Using Google+ for SEO

If you’re considering building up your business’s presence on Google+, here are some tips to help you maximize the SEO benefits and dominate in the search results.

1. Followed profile links – Perhaps one of the most obvious benefits of using Google+ is that you are allowed to include keyword-rich anchor text links within your profile. The best part: they’re DOFOLLOW links – meaning that the value is passed on to the site you’re linking to, which can improve your backlink profile. You also have the ability to embed urls within posts and the value of those links increases with engagement. Although you aren’t limited to a specific number of links, I would recommend that you use your best judgment and don’t make the links appear abusive or spammy.

2. Rel=author and rel=publisher – Authorship allows you to mark up your content so it’s linked to a specific Google+ profile. If implemented correctly, your photo and authorship information will appear next to your marked up content in search results. Many case studies indicate that authorship can lead to an increase in click-through rate. Cyrus Shepard was able to boost traffic 35% just by optimizing his Google+ profile photo. And he’s not the only one. You can also use the publisher tag for brands. It functions similar to the authorship tag, except it’s used for content pages that can’t be attributed to a specific author, like an “About the Company” page or the homepage of a company website. Instead of an author photo, publishers can use a company logo.

3. Structured data and rich snippets – Rich snippets and structured data help feed Google (and other search engines) specific properties about various entities on the web. For instance, a local business is a type of entity and that entity has several different properties, such as a mailing address, contact information, ratings and reviews, hours of operation, payments accepted, etc. Structured data and rich snippets help Google extract these sets of data and display them in a rich format (hence the name). Like authorship photos, structured data can take up more real estate on the search engine results page and lead to an increased click-through rate.

4. YouTube integration – Video has become such a large part of SEO that there are actually many companies that specialize specifically in video marketing and SEO. Having recently reached over 4 billion unique video plays per day, YouTube is not only most widely used video platform, but also the world’s 2nd largest search engine, making it a force to be reckoned with, from digital marketing perspective. YouTube was recently integrated with Google+, which means that activity and engagement is fed directly to the associated Google+ profile. All the more reason to build up your video library if you haven’t already.

5. Customized search results – For a while now, Google+ has been the laughing stock of the social media world. But whether you choose to believe it or not, Google+ is becoming a key player in the social media game. And it’s not wasting any time, so neither should you. Back in 2012, the Google+ community was estimated at about 140 million. Now only two years later, Google+ is over 540 million strong. What does this mean for SEO? Google likes to show users the most relevant content possible. So what better way to do that then by using social data from Google+ to determine what you might like based on what your family, friends and followers like. Even Bing recently teamed up with Klout to display customized search results based on social activity.

Still not convinced? Here’s a great Moz article that delves into the correlation between Google +1’s and search engine rankings. The results of their study were very interesting and I would highly recommend giving it a quick read if you’re interested in learning more about how Google+ engagement metrics correlate with SEO.

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