social media how toDo you want to increase your search rankings?

Did you know your Google+ page and profile could help?

Google+ can help you increase search rankings for your website, but you have to take the time to optimize your page, profile and content.

This article shows you three ways you can maximize your Google+ presence and tells you why that’s important for SEO.

Why Google+ for search?

Google+ isn’t just another social media platform; it’s a powerful weapon in your SEO arsenal.

Check out Moz’s recent Future of Search Report for the latest on ranking factors.

seo factors sorted by category

SEO ranking correlations. Image source: The Future of Search: 2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors Released, by Moz.

Editor’s Note: This article has been edited as there’s been a change and the links on the About tab of Google+ Page and Profile are no longer DoFollow links.

The reason Google+ is an SEO goldmine is that the first link added to a Google+ page post is a DoFollow link, which means it passes link equity, or link juice, on to the website you share. If you’re sharing your website, you’re getting the link juice.

DoFollow links are a core building block of SEO. They work in conjunction with PageRank, TrustRank and link context to determine how you rank for specific keywords.

#1: Optimizing Your Google+ Page for Search Ranking

Spending a little time to optimize your information can reap big rewards. With five easy tweaks to your Google+ business page and personal profile, you can build a strong foundation for SEO success.

SEO Title

The SEO title is the name of your Google+ business page (be sure you’re using your company name here). Avoid trying to stuff any keywords into the SEO title—it’s unprofessional and has little SEO value.

Custom Page URL

Google+ recently rolled out the Custom URL feature. This is great news for companies that want to include cleaner links in their marketing. Your new customized URL looks like this:

To set your custom Google+ page or profile URL:

  • Go to your page or profile and click About.
  • Scroll down to the Links box. You’ll see your existing Google+ page URL.
  • Click on the link and Google+ asks you if you want to convert to a new custom Google+ page URL.

Below you can see where I’ve customized the URL for my personal Google+ page to JamesThomasUK.

google plus links section

Google+ Links section.

SEO Meta Description

The SEO meta description for your page combines your tagline and the first two sentences of your introduction. You only get 160 characters, so make them count.

google plus intro section

Google+ Intro section.

To edit your meta description or tagline, go to your Google+ business page and follow these instructions:

  • Click the Manage This Page button at the top of the page.
  • Click Edit Page on the section with your page name on it.
  • Click Edit in the Story section on the next page.
  • Make your changes and click Save.

It’s smart to include one or two of your target SEO keywords in your description.

Google+ Authorship

Google+ authorship is an important ranking factor and one that you may not know about. Authorship tags each piece of content you create and lets Google know you created it.

Without Google+ authorship, you’re losing potential link juice and SEO. Eric Schmidt, author of The New Digital Age, says, “Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification…”

There are two ways to set up Google+ authorship to “claim” your own content:

  • If you have an email address that matches your domain (i.e.,, you can go to the Google+ Authorship page and simply enter your email address to complete the process.
  • If you don’t have an email address that matches your domain, then you’ll have to include a Google+ link to your profile in the author bio of any site you write for. You’ll use this format: <a href=“[profile_url]?rel=author”>Google</a>

If you need more help, Google has provided a more detailed guide in the Support section of Google Webmaster Tools.

The image below shows what a correct Google+ authorship looks like. You can see that my picture and Google+ information are included next to my name.

google authorship result

Google+ authorship information as it appears in search engine results.

#2: Posting Content

Once you’ve optimized your Google+ page and profile and correctly set up authorship, you’re ready to start posting content. This is the quickest and easiest way to build a solid following on Google+ because at the end of the day, content is still king.

google plus post anatomoy

The Anatomy of A Perfect Google+ Post. Image source:

When posting content to your Google+ profile or page, follow these guidelines:

  • Share a summary of the content you’re linking to. Don’t go overboard; short and simple are fine.
  • Don’t include the link in the Summary box. Instead, put the link in the Link Attachment area so you’ll get the SEO benefit of a DoFollow link.
  • Share the content with any of your existing circles.
  • Check the box that allows you to email your Google+ update to your circles, if you think this is something a specific Circle in your audience would like.
google plus post

Google+ post setup.

#3: Connecting the Dots

Now it’s time to pull all of your efforts together and start tracking your results. You can track every piece of Google+ content you distribute or just a chosen few.

Tracking the content you share on Google+ allows you to correlate SEO gains and ranking increases against Google +1s and other social signals. An easy way to keep an eye on what’s working and what’s not is to assign each Google+ link a custom URL, then review its stats weekly in Google Analytics.

To set up a custom URL, open Google URL Builder in a new tab and complete the information. Here’s an overview of each section and what you should type in:

  • Website URL: Enter the URL of the content you want to share and measure.
  • Campaign Source: This is the platform you’re using to distribute the content—in this case, Google+.
  • Campaign Medium: The medium is how you’re sharing your content. This could be a tweet, Facebook status or LinkedIn update. In this instance, the campaign medium is Google+ Post.
  • Campaign Term: You can skip this one for now. It’s not used for this campaign.
  • Campaign Content: Type in the title of what you’re sharing; for example, “How to measure social media traffic.”
  • Campaign Name: Use something simple you can easily recognize later when you’re sifting through Google Analytics; for example, “January’s Google+ campaign.”

When you’ve completed the URL Builder form, click Submit and you’ll get your appended URL. If you like, you can use a URL shortener like to make it look cleaner.

