Don’t Have a Google+ Page? It’s probably costing you thousands…
You might be tempted to ignore Google+ in favour or more well known social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. But do so at your peril. An incorrectly set up Google+ page, or worse still – none at all may be costing your business tens of thousands of dollars in missed leads and unearned income.
Investing even a small amount of time into getting your Google+ presence in order will reward you with a greatly improved visibility in search engines, especially when users are searching via mobile or localised search using google.com.au.
How does Google+ work?
Google+ is similar, while at the same time different to popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Users can set up personal profiles, while businesses have their own corporate pages representing brands or bricks and mortar businesses. Rather than “friending” or “liking” users add other users to circles based on their relationship, and +1 things that they are interested in. By utilising +1’s Google is able to create a type of social search, that is influenced by the actions of its users – +1’s indicate that the content on the page is of a higher quality than other pages on the internet.
Sure, Google+ has considerably less users, and they spend less time than say Facebook or Twitter, yet according to Forrester research, their engagement is almost as high as Facebook and twice as high as twitter. It’s because it works differently – according to Social Media Examiner, “Google+ is more of an interest-based network, whereas Facebook is the place where people connect with others they already know.”
How does Google+ improve your search rankings?
This should be obvious, but for many people it isn’t that clear. Google has always favoured the products it owns in search, and Google+ was designed specifically to influence search engine results using social networking. This means that Google+ can potentially rank your business or brand when ordinary search engine optimisation or even content marketing cannot.
The value of Google+ is even higher when localised search comes into play. Local search is set by default for mobiles that use GPS as well as users who are logged into their Google account using the google.com.au URL.
These search results are very different those that a user would get by searching with a desktop computer from the standard google.com URL. Instead the search results are influenced by your GPS location or IP address, giving you results that are are more relevant and localised to your area. These include localised domains, phone numbers and of course Google+ and Google maps results.
Google+ uptake in Australia has been relatively low compared to other social networks, resulting in it being ignored by many Australian businesses. This creates a massive opportunity for small and medium sized Australian business to target local customers and effectively compete with organisations with a much larger marketing budget in their niche – there simply isn’t as much competition out there compared to other social networks.
Google+ results carry far more information in their listings in Google+ such as address, phone number, ratings & reviews, product or venue photos and map information. The more +1s and engagement you have, the better it’s ranking will be in the “Local Carousel”. If you have a physical location you simply cannot afford not to use Google+ for your business. And if you don’t – it’s still worth the time and effort invested.
Ratings and reviews in competitive industries won’t show unless you have at least four legitimate customer reviews, while Digital Marketing Works suggest that “the quality and quantity of Google reviews are the single most important variable determining inclusion and ranking”. Which means – you’ll need to put some effort into attracting reviews on your page.
The Death of Google Google+ Authorship and Importance Publisher Markup
If you’ve done a search on Google over the last few years you’ll have noticed that many articles had a headshot image of the author besides their search engine result. This was supposed to increase the amount of clicks an article received, build your personal brand if you are in an industry that requires a depth of knowledge and legitimacy.
Google spent three years promoting Google Authorship before dumping it in August 2014. This was mainly due to the poor implementation of authorship in many websites, with incorrect code and tags being common place. There is much debate online whether there is any value in continuing to use Google+ authorship, whether it still shows up in personalised search and whether it is likely to make a comeback.
There are still some potential benefits to having Google Authorship, and if article writing and content generation is part of your online marketing strategy, it’s probably still worth having your Google+ profile connected to your blog articles if you’ve already set this up. Google has already shown a long term commitment to semantic search and authorship – and this idea isn’t likely to go away, though it’s unclear exactly what it might look like or who it might workin in the future.
With authorship gone, Publisher is now even more important and helps to connect your website to your Google+ Local page. This is used alongside website content and other Google services to show information when your brand name is searched for.
Depending on how you have your Publisher set up, searchers will show a wide variety of information, such as followers, recent posts, images and customer reviews. Failure to set this up correctly, add content or implement it at all can result in competitor information being shown instead. Don’t miss out on sales, set up Google+ Publisher now!
Don’t Have Enough Time For Google+? Let Content First Do It For You
Google+ is a powerful tool in increasing the amount of visitors and potential leads generated by your business. While it’s possible to manage it yourself, more often than not it causes confusion for small business owners and ends up neglected.
Don’t neglect your Google+ presence and miss out on thousands of potential leads through local search and improved rankings. Give us a call instead and discuss with us how we can tune up your social media presence the right way, combining your social media and website into a lead generation machine!