Today, more and more businesses that want to expand their online presence are embracing Google+. But what steps should you take to leverage G+ for more online exposure, internet traffic and sales?
First off, an important thing to understand about Google+ is that it isn’t just another social network. Pretty much any Google service you take nowadays (YouTube, Gmail, Picasa) incorporates Google+ at least to some extent.
So, Google+ is more like social fabric woven into all other Google’s properties, which ultimately gives all those venues a social aspect. What this means is that, what you do on Google+ now has the potential to echo across all other Google products – and you’d probably want to know how to use it to your advantage.
So, in this post, I’d like to discuss the mechanisms of how the things you do on Google+ can help you get more visibility in other Google services, thus increasing online exposure of your business in general.
1. Use G+ as a stepping stone to YouTube
One of the ways to increase online visibility with Google+ is to post video content to it. Thing is, every video you share with your Google+ followers also makes its way into their YouTube feed.
Google began adding G+ elements into YouTube a while ago, although pretty gradually. These days one gets updates about videos posted by their Google+ contacts right in YouTube, even when one’s G+ and YouTube accounts are not linked!
Mine aren’t. Well, the “Connected as” may tell you a different story, but actually I’m just connected to those people as Alesia Krush on Google+ (not on YouTube).
2. Tap into Google+ to dominate Local Search
If you have a business that has local significance, you simply must own a Google+ profile, and here is why: in May, 2012, Google turned all Google Places listings into Google+ Local listings pretty much overnight. These now appear as Google+ pages that can be rated, commented on, uploaded images to and shared via Google+.
Besides, Google may be collecting information about your business without you knowing about it (by means of Street View, Zagat, local directories, etc.). So, make sure that the random data Google may have compiled presents your business in a favorable light.
So, to rank higher in local search, encourage people to follow you on Google+, leave reviews and upload photos or your business, either through loyalty programs, competitions (best food photographer contest, for instance) or by other means.
3. Use G+ to appear in people’s Web search results
Another Google service that’s deeply integrated with Google+ is “Search plus Your World,” which was rolled out about half a year after Google+. The essence of this feature is that you may see pages posted, shared or +1’d by their Google contacts right in Web search.
The “your world” results are mostly taken from Google+ and YouTube, but you can also connect your your Twitter, Facebook and other profiles to your G+ (by going to Settings -> Account -> Manage connected accounts), which may result in people seeing your updates from those other networks in their search results, too.
So, the more Google+ and YouTube contacts you make among your target audience, the more people are likely to notice your business in Web search thanks to Search plus Your World.
4. G+ helps you rank higher in Google Discussions
Google Discussions is a section of Google search that provides results from blogs, forums and Q&A sites. A good way to get extra exposure there is by taking part in Google Groups.
Curiously enough, Google Groups were redesigned just a month after Google+ came out, which led to the content from Google Groups ranking high in Google Discussions ever since:
Now, the deal with Google Groups is that you need to use your Google profile to participate. If people find your post useful, they can give it a +1, which may lead to your posts showing up higher in Google Discussions. And then, if people like your posts or your group in general, they may follow you on G+.
So, create a nice-looking Google+ profile to get more exposure on Google Groups, which, in its turn, will boost your visibility in Google Discussions.
5. Be part of the Knowledge Graph
The purpose of Google’s Knowledge Graph is to provide immediate answers to your questions (it’s been dubbed “Google’s Wikipedia” by some). For instance, if you don’t know what Empire State Building is, Google will show you a picture of it plus some reference info right in the search results.
But how do you make your company’s information appear on the Knowledge Graph? Well, one of the ways to do it is by having an info-rich, popular G+ account (Google uses Google+ data among other things in Knowledge Graph results). Besides, if you’re a local business, having a nice Google+ Local profile may also secure you’re the hot spot on the Knowledge Graph.
6. Get more exposure by verifying authorship with G+
Google authorship is about Google attributing certain Web content to an author based on the content being linked to the author’s Google+ profile. And, being a verified Google author has a number of advantages.
First of all, your headshot and your name may be displayed in Web search, right next to the content you authored, which definitely inspires clicks. Second, rumor has it that, in the future, Google may rank content by popular authors higher – a possible change that was in a way confirmed by Eric Schmidt who recently shared an excerpt from his upcoming book with The Wall Street Journal:
“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification”
7. Get more clicks on your paid ads with G+
Now that Google can easily piece together the information about your business spread out across different accounts, the stuff you do on Google+ may even affect how your ad performs in Google AdWords.
Signed-in users can plus-one Google ads. Besides, when the snippet from your Google+ profile is displayed along with your ad, this encourages clicks. Alan Osetek, President of Resolution Media, says that, for his customers, “in the majority of cases, lift in click-through rates ranged from 2% to 15%”.
So, even though not many people might plus-one your ad before they actually click on it, a decent Google+ following flashed along with your ad is likely to entice clicks.
Google+ marketing tools
Of course there are tools that help one manage different Google+ related activities more effectively. For example, Google Alerts can be used to track brand mentions on Google+. To set this up, use
Instead of just [keyword]
Besides, in Google Webmaster Tools, you can check what web content Google attributes to you as the author. Simply go to Labs -> Author stats.
And, if you’d like a more efficient way to connect with just the right people on Google+, you could try Link-Assistant.Com’s BuzzBundle for Google+ business page promotion.
As you see, there many ways Google+ can be used by business owners to boost their brand’s online exposure. And perhaps the main reason marketers are so eager to embrace Google+ is not because it’s a social network, but because it branches out into so many other Google’s properties that it’d be silly not to grab this chance.
Do you know another way Google+ can be used to promote a biz? Let everyone know in comments!
About the Author: Alesia Krush is a blogger and a Web marketer at Link-Assistant.Com, home to the industry’s best SEO and SMM tools. The software developer’s most recent initiative has been the release of the revolutionary BuzzBundle SMM tool that lets one easily manage their brand’s reputation and wage viral campaigns in social networks, blogs, forums, Q&A sites and other Web 2.0 properties.
Image credit: PhotKing via Flickr.com