Use Google+  to increase your SEO ranking.

With so many changes in the Google search algorithm, it’s important to keep up with what matters—and right now, Google+ matters. Taking the time to optimize your page and profile, share interesting content and track your efforts puts you on the path to higher SEO rankings.

What do you think? Have you seen value from your company’s Google+ page? Share your experience in the comments!

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  • How does #3 increase search rankings? It’s tracking. The title of the post says 3 Ways to Increase search rankings using Google+.

    Also – this is just a basics checklist, something that tons of other blogs and websites often talk about and I’ve seen mentioned probably here before as well. What’s new SME?

  • Thanks very much, some great idea’s there – am still trying to wrap my head around Google+ so this was very helpful. There is one thing though, I am trying to find the “links” section on my profile – I followed your instructions but cannot see it there? am I doing something wrong or…?

  • Hi Avtar, thank you for your comments. Marketers need to track things in order to improve what they do. We have a diverse audience. Many of our readers are beginners and others will appreciate the reminder.

  • SquareSocJames

    Hi Avtar

    Thanks for your feedback.

    I echo Cindy’s sentiments, she summed it up pretty succinctly. Also I’d just add, too many marketers are constantly looking to reinvent the wheel by looking for something ‘new’. 80% of your marketing results will come from applying tried and tested principles across the platforms currently at your disposal (FB, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn etc). Pick a simple strategy, implement it, measure it and improve upon it 🙂

    All the best,


  • SquareSocJames

    Hi Dennis

    Thanks for the kind feedback!

    In a nutshell:

    – Navigate to the ‘About’ section of your profile
    – Scroll down to ‘links’
    – Click ‘edit’

    If you’re still having no joy with it feel free to Google+ me, or email me – and I can walk you through it

    All the best,


  • This is highly useful information, especially about exactly how to submit new content. I normally just submit the link without any description but now I will pay attention to this. Generating a unique google link in order to track it is also a new piece of information I have come across in this blog post.

  • James,

    Your post gives some great tips that I will be implementing in my practices. I’m still learning the ins and outs of Google Plus, and this is a post I’m bookmarking for future reference as I move forward. Thanks for sharing your expertise.


  • SquareSocJames

    Hi Jerry

    Thanks for the kind feedback. You’re welcome to drop me an email with any further questions on Google+ –

    All the best


  • In #2 you say to check the box that allows you to email your circles, BIG mistake and is the quickest way to get muted or blocked completely. If people don’t request to be notified that way, don’t do it!

  • MangaTherapy

    What do you think of this recent change to Google+ links?

    Shouldn’t the article be updated to reflect the fact that links from G+ might possibly be “NoFollow”?

  • There are a number of inaccuracies in this article:

    1) G+ Pages are not “born” with high PageRank. It is a common wrong assumption. Each Page and profile on G+ has its own PageRank authority, and it is earned by both internal connections within G+ and external links. See my article (based on actual testing and data) at

    2) The links on Google+ Page and profile about tabs are now no-followed, so they pass no PageRank authority.

    3) As +Cyrus Shepard of Moz has carefully explained, the correlation of +1’s to search rankings does NOT mean plusses cause higher search rankings. Google’s Matt Cutts has clearly stated they don’t. It is more likely that a high ranking site has the quality and interest that attracts more plusses.

  • Totally agree Keith!

  • I also left a comment here pointing out several inaccuracies in the article, but its awaiting moderation because I had a link in it.

  • Yea, i don’t quite understand why that option is there, or maybe just don’t understand it’s purpose fully. Anyway, i never use that, and hate getting spam emails about someone, who many times i don’t even know, posting a status update on G+. Mute FTW.

    Is that for people that you add to your G+ circles that don’t have a G+ profile yet? If that is the case, why would you want to do that? I mean i understand why Google would **want** you to do that, but why would **you** want to essentially send all your G+ status updates to a friend/coworker/acquaintance, etc. who hasn’t even signed up for G+?

  • saritlotem

    I didn’t know about not to put the link in the summery box. Thanks for pointing this out.

  • Keith, you beat me to this topic. I have muted so many people for sending content I don’t want. Honestly I found building up my profile to be more benefical. People like connecting with people. However this can be hard if your are a big brand.

  • Sigh. My comment is still not approved. Too bad, as this article has some seriously misleading stuff in it, and ti’s getting widely shared.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Thanks for posting!

    The next time I post to Google Plus, I’ll add a summary an engagement to my posts. I already include a title, summary, link and image.

    I haven’t seen any value from Google Plus. Like most professionals, I’m juggling Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

  • Maybe you could do a G+ post on it Mark 😉

  • At first, when I read the title of this blog post, I thought “uh-oh” SEO? Backlinks? Etc and grew concerned until it was mentioned in the post that stuffing keywords into the SEO title was not only ‘unprofessional’ but also had ‘little SEO value.’

    This is important to keep in mind because Google is starting to catch on to unethical SEO strategies, thankfully.

  • This is such a helpful post, James! So true that optimizing and making the most of Google+ pages and posts is so important for search right now! While the network is heavy with tech savvy and social media professionals now, I can’t wait to see it expand to others. I think the organization of Google+ is straightforward and I appreciate the lack of a newsfeed algorithm and ads (for now). Glad to see search directing people there.

  • Ah, that’s why Google+ optimizes so well! They’re DoFollow links! Thanks for pointing that out!

