By this point, you’ve heard that having a Google Plus profile or page is of the utmost importance. Your email inbox might be crushed by thought leaders and social media marketers pressing the importance of claiming a Google Plus profile. Small businesses, entrepreneurs and the self-employed are still trying to wrangle their minds about a network that isn’t Facebook. SEOs are telling you how terrible your website is because you haven’t set up authorship (another ploy to get your business).
At every turn someone is telling you “it’s important to be on Google Plus,” but when asked, “Why is it important?” they’re speechless, scrambling for the answer.
“I don’t know, I just know it’s important,” is the most common answer I hear when I ask groups of people the similar question. Hopefully today’s blog post can give you another reason “why” Google Plus should be in your arsenal of social networks.
I’m not here to share with you how to set up your Google Authorship because adding to the string of countless “how to” posts seems counter-productive. I’m here to share with you that your Authorship is equally as important as your participation on Google Plus. The one thing you won’t hear from a “qualified” SEO or Social Media Marketer is that social interaction on Google Plus can be one of the direct contributors of traffic to your website. Smart SEOs and SMMs have taken hold of the notion of “participation”/”contribution” and poignantly drive this point home.
Top Search Results Through Google Authorship
Within the scope of your website and your Google Plus, statistics show that Google Authorship can increase the click-through-rate (CTR) to your website. Thus, when you consistently post to your blog, those articles are indexed within the SERP1 along with your profile picture from Google Plus. Per ongoing statistics, search results with those profile pictures tend to have a high click rate than those that haven’t set up Authorship.
Achieving a top spot on a search results page might be great when you’re getting a user to click on your article. However, if we are insistent on researching all about our topic, we go to extra lengths to find out whether this top search result is trustworthy–and all of that can be the result of the following capture:
First, in this screen capture I have searched out “ethical blogging Ileane”. As I was directed to the SERP, I paid close attention to the following:
1. Ileane has set up Google Authorship on her website based on her super duper profile picture next to her results for the blog.
2. This particular post has been time stamped with a date– meaning that her content is somewhat evergreen (and relevant)–at the time of my post.
3. Ileane has nearly 15k people who have circled her. The significance of her circle count can be a key contribution to her success as a Social Media Marketer. Allow me to explain, but first…
It is my belief that one of the most overlooked portions of this search engine result is the fact that the by-line (by Ileane Smith) and circle count (“in xyz Google+ circles) are clickable links. By clicking on the by-line, I can find a string of other search results where Ileane has connected her A.) other social media accounts on her Google Plus About page and B.) posts that she may have contributed to her blog or on someone else’s (as long as those websites have set their page up with authorship).
Secondly, when I click on Ileane’s “14,988 Google+ circles”, I can see that she has a beautiful Google Plus profile that has curated content regarding social media and whatever her interests are. Not only does she create the content herself, but she is resharing other people’s content to show that she is willing to distribute the knowledge to those who follow her. Additionally, you can see that people are actually interacting with her posts! This is clutch for someone like Ileane when it comes to eyes on her content–especially those who are jumping into the social media game for the first time.
Your Website Is Only As Good As The Content It Provides
Although Ileane’s fifteen-thousand followers may not be about social media, she certainly positions herself on any given SERP to be a trusted authority in her field. This is done through:
A.) Google Authorship of her website.
B.) Consistent and evergreen content posted to her website paired with keyword research.
C.) Promotion of her website through her social media channels like Twitter and Facebook.
D.) Her equal and conscious effort to index each one of her Google Plus updates as she is aware those posts are indexed like any other web page.
So the question that continues to rattle around in my head goes like this:
“Why WOULDN’T YOU WANT to be participating on Google Plus if the search results page is providing information that builds your trust and authority?”
The Audience is on Facebook and Twitter…AND Google Plus
Sure, Facebook and Twitter are where the conversations happen, but they don’t contribute much more than a possible link click.2 The value you gain from Facebook is the social interaction along with some great tools! However, Facebook doesn’t have:
A.) Any ability to claim authorship since it’s not a search engine.3 Although Graph Search is tied to Bing, there isn’t really a connection of authority provided through Bing’s search results page. Graph Search’s function will be a useful marketing tool when it comes to ad targeting.
B.) Individual posts inside of Facebook don’t gain traffic other than what is being seen on Facebook. Again, Facebook is a great resource when it comes to communicating with your friends, but if your conversation requires you to search something, you look for the best search result inside of Google. YOUR web page.
If you haven’t been pounding the pavement to promote your website, Facebook and Twitter don’t do you any good other than being another page in a wasteland of useless pages. By no means am I telling you that dumping these social networks should be part of your plan, but incorporating the three major networks4 is a must. Especially Google Plus.
Generally, here’s how you can remember why you’re using each social network:
Twitter is where you break the news and see news being broken.
Facebook is where the people are and where you have the conversations.
Google Plus is where you break the news, have the conversation, and extend the conversation through search queries.
In turn, your participation on Google Plus is like a delicious burrito filled with the best of each social network. When you add the secret hot sauce of Google Authorship, a user’s search result will start to push your content to the top of the SERP in addition to all the fancy bells and whistles I discussed earlier.
The small business or entrepreneur should know that claiming Google Authorship is key to their website and their business. Without it, your content is only average at best when someone searches out specific keywords. Adding the benefit of curated content through a Google Plus profile/page can only help your cause when it comes to building any type of authority inside of a Google search result. Making the connections inside of Google Plus can aide in your authority based on what is seen on the SERP.
In short, claim your Google Authorship, keep your blog and Google Plus profile/page content evergreen, and participate without hesitation. <-Tweet this!