Google’s social layer on search – Google +
It’s easy to assume that Google Plus is just another social network, but this assumption barely scratches the surface of the real influence this social juggernaut is having on your entire internet experience.
You may have noticed the gradual changes being implemented across Google’s services. If you have a Gmail account; you have Google Plus. Your profile is lying dormant, waiting for you to update your profile with your smiling face and darkest secrets.
Without being over dramatic, it’s true, Google is pushing you towards Plus. Drive, shopping, and wallet all require you to log in, and YouTube and Maps only provide limited capabilities if you’re not signed in.
Vic Gundotra, Google’s Senior Vice President describes Google Plus as a social layer to its products, ingraining the social network within the Google experience.
+Martin Shervinton does a great job explaining the social layer in this video:
How does this Affect you from a Business Perspective?
To put it simply Google Plus is Google. Everything that is shared publicly has the potential of ending up in the SERPS. The more people who circle you, the more influence you have, much in the same way as pagerank for your website.
As each individual post on Google Plus has its own URL, your profile and public posts have the ability to gain page rank, through metrics such as shares and +1’s, which can ultimately influence personal search results for users who have circled you and results for certain keywords.
Google Plus for Business
With that in mind, having a highly relevant network supporting your business page or profile through circling, shares and +1’s can make a huge difference to the influence you have over the SERPS and the amount of qualified traffic your business receives.
But how does Google know the content on my website is related to my Google Plus profile? I’m glad you asked..
Rel=Author and Rel=Publisher
There is a variety of methods to channel juice from external links and other social networks to your Google Plus profile. they come in the form of citations, reviews, tags, mentions, and shares to name a few. But probably the most valuable, is the implementation of authorship and publisher mark-up.
What is Authorship?
Authorship is a verified two-way connection between your Google Plus profile and your content anywhere else on the web. By making this connection, your posts are eligible to be displayed in rich snippet format with your face beside your content which helps improve click through rate.
Searchers are also given the ability to discover more of your content by clicking the by link which shows posts from any site you contribute to. Furthermore, you can track your author stats through Webmaster tools to analyse impressions, clicks and your average position in searches; valuable data when trying to build an audience. setup your connection here.
What is Publisher Markup?
The publisher markup creates a verified connection in the same way as authorship, but for a brand. The rel=publisher link is for your whole site, and typically should be placed in the header of your homepage. Rel=publisher allows you to aggregate your +1 count from your brand page, followers, +1’s on your website, and the total number of members of any communities you manage. There’s also the possibility to get a knowledge panel in results when branded searches are used.
Building your Social Following
Sharing is the essence of social. Therefore delivering unique content that is relatable and engaging to your desired audience is going to be more likely to attract shares, subsequently improving your page rank and increasing your influence. Being noticeably active also plays a big part. Participate in Google+ communities, engage with key influencers and facilitate discussion throughout your circles. Developing an interesting and organised strategy is imperative to the success of your Google Plus page. Creating an educational, entertaining, and engaging voice for your brand should be the central focus of your content development.
As the lines between Google and Google plus become increasingly blurred, staying on top of the social aspect of your SEO strategy will play a vital role in keeping you ahead of your competitors. If you have any questions or queries, or need some advice on developing your content strategy, feel free to leave a comment below or give us a call.
Thanks for reading!