    I definitely think Google+ will usurp all the social competition eventually (at least through SEO). It may take another 10 years, but I think that’s exactly what Google is moving toward.

  • Thank you for sharing, Mark. We’ll definitely take this into review.

  • Nate Wiener

    If there is a “story” card on a business Google+ page, I’m not aware of it.

  • Thanks Cindy. Maybe I need to write a G+ and SEO article for you guys 😉

  • It’s called “Introduction” on Pages.

  • To be clear, it is the links on one’s profile that have been no-followed. The embedded link in a G+ post (the one that creates a rich snippet below the post content) is still followed.

  • It’s now been posted here.

  • I’d love that! Please email me at

  • I would enjoy that!

  • I also had an issue finding this to change our Tagline and Introduction. I’m on our Google+ page and have the option to “Edit business information.”

    Can anyone clarify this part for me?

  • Katy, sounds like you’re looking at at Google+ Local Page, which has a different structure.

  • Nate Wiener

    Maybe the snow is affecting my brain, but I don’t see “Introduction” either. I only see “Description”.

  • Sharon Elswick

    I find myself in the same boat as Katy – I have a Local Page. Is this a detriment? Should I be focusing on a Google+ Page? Can I swap?

  • I looked into a Google + Business page and it says it’s already attached to our account. I suppose this means it was converted into a local page instead.

  • After changing the URL from the old structure, does authorship get affected?

    I have my own e-mail domain, but when I configured it over a year ago it didn’t work. So on top of that I needed to also include the G+ URL in my website (I installed a plugin for that). So I wonder if this change would affect my authorship and/or if I need to re-enter (or not) the new URL

  • Good points. I think what James intended to say regarding 1) is that Google+ pages are more likely to provide authority than a similar page in any other platform. In my case, I saw an increase on my rankings a few days after I opened my G+ account, although I cannot confirm if this has any direct relationship or was just caused by other factors.

  • That wasn’t clear to me either. Thanks for the clarification.

  • Thanks for sharing this info James. I’m planning to build a Google+ account for my company and I’m very thankful that I’ve found your article at the right time. I will use this as my guide in creating Google+ page for my company.

  • Saravanan Kumar

    Thank to share this post. Very useful for me.

  • Ashley

    This is cool!

  • Hey Cindy, thanks for taking the time out to respond. Sure – marketers need to track things in order to improve what they do, but that doesn’t really qualify as a “third way” to increase Google search rankings now is it? It’s a given. It doesn’t need to be pointed out time and time again by a publication such as SME. It’s been increasingly frustrating lately to see posts here just talk about the same things over and over again.

    I agree with you on the diverse audience. But 99% of the posts on here cater to beginners only, or have very basic input points in them. What about the rest of the people? And honestly – how many reminders does everyone else need about them needing to track their results.

  • Thank you for taking the time to comment James. I don’t agree with you on “reinventing the wheel” would constitute as looking for something new. The wheel has been invented on social media, and it’s what you’ve mentioned in your post above. To stick to the same analogy – social media advice that’s given out by massive publications these days is stuck in the stone ages.

    Almost every post here says the same thing. Respond to your fans! Retweet your influencers! Engage with influencers! Make your fans feel special! Be more human on your page! Give back to your fans!

    Sure. But what’s next. Everyone’s doing that. Everyone. Perhaps 10% of the brands don’t do it. Tried and tested principles make everyone fall into the category of being “one in the flock” and does nothing for them to stand out. If you’re going to say “be creative” – then what’s the point of having such massive posts with 2,000+ shares in the first place?

    It’s like telling a soldier to “be strong” before he goes into battle. Is that all the advice his General will give him? Because that doesn’t do much for him.

    SMExaminer is a massively widely read social media blog, and has people from all over the world reading it and sharing it, I think SME should take the next step and stop posting anything that has been posted before. Perhaps have ONE post a week that’s a “reminder” or a “check-list” post. The rest of it should be talking about something new, something fresh, a new tactic, a new insight, or if there isn’t enough there to report that’s new – just highlight smaller brands that are doing a good job and analyze what they do.

    I’d be happy to help with such articles, because seeing SMExaminer go down this path of just talk about the same thing over and over has just become a little disheartening.

  • SEO can come with scary connotations – it sounds so technical the way most people use it! But it’s good to know that we do have options for increasing our search rankings on our own. Thanks for this post James!

  • Hey Avtar, I’m with you on this, I get very frustrated indeed when I hear the same old things being constantly churned out time & time again, when in actual fact many of us are looking for new methods to claw our way back after Google released that damned penguin!

    Oh it’s just hit me, perhaps they keep churning out the same old dross because if truth be known, they are in the same boat as everyone else & are also struggling against Google recent updates..?

    Just a thought hahaha

  • Merlin Sidebottom

    Mark, I am afraid you are mistaken. G+ links ARE do-follow, when you use the link tool to insert them! Clearly you either haven’t checked whether they are follow or no follow, or you haven’t inserted the links properly.

    Additionally you have failed to recognise that one of the key factors on why G+ is so valuable is because posts get indexed instantly and rank with ease. Have you not considered this as a valuable source of traffic? If not, you’re missing out on huge traffic.

    In response to 3), anyone who actually listens to what Matt Cutts says cannot legitimately claim to be an SEO expert. His job is purely to spread propaganda and confusion among web masters. Note the huge amount of misinformation that comes from his videos and blog (e.g. ‘page rank will not be updated in 2013, lo and behold it is updated in December).

