Do you have a Google Plus page? But you have no clue, how to find it, how to use it and why you should even bother with it? Because you absolutely need to!
- Are you a business owner who wants to drive traffic to the website?
- Or a freelance blogger and you want to promote your blog?
- Or are you a content creator working for a company but you wish to create your own portfolio and authorship across the web so if you decide to move on, your past writing success stays with you?
If you are any of those, you should care about Google+! Simply because Google does. Why?
The Internet Is Crowded with Millions of Websites
But there is only a few spots on Google's first page!
To understand how to get there, you need to understand how Google works - don't worry not in detail because no one but Google really know that!
Google indexes websites on the internet by crawling them, reading its content, following links and figuring out if this page creates any unique value to people search for the content provided here. It takes hundreds of factors into account, but the big ones are quality and quantity of content, backlinks, social signals. But what it comes down to is this: If you are popular with your real-life people, you are popular with Google.
Almost every business has a website now, and not everyone can rank on the first search engine results page - only the ones who provide the most value to Google get there. In order to get ranked higher, people tried to game the algorithm: they bought hundreds of thousands of low quality backlinks in link farms, created tones of websites with shallow, unusable content stuffed with keywords and so on.
That is where the Google Panda Update came it: within hours of its release, cheap link-building, content-farm model websites plummeted and huge sites were basically wiped out of search engine existence. Google Penguin took care of link-farming.
Content Marketing is The Way To Go
The only way to rank higher long-term is to invest in a well laid-out content strategy and content marketing. And B2B as well as B2C marketers understand the necessity to invest in content marketing. According to a Content Marketing Institute survey,
- 90% of B2C marketers are using content marketing, compared with 86% last year.
- 34% of B2C marketers consider themselves effective at content marketing—up from 32% last year.
But don't worry if you are a small business owner: You have an enormous amount of expertise and sometimes all it takes are a well-written blog post every week is all you need. But if you do not have enough time or the skill set to produce the content, many content marketing experts can help. But if you write your blog posts yourself or you are a content marketing expert, you need to include Google+ in your content marketing strategy.
Why Google+ Is A Huge Driver For Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Moz, one of the greatest resources to learn more about SEO, reckons after extensive studies, that Page Authority and Google+ influence search traffic significantly. To understand this, we need to look at the development of the Google search algorithm. Google's main challenge is to separate the cream of the crop with so many website that are technically optimized for SEO and have great content.
That is where Page Rank, Page Authorship, Author Rank, Page Authority and Google+ come in. All those tools help real-life experts to establish themselves as an authority and what they say (or write) will be given preference over something a non-expert said.
Google Author Rank
Google Author Rank was filed as a patent in 2005 (called Agent Rank) by Google and provides authors to embed a digital signature in the content they wrote. The author can accumulate reputation scores based on the reaction of the public to their content, e.g., by sharing it, +1 it, commenting and linking to it. You can check your author rank here.
Google Authorship allows you to link content and relate it to your Author Rank and Google+ Page. But the main motivation, why you should sign up is that posts with Google Authorship have 150% more click through rate! Even if there are 3 other results ranking higher than you, people are more likely to click on your post because it has a by-line and a photo which creates trust!
You can sing up here for Google Authorship directly or if your website is based on the Genesis Framework, you can just simply add your Google+ page in your user account. Brian Clark wrote a great 3 step guide on how to do this. Then go back to your Google+ page and add all websites that you wrote for. Test and wait for your picture to show up next to your blog posts.
Let's get one thing straight before we start: Google+ is not Google's attempt to recreate Facebook. It is much more than that. It creates a social layer that connects all Google applications and in essence turns Google products into Google+ features. It also serves as an identity platform for Author Rank.
Google will take into account (among other things) the number of followers you have, the amount to re-shares, +1's you get and your activity on Google+ to determine authority as an expert in a certain domain and therefor rank your content higher or lower.