

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  • Mpaulin

    Northeast Delta Dental (Concord, NH) just launched its Google + page last week.  Found some useful tips in this post (I subscribe to your newsletters).  Would like to use more photos in our posts, however, the stuff we use for our print media is purchased / canned stock photos and not suitable for the web or social media sites.  Check out our Google + page and I will visit back here for any comments.  Thanks

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  • Great list.  I like how the tips are very technical and specific but still easy to implement.  

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  • At this moment, I am not using Google+ for any of my websites. I know it’s a bad thing and I should do it, but I guess your article convinced me. Thanks for these great tips!

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  • Thank you for sharing such a nice post. Google+ is really making
    efforts to satisfy its user. I have recently started using Google+ to gain
    traffic to my site after reading your article now I am sure that it will became
    easy for me to work on it. 

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  • Great post – Do you think you need a different ‘voice’ on G+ as apposed to Facebook?

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  • Good mix of what we can do easily – engage and be engaging – plus a few tactics to make that work so much better (reminder to self: must get google authorship up and running!)

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  • Marcin Krakowiak

    I’ve just discovered the new SEO too-it’s Colibri and it’s awesome-it can track my website position on every Google,it also find my competition or even suggest it, monitors Facebook, Twitter mentions and backlinks to my website.Most functional-highly recommend!

  • Charlie

    GREAT article! This really helped me. I just started a new brand page on google+, and I need all the help I can get.

  • Hi Marc!
    Thanks for sharing your points on driving traffic using Google+ ….
    i just created my 1st google+  page and needed to now some ways to drive some really good traffic..
    Thanks again marc…:)

  • it was interesting. My concern it that I already have a hard time dealing with twitter, Facebook account, how should we deal with this new G+?!!!

    God bless us

  • Incredible tips! I also suggest MEME for creating traffic on your blog, website. Thanks for sharing this! This is very useful! 

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  • Most of the traffic services are listed on the buy traffic guide. The idea is simple – certified traffic is good for the buyers. Will.

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  • You can also use Google+ button for each blog post you have to make it easier for visitors to share your content.

  •  Google Penguin come and it below Page Rank ranking result my website is survive in page 2 now its appeasr in  Page 3 .

  • Congrat!

  • I could not agree more about engagement, Google+ is all about deep engagement and that is why most of the medium journalists are targeting Google+ these days(they do not interact with their audience). 

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  • The third point is really good and it can easily drive traffic. But indeed Training Google machine isn’t that easy to categorize your page. The last point is also an excellent one as pictures and videos can attract more visitors compared to text.

  • Really interesting article than you

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  • Authorship is a great tool and every publisher should implement it. However most users are not doing it correctly as pointed out by a recent report on Search engine land.

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  • Google Plus can be very effective for a business. However, like any other social network, one needs to invest time and resources at the start before the benefits will be noticeable. While marketers know how to use it correctly, I come across many small businessses daily, who are only using Google Plus to obtain a quick backlink from the profile or for sharing the occasional link to their website content. You can hardly see any benefits with this approach.

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  • Lovely piece