  • Merlin Sidebottom

    Obviously if you’re sending them poor quality content then you will get muted instantly.

    Sounds like you need to change your strategy, try offering some value in your posts. We’re in the ‘what’s in it for me’ generation after all!

  • Merlin Sidebottom

    Hi Antonio, it’s fine to change your URL and not worry about authorship being affected

  • Merlin Sidebottom

    Just remember that the big SEO agencies don’t actually have any secret methods at all! SEO these days is mostly just about publishing content, because no legitimate agency wants their clients to get a Google ban for dodgy practices – it is just too risky these days thanks to Google’s actions on webspam.

    Social media is key now in any SEO strategy, anyone who claims otherwise will most likely get wiped out by the Google ban hammer

  • Lukas Turpin

    There’s no Links if you have Local+ page.

  • That would spread some doom and gloom! Haha, but hopefully that isn’t the case. Cindy, Mike and gang have always had some good stuff to say and add – and we can hope for this to be a temporary slump!

  • Danny Hill


    Are actually saying anyone who doesn’t use social will be penalised by google?

  • Actually Merlin, it’s simply bad advice. Checking that button sends out an email notification to anyone you have in your circles, whether they have added you or not. It’s called SPAM. Plain and simple. I have a circle of people that have REQUESTED I notify them of certain posts, that is the only ones I check that button on.

    Do you use Google Plus Merlin?

  • Merlin Sidebottom

    No need to throw your toys out the pram. If your email contacts were collected legitimately i.e. you know them in real life and they opted in to your mailing list, then there is no problem whatsoever with sending them valuable content via G+. If you’re just using G+ to post spam then maybe its not the right social network for you

  • Merlin Sidebottom

    Tracking is actually an important method of increasing your rankings. If you don’t track your progress, how do you know you are moving in the right direction? How will you know whether to increase, decrease, or alter your strategy in some other way?

  • Merlin Sidebottom

    Absolutely agree with this, Social is key for SEO now but it has to be done in the right way

  • Seriously, do you use Google+? I think you are confused what we are talking about here.

  • Merlin Sidebottom

    people who dont recognise the importance of social usually are the ones still using black hat tactics that will get their clients nuked

  • Merlin Sidebottom

    No need to be rude Keith. Clearly this topic is beyond you.
    1. people who opt in to your emails will be happy to receive your G+ content
    2. post content that adds VALUE
    3. if they still block/mute you, its because your content is spammy

    You cant condemn techniques for not working if you’ve not actually done them properly

  • I wasn’t being rude @merlinsidebottom:disqus, you have stated several times that I am “not doing things properly” and you don’t know me or what I do at all. As someone who has been using G+ since the first week it was released, I think the topic is clearly NOT beyond me. You have still yet to answer the very simple question of whether or not you are active on Google+, I can’t seem to find you there. This makes me question whether you actually understand what we are talking about here.

    Let’s get back to the horrible advice in the article (if you read through some of the comments, this is only one of several inaccuracies in the article):

    “Check the box that allows you to email your Google+ update to your circles, if you think this is something a specific Circle in your audience would like”

    First, let me explain a little about how this typically works. You join Google+, then you start adding people to circles, which is how it should work. You actively search out people with common interests, valuable content, etc.. and you segregate them into circles.

    Just because you have added someone to your circles, doesn’t mean they have added you back, and it doesn’t mean they want to be notified of something you have shared.

    The writer didn’t say:

    “Check the box that allows you to email your Google+ update to the contacts from your email list, who have asked to be notified of your content”

    That may have made a much different outcome. No. He didn’t do that though, he simply recommended you spam people you don’t know, and haven’t asked you to send them info.

    Now, as to your second point, I actually do that, it shows in my profile, my followers, and my content.

    I stand by my comment that this writer has given bad advice to people that may not fully understand the implications of their actions.

    Hopefully that didn’t come out too rude, but I don’t condemn techniques for not working because I haven’t done them properly, I actually have done them properly. I condemn this technique because it is simply spam and bad advice.

    Have a nice day.

  • Danny Hill

    What sweeping and inaccurate generalisations about agencies and black-hat tactics.

  • SquareSocJames

    Hi Mark

    Thanks for your feedback.

    In response:

    1. Sorry, but you’re wrong, or you’ve just misread the article and thrown in some negativity for the sake of it. A Google+ page is born with the page rank inherent to the ‘Google’ domain, I didn’t say it was born with a high page rank, nor that it doesn’t require work to increase it, it’s also born with the DOMAIN AUTHORITY intrinsic to a page created on the Google domain. I believe you’re referring to PAGE AUTHORITY, which is something completely different. That does, as you suggest, require page specific link building and time invested to build. I’d suggest you spend some time reading up on the differences between these two search engine ranking factors before attempting to discredit my own advice.

    2. Not sure what point you’re trying to make here. If you’d read the article you’ll see the only mention of passing link juice I make is from Google+1’s. Completing a full link profile is just common sense and if these links are no-follow, as you’re well aware, there’s an ongoing debate as to the value of no-follow links, but Google looks for these in a well rounded, diverse backlink profile so they are essential.

