Is Google+ Important for Your Business?

Google’s top spam fighter Matt Cutts recently released a video answering the question, “What social signals matter for your business?” Surprisingly, according to Cutts, Google doesn’t currently measure Facebook or Twitter shares or followers in its algorithm. While this could change, it underscores an important point: Google+ is the major social network that the search engine giant uses to extract social signals from.

Since Google launched the social platform in 2011, there’s been significant speculation about its relevancy for business and SEO. From a user perspective, there’s no question that the platform has become a powerhouse among networks. Google+ has grown to over 540 million active users. While it’s no Facebook yet, it’s gaining on the social networking giant with one billion total users. But the question remains: Is an active presence on Google+ important for your business? Here’s a closer look at how Google + can help you achieve your business and visibility goals.

Getting started

Establishing your business’ presence on Google+ is the first step to taking advantage of the network’s reach. The process is simple. Visit Google’s Google+ for business page, and select the “Get Your Page” button

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You’ll be prompted to pick a category that’s right to describe your business.

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You’ll then be asked to select the appropriate subcategory that describes your business.

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The next screen will request that you provide some basic information.

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The information will include:

  •       Choosing a name for your page.
  •       Linking to your external website.
  •       Indicating if your page is appropriate for anyone, for users 18+, for 21+, or is alcohol related.
  •       Agreeing to the terms of service.
  •       When you’re done, click continue. Note that your professional page won’t connect to your personal information unless you choose to do so later.

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You’ll then be able to customize your profile, with information such as:

  •         Adding a photograph.
  •        Adding a cover photo.
  •        Including your contact information.
  •       Confirming that you own your website.
  •        Connecting with people in your network.
  •        Adding updates.

And more. This basic tutorial will get you started enough to take advantage of the benefits that are offered by Google+. On the other hand, if you have a reputable SEO firm working with you, they should be able to prepare your Google+ page with you. The benefits of engaging in Google+ include:

Broadening Your Reach
With over 540 million active users, it’s clear that some of your customers are on Google+. Whether you’re a local business owner who wants to connect with potential customers or an entrepreneur interested in reaching a global audience, an active presence on Google+ can help you broaden your reach.

If you’re at a loss on how to get started, create your page and take a look at the data you’ve already collected for your customers. Your existing email list for your business can be paired with Google+’s email search feature to connect with your existing customers. The next step is creating an active presence. Updating your page regularly is important, with high value content to appeal to your customers. You can also create an experience that’s only available to Google+ users by taking advantage of some of the robust features the platform offers. For example, you can host Q&As on Hangouts or create your own community and connect with other groups.

Building Your Reputation As an Influencer
According to a recent report in Search Engine Journal, over 70% of businesses now have a presence on Google+ Not only does this represent a tremendous opportunity for B2B companies, it also means you can easily connect with influencers in your space to build your business’ reputation. Create a list of individuals and brands in your industry that you admire and start following their updates on Google+. Comment on their posts, get involved with their communities and hangouts, and +1 valuable blog posts and websites that they share. Building connections with influencers can help improve your business’ reputation in your industry, and in turn these individuals will begin to support your efforts.

Search Engine Optimization
It’s increasingly apparent that an active presence on Google+ is an integral part of any strong SEO strategy. Google’s major goal is to improve their user experience by providing the most relevant search results when a particular query is entered. Each time a Google+ user “+1s” something, it sends a message to the search giant that that piece of information is relevant and important to the person. This increases the likelihood that related information will rank higher when that particular user searches for related keywords. On a larger scale, content that receives significant +1 ratings are seen to have been vetted by human beings and marked as valuable. That is likely to affect general, as well as personalized, search results.

From an SEO perspective, Google+ may also be useful for increasing your business website’s page rank. Unlike some of the other major social networks, all links added to Google+ pages are tagged as do-follow. There are two major benefits to linking up here. Not only does adding links to your Google+ page help you increase relevant traffic to your website, it may also help to improve your site’s page rank over time.

If you aren’t already using Google+ for your business, it’s time to take the plunge. Whether your goal is to reach new customers, improve your reputation among others in your industry, or build your SEO strategy, an active presence on Google+ can help. Claim your page and start building your presence today. You won’t regret it!

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