    3. “Correlation isn’t causation, but it sure is a hint”. Last I checked, Google have never published a check list for what works in terms of SEO, besides Matt Cutts advocating – content content content. The same rings true with most online marketing, that’s like saying because there isn’t a scientific theorem to prove the correlation of a result, it doesn’t work. Look to your own campaigns results, and in fact your own Google+ following, which is very large. The research suggests that Google+1’s play a signifcant factor in where a website ranks in the SERPs. If you’re saying this argument is invalid, you’re saying building links (the core building block of ANY SEO campaign) is invalid, which is ridiculous. +1s are links that pass juice, end of.

    With regards to you writing an article for Social Media Examiner, you’re more than welcome to, but I’d advise you spend a lot more time researching your article than you did posting a negative response to my own. I’d also recommend you read up on marketing 101, if you want to write an indepth SEO article then keep doing as you seem to be, writing them on Search Engine World where they will be of sufficient value to the audience.

    As Cindy suggested above too, Social Media Examiner is a learning ground for people of all levels of marketing expertise. Just because you probably have a significantly high level of knowledge than some of the readers, there’s no need to input negativity amongst the comments which are meant to be a forum for readers to ask for further help, or clarification on some of the specifics.

    All the best,


  • Scott Davis

    You’re incorrect sir. The links on the About tab of a Google+ page ARE follow.

    Look at the description field.

  • SquareSocJames

    Hi Antonio

    That’s absolutely right. Thanks for your feedback. That’s why I also mentioned the importance of measuring your campaigns, so that it’s easier to correlate an increase in rankings with a specific marketing activity.

    All the best,


  • SquareSocJames

    Thanks for your kind feedback, glad you enjoyed it:)

  • SquareSocJames

    Hi Barbara

    Thanks for the kind feedback – you’re welcome to email me at with any questions 🙂

    All the best,


  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Avtar. We’re sure to take them into consideration.

  • Avtar, again I appreciate the thoughts you share here. And if you’re interested in writing for us, the first step is here: We’re definitely interested in more advanced social media articles.

  • This is actually under hot dispute among those of us in the SEO community who closely follow what Google+ is doing.

    As it turns out, certain link inspection tools show a nofollow on those links. And if you view source of a profile in incognito mode, you also see nofollow applied. But viewing source, even of a cached version, logged in, the links appear to be followed.

    We’re not sure yet what’s going on there. Some think the links are nofollow but Google is cloaking that in some way.

    What is not in dispute is that the embedded link in a G+ post (the one that turns into a rich snippet below the post), is still followed

  • Yes, the main embedded link on a post is followed, but that does NOT mean automatic high authority being passed. That depends on the PageRank authority of the profile posting the link. Profiles (and Pages) have such varying authority. It is gained just as web sites do it, by links (in this case, both internal links inside G+ and external web links to the profile). See my article on this at

    +1’s have little to nothing to do with such authority. The author of this post bought into the fallacy that correlation is causation. Those of us who have actually tested know that Google considers +1s a fairly weak signal, and they don’t use it much (if at all) to assess authority.

    Sites that rank well also tend to have higher +1’s because content that attracts links out on the web has a higher chance of being the kind of content that will get more +1’s (and other social signals). It does not follow that those social signals cause the rankings.

  • Exkalibur

    I may be going brain dead with all of the Google+ stuff, which is more convoluted IMHO than other social media sites. I did create the custom URL suggested in #3 just to see what it’s about. I now have that very long URL but have no idea what to do with it? Can someone clarify that? Thanks.

  • And sorry to you, James, but you’re not only not speaking to a beginner here (I was doing SEO when you were worrying about acne), but you’re speaking to someone who has been at the forefront of actually TESTING how Google+ affects SEO, not repeating assumptions.

    1. Google does NOT allow domain authority to flow through G+ links for the same reason they don’t allow it through links on Blogger blogs. If they did, even low authority G+ profiles would have disproportionately huge authority, as G+ and Blogger are Google properties (and G+ in particular is on the extremely powerful domain).

    Joshua and Berg and I have proven (as documented in my Search Engine Land article I linked; did you read it?) that in the G+ ecosystem, Google treats each profile and pages as a kind of domain, and each post as a web page. Profiles with higher PageRank can consistently outrank lower PageRank profiles in the SERPs.

    2. Yes, there are some who believe that Google SOMETIMES passes PageRank through a nofollow link, but they’ve never proven it, Google spokespersons have denied it, and even if they did, those who believe that say that it is only in special circumstances. I do agree it is a good idea to have a complete profile and to make use of those links (to drive traffic to the linked-to assets) but I maintain that it is not correct to include that as a “big 3” tip on “increasing your SEO.”

    3. Here you are wrong again. I worked closely with Cyrus Shepard, the author of the Moz post that inadvertently set off the wild “+1’s are a ranking factor!” rumors across the web. See and especially his additional conclusions at the end of the article. The thing got so out of hand, that at the end of the day, Matt Cutts cut into a Hacker News thread to categorically state: Google+ +1’s are NOT used by Google as a ranking factor in search.

    I talked with Matt about this at SMX Advanced. He explained that after the introduction of the +1 they tested it extensively and found it to be a very weak signal. That is, it is far too easy to give a +1, and difficult for Google to assess the intention behind a +1. He said they even tested having the ability to +1 search results in the SERPs (I remember seeing that), but quickly withdrew it because many people would +1 ever result on the first page! So they devalued +1’s as a PR passing link.

    So what about the studies (by Moz and SearchMetrics) that seem to show a high correlation between +1’s and sites that rank well? If +1’s truly don’t act as a ranking factor, that correlation is still easy to explain. Sites that do things that earn them high rankings (such as good links) also tend to produce content that will get more +1’s.

    So we’re back to what some of us have actually TESTED and confirmed time and again:

    1. Google+ treats profiles and pages like mini-domains, and they earn PageRank authority by who references (“links”) them within G+ (by mentioning them, sharing their posts, commenting on their posts, and perhaps to a much lesser extend, plussing them) and also external links from outside web pages.

    2. The earned authority of the profile or page is the predominant factor in how much search authority it passes on to other profiles and/or external web pages to which it links.

    I’m sorry that you see my original comment as “negativity,” but I thoroughly reject your notion that it was “unhelpful” to SME readers. I don’t care how “basic” they are, providing them with information you haven’t tested and verified, but just assumed or read elsewhere, is NOT going to be helpful to them.

    And I assure you I am quite capable of writing an article that is at the level of the average SME reader, but that anything I state in the article will be based on facts that I have tested myself, or research from others I trust to do such testing well, and not on speculation or assumptions.



  • Jesús Pérez Serna

    Back to the basics: Permission Marketing

    Really well said Keith

  • Justine

    Is there a way to remedy this so we can have a links section?

  • @Exkalibur:disqus The point of #3 was a way to track that specific share(s) you do on Google+. Since you have that long url, copy and paste it into your “share a post” section on Google+.

    What will happen is that the utm tracking (thelong added info on your url) will tell Google Analytics, “Hey! Label visits coming from this url as such.”

    The you will be able to go to the “Campaign” section within Google Analytics and see how many visits that link generated.

    Make sense?

  • Merlin, This is Absolutely perfect!!!! she may forgot to check link.

  • SquareSocJames

    Hi Keith

    The purpose of this article is to teach marketers how to use Google+. What they chose to do with this advice is up to them. I’m not sure why a simple bit of how-to constitutes ‘horrible advice’ or has sparked such an argument to be honest.

    If you don’t want to email your Google+ circles, don’t. Your logic basically seems to be dictating that just because a piece of functionality has the potential to constitute spam (by circling hundreds of people who you have no connection to, apparently) that it’s horrible advice.

    Just reread my quote, which you helpfully requoted above: “If you think this a something a specific circle would like”.

    All I’m interested in is helping others further their marketing knowledge, so please can you keep your opinion to yourself unless you have something constructive to contribute 🙂

    All the best,


  • SquareSocJames

    Hi Amrit

    Glad you find it useful! Let me know how you get on with the link tracking!

    All the best,


  • SquareSocJames

    No worries glad you enjoyed my article 🙂

  • SquareSocJames

    Hi Amanda

    Glad you found it helpful. From the social media marketers it seems to be one of the ‘harder’ social media platforms, thought I guess that’s a matter of perspective and preference. A lot comes down to where your target market are, if they are avid Google+ users I guess it’s worth knuckling down and building that presence! If not then I’d focus elsewhere as you’re doing.

    All the best,


  • SquareSocJames

    Hi Sophie

    Don’t worry I hate the black/grey hat stuff, as you do from the sounds of it. Hopefully you found the article useful!

    All the best,


  • SquareSocJames

    Hi Katie – you’re welcome to drop me an email if you’re still getting stuck –

    All the best,


  • SquareSocJames

    Thanks Saravanan glad you found it useful!

  • SquareSocJames

    Spot on!

  • Exkalibur

    Thanks, Peder. If I’m understanding you correctly, this link would specifically be entered in the link box under “Share What’s New” on the Dashboard. Is that a substitute for posting a direct link from a web site blog post or something different? Just not clear to me as I’m trying to figure out the unique structure of Google+. The more explicit, the better. Thanks, again.

  • James,

    I stand by my comment, it is a spammy practice if they haven’t actually asked you to notify them via email, period. Thanks for the idea for an article.

    You say you are interested in helping others, then don’t give them advice that will most likely hurt their trust and authority on Google+. We could argue this till the sun comes down, you are obviously not going to back down from your stance, I won’t either. Just because there is an “option” to do something doesn’t make it good practice, and what you advised people to do is horrible practice. Period. I block and mute dozens a day over it, so do many others. What good will that do someone, now they have absolutely zero chance of getting their content in front of the very people they were trying to get it in front of.


  • James, excellent article. I’ve been doing this social media stuff long enough that I rarely find content that teaches me new and effective strategies, ideas, and techniques. Thanks for doing all that!

  • Done! 🙂

  • Daniel Smith

    Keith, I’ve worked with the author in the past. His tactics for SEO, in particular link building strategies, have had sites banned on Google…so if I were you guys I would take his advice with a pinch of salt…

  • SquareSocJames

    Hi Mark

    You seem quite agitated, not sure why.

    Also – you haven’t actually countered any of the points I made, you’ve merely speculated and talked about conversations you’ve had with other SEO’s.

    Anyways thanks for your comments 🙂

    All the best,


  • SquareSocJames

    Hi Baochi

    No problem – glad you enjoyed it. You’re welcome to G+ me or email me for further tips 🙂

    All the best,


  • SquareSocJames

    Hi Daniel

    Thanks for your feedback.

    I’m sorry that you feel that way – you’re welcome to contact us direct to discuss this further.

    All the best,


  • SquareSocJames

    Hi Keith

    You are indeed entitled to your opinion

    As I said the purpose of the article is to enrich the readers marketing knowledge, so why don’t we agree to disagree.

    I think you’ve misinterpreted my original point, which was to email your Circles optionally with particularly relevant pieces of content.

    Anyways, thanks for your feedback.

    All the best,


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  • I would have never guessed this author would have given advice or used tactics that got sites banned, would you @trappermark:disqus?

  • David Duncan

    Daniel, you’d be wise to keep such personal attacks off a public forum especially when you are ill informed of the facts. I’d be happy to take them up with you personally though.

  • Thanks Cindy! I appreciate the content of this post. It’s always nice to touch base with you , too!

  • Really, that’s your reply? In other words…you’ve got nothing.

    Nothing but dismissing me as “agitated.” I was only “agitated” to the extent that your first reply was condescending, treating me as an SEO-neophyte when you had no idea of my experience.

    I’ll let the readers determine whether or not I countered your points. Your last reply confirms to me that my criticisms, grounded in actual testing and confirmation from highly respected authorities, were on the mark. I’ve caught you publishing a thin article full of misrepresentations and groundless speculations, you know it, and so you’ve got nothing to come back with but further dismissiveness. I’m done debating you. I’ve put out the actual evidences and documentation in my comments. Let the reader check it out and decide who knows what they’re talking about.

  • Merlin, my link reference was specifically to links in the About tab of a profile, NOT to the embedded link in a post. Of course I know that’s followed.

    Your second paragraph is calling me to task for something I never refuted. Of course I know that G+ post are incredibly valuable in search. Not only have I not denied that, I make regular use of it. Because of the relationships I have on G+ I have a very high authority profile, and my posts rank very highly in search. Go search (logged out of Google) for “google+ page analytics” for an example. That G+ post of mine has been in the top 3 for that query for over two years now!

    As to your third paragraph, I can’t respond to conspiracy theories. Of course I understand that Cutts is an official spokesperson, and therefore there is sometimes propaganda mixed in with what he says. However, I will not jump to accusing him of actually intentionally lying. The Toolbar PageRank example is not necessarily Matt “lying.” When he made that statement, he very well could have been stating what the intention was at the time, and then later Google decided to move more quickly. Things change.

    But regardless of that, I only share a statement by Cutts when I think there is reasonable evidence elsewhere to confirm it. In my #3 above that’s what I did. I only offered up Matt’s statement because our independent observations backed it up.

  • SquareSocJames

    Hi Mark

    I agree. I’m sure the readers will be able to reach their own judgements as to both our credibility, and our character 🙂

    All the best,


  • I was frustrated with the lack of options/features with a Local+ page, so I created an exact match regular page. G+ has them sharing plus ones – it works out wonderfully. Also, my engagement on G+ using the principles in this article has skyrocketed my business’ appearance in the SERPs. Especially Google Authorship. Not a lot of businesses in my industry (home improvement) or social media savvy.

  • Daniel, although we do invite everyone to share their opinions, please to not get personal here.

  • Keith, although we invite you to share your opinions, please do not make any personal accusations.

  • My apologies Cindy, I stand by my statements that this is bad advice for marketers or any one else using Google+ though.

  • Thanks for the good post and reminder. I’m guilty sometimes of not adding a good description, even if putting the link in the proper place.

  • Daniel Smith

    Fair enough Cindy, just simply questioning the credibility of the author, which is something you probably should done before this article even went live. All I want is good information on this subject, as opposed to bad advice as has clearly been pointed out by professional SEOs. Good quality content is what we want and Google too, i believe…

  • Gary Sanders

    Richard – what do you mean by regular page and sharing plus ones? Are you speaking of a regular G+ page and a business page? Thanks so much!

  • I was trying to follow your advice here for setting up Google plus,
    as in :

    To edit your meta description or tagline, go to your Google+
    business page and follow these instructions:

    Click the Manage This Page button at the top of the

    Click Edit Page on the section with your page name
    on it.

    Click Edit in the Story section on the next page.

    Make your changes and click Save.

    1. When you say Business page, does this mean any Google plus page
    that we can create or one specifically set-up/created/named a business
    page ?

    I have a Google plus page for my Music as an artist.. but there
    is no manage this page at the top of my page.. where is it ? I can
    therefore not continue

    or find the next step..edit page on the section with my name on
    it.. ??

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  • Excellent write up! Guess something I need to improve on my G+ business page. Thanks for sharing this James.


  • Rachel

    As a new marketer, I do appreciate the opportunity to learn the basics. Thank you!

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  • Gary I’m sorry for the late reply. Yes: my regular G+ page (/+CraftProContractingNJ) and my local business listing page, or whatever you call it (/+CraftProContracting) both have the same name, “CraftPro Contracting” and Google+ is smart enough to compile/share the +1’s: it recognizes that the pages are for the same entity and it treats them as one. I hope I’m explaining it well enough. When someone pluses a post from either page the +1 counts for both pages. There have been some hiccups. Right now CP’s plus count is over 3.2k but sometimes I lose some. And when I’m not logged in it shows over 4k. One time I lost 1k pluses in one day for reasons I have yet to understand, nor do I particularly care to understand them because I don’t think plus ones are that important when compared to the many other facets of G+ (engagement, following, communities, etc).

    My reason for having two pages is that local listing business pages (please excuse me if I’m not using the correct jargon) offer very little creative license, while a regular page gives me the chance, in the About tab, to explain my business and provide links, etc. So, while it’s time-consuming to manage a personal profile, a local listing, and a regular page (on top of everything else involved with running two relatively young businesses **EDIT to avoid confusion: I also build websites and run SMO campaigns for some other small businesses on the side** ) I think it’s worth it.

    I’m hoping that G+ will eventually merge the two pages, making local business listing pages come with all the room in the About tab that regular pages have.

  • There are thousands of newbies to SEO/SM every day. These articles are an invaluable source. For the more experienced, we can get lazy / fall into bad habits. These articles remind us to cover the basics. There is always going to be churn. Re-emphasising is never a bad thing. SME have gone to the time and trouble, something I am always appreciative of. If there is nothing new in the articles, then they have confirmed you have not missed any tricks. That is always a good thing in my book!

  • Personally, I’m sceptical about the quality of any article that is written by an author who chooses “SEO company” as the anchor text link in their author bio. Doubly sceptical if it links to a service page. No offence intended James.

  • Hi how do you connect a Google places page to your Google + page? I seem to be doing something wrong!

  • Same here. If you go to the page’s about section and hit the story box you can go from there 🙂

  • As someone whose Google + account is ‘covered in dust’, I appreciate this guide. I’ll need to brush off the dust and get cracking again.

  • Sam Spade

    Really good insight, Mark. G+ isn’t the end all and be all, but it’s a step in the right direction everyone should be using.

  • Olivia

    Since your articles are connect to your authorship on your Google + profile only, when you post your articles on your Google+ Page, how does that benefit your authorship on Google since it’s connected to your profile only?

  • Hi Olivia,

    Public posts on Google+ are also part of your Authorship. If you use Google Webmaster Tools, you can see them included in your Author Stats (under the Labs section). Also, I see many of my Google+ posts appearing in Google search with my author photo. For example, search “google+ page analytics.” That post you see with my author photo has been at the top of Google for that query for almost two years now.

  • Hi,

    Thanks for writing this clean post. But sorry I didn’t find any option in my G+ pages for re-writing url. I have checked the place that you mentioned in about us of page. But there is nothing. Can you please help me out.

  • guptaabhijit318

    Wow!!! amazing article and the data clearly show that there is a relationship between higher rankings and google. Thanks for sharing your great experience.

  • When adding a DoFollow link to G+ how to you get larger images? Or the option is whats given, smaller images?

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  • I don’t mind reminders. You never know if you might have something you weren’t aware of :p

  • Thanks very much for ur nice sharing…

  • Hey @beta21:disqus I’m not so sure why they didn’t joint point out Google Analytics => Acquisition => Social => Data Hub Activities. 😉

  • Let’s not forget the fact that any link that is easily placed by you is considered unnatural and would not hold much link authority.

  • Great article, thanks! One question – How does Google+ Authorship help a business page vs a personal page? If you’re a local business and you want to optimize Google+ so that your website (and your associated Google+ business page) appear more prominently in search results, how will Google+ Authorship help since you’re not concerned with your personal brand?

  • James, thank you for showing ways on how to get benefits from Google+ when it comes to SEO. Like your article.

  • John


    Where’s the link attachment area?

  • There’s no attachment to this article, John. What are you referring to?

  • Found that I did indeed like this page, helpful content.

  • Unfortunately Google have now made ALL their links nofollow

  • Devanshu Thakur

    Its really good info about how to create Google plus profile and gain search ranking.thanks for share this lovely content.

  • Thanks for sharing this. I hadn’t been using Google+ as actively as I should have been, will remedy that immediately.

  • Roy

    Hi, if I change the G+ URL on my business page does it only affect that page or also my personal URL that holds the page

  • The article is interesting, but the comments are great! 🙂

  • hy, nice article, if i create a community will this afect my seo or is useless

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  • thanks for this article , i was using google plus but never give importance, now i think me and other user start thinking about it in a serious way to achieve rank

  • Still confused!! Am i wrong to assume that i’m relying on customers to leave google reviews?

  • Chris Holt

    With new Google updates ranking your website is becoming more complex and backlinks are becoming harder & harder to build. It is definitely a case of ‘quality’ over ‘quantity’ these days if you want to rank on Google with their new algorithm updates. If you wanna push your website up to the top of Google then have a quick look at the video at:

    solutionwax*com/seo (obviously change the * for a dot as it won’t let me post links here) – the 20min video will tell you how to rank your website on Google and the MS tool is the perfect way to assist you with that because its the only way to ensure quality backlinks. Hope this helps anyone who is looking for some SEO advice 🙂

  • Chris Holt

    With new Google updates ranking your website is becoming more complex and backlinks are becoming harder & harder to build. It is definitely a case of ‘quality’ over ‘quantity’ these days if you want to rank on Google with their new algorithm updates. If you wanna push your website up to the top of Google then have a quick look at the video at:

    solutionwax*com/seo (obviously change the * for a dot as it won’t let me post links here) – the 20min video will tell you how to rank your website on Google and the MS tool is the perfect way to assist you with that because its the only way to ensure quality backlinks. Hope this helps anyone who is looking for some SEO advice 🙂

  • Bilyana R Subaric

    hi, can someone help me with URL on google plus, I change URL, but in google research it still shows of URL with numbers not the one with my name

  • Good content, but Google news system removed custom page url.

  • I’ve been using Google+ incorrectly this whole time. I’ll have to rethink by approach following your guide lines.