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Google+

Google Plus Graveyard

With over 500 million users, Google Plus is one of the world’s biggest social networks. That makes sense, given that Google has thrown everything it has into making the network a success.

A survey last year found the 30% of smartphone users log into Google Plus at least once per month.

Yet not everything is rosy. Stats show the network has yet to capture the popular imagination. Just 3% of social sharing takes place on Google Plus. That compares to 41% for Facebook, 30% for Twitter, and 20% for Pinterest.

As one blogger put it:

No real people in the real world are using Google+.

But is this overstating the case against Google? Is Google Plus really a social graveyard?

To us, it’s clear that Google Plus ain’t no graveyard. If your business isn’t yet using Google Plus, we recommend you sign up today.

Here are seven reasons why.

1. Google Owns the Playing Field

The main reason Google Plus isn’t a graveyard is because for most people, Google is the Internet. Whenever you want to find something online, you head to Google.

Google is also the world’s largest email provider with Gmail.

Google has used its clout to sign up half-a-billion users.

As Guy Kawasaki explains:

Google can do more than merely tilt the playing field, because it owns the playing field. For example, Google integrated Google+ into search results, and Samsung phones and tablets come with the Google+ application pre-installed… Gmail account holders automatically have a Google+ account… Google owns one of the biggest rivers of Internet traffic (search), and it can divert people to Google+ anytime it wants. For example, when Google put an arrow on its search page pointing to the button to click to join Google+, hundreds of thousands of people joined.

2. Google Plus Is an Essential SEO Tool

Google uses information from Google Plus to influence search results. So if your content is getting shared and +1′d on Google Plus, it gets a ranking boost in search.

The impact of this is huge. A study by SEO specialists Moz.com found that:

After Page Authority, a URL’s number of Google +1s is more highly correlated with search rankings than any other factor. In fact, the correlation of Google +1s beat out other well -known metrics, including linking root domains, Facebook shares, and even keyword usage.

This fact alone is reason enough to start using Google Plus right away.

(Want more proof? Design blogger Lynne Knowlton saw a 40% jump in her blog traffic after using Google Plus for just one month).

3. Google Hangouts

With Google Hangouts, high quality video conferencing is available to anyone for free.

You can us Hangouts to:

  • Meet with clients, suppliers, or business partners.
  • Create videos tutorials.
  • Spend time with your customers.
  • Create a video podcast.
  • Interview experts in your field.

And pretty much anything else you can think of using video for.

Another nice feature of Hangouts is that they live up to their name. You can use them just to simply hangout. Martin Shervington explains:

Hangouts are like a party on the porch front. You are walking by and see people are chatting away on the porch and decide to pop in and say ‘hi’.

4. Meet New Folks in Communities

While sharing on the main network of Google Plus is a little slow, Communities are thriving hubs of activity and discussion. They’re fantastic for networking and meeting new people in your niche.

Google Plus power user Andrij Harasewych writes that:

Google+ Communities are perhaps one of the best components of Google+. Yes, they may get some flak for lacking features that have been around since the first message boards, but considering the benefit, the education, the entertainment, the inspiration, and the all around satisfaction I get from my daily Google+ Community activity, I wouldn’t trade it for any other platform.

Or as Lynne Knowlton puts it:

The peeps at the G+ party are super cool. They talk about things that you love. They have similar interests. They listen. They tell their friends about you.

5. Find Influencers Fast with Ripples

Ripples are a super simple way of finding influencers in your niche. To see what I mean, it’s best to check them out for yourself. They look like this:

Google Ripples Screenshot copy

We’ve got our very own guide to finding influencers using Ripples here.

Ripples are also great for analyzing the types of content that gets shared the most. When you know what generates buzz, you can create it for yourself.

6. Shine a Spotlight on Your Local Business

If you run a local business, then Google Plus can give a massive boost to your search rankings.

Did you know that nearly a quarter of searches are local?

You’ve probably done a local search yourself on Google and seen the results show up on a map. If you want your business to show up on that map, you need a Google Plus page.

7. It’s the Dream Social Network

If the world’s greatest minds got together to design a social network, they’d probably end up with Google Plus.

Google has put a ton of thought and resources into making Plus the best network around – even if you exclude the Hangouts feature.

Professional blogger Elaina Newton explains what’s so special about Google’s network:

It’s an amalgamation of both Facebook and Twitter’s best qualities, plus new features exclusive to Google. Imagine a new social network that favors visual media, but also encourages lengthy posts that inform readers and facilitate conversations. A stream that updates constantly, is searchable by keyword, shows you trending topics and has no character limits. A network with a strong sense of community and high level of interactivity. A place where content creators, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts, ranging from professionals to amateurs, can connect, share information and build communities based on common interests.

What’s Your Take?

That’s why we love Google Plus in a nutshell.

What’s your take? Do you love Google Plus? Will it overtake Facebook one day? Or is it doomed to failure?

Google Plus Expert Tips

Google Plus has a geeky reputation for good reason: it’s the smart person’s social network. So if you want to get smarter faster, then get onto Google Plus.

Smarter means:

  • Discovering and collating the best information
  • Meeting and connecting with the best people
  • Getting attention for your business and brand

We’ve dug deep and probed the cavities of the Interwebs to bring you these tips – and they’re not your run-of-the-mill fare.

Enjoy! And if you find any of the tips helpful, drop the author of the tip a line to let him or her know.

1. Use Empty Circles as a Bookmarking Tool

As Google+ currently has no way of bookmarking content (+1-ing a post does diddly-squat, other than giving the poster a thumbs up), Plussers have devised workarounds.

You can create empty circles to “share” under different headings. Create a notepad. Make “bookmarks” for links you want to check out when you have more time, “read later” for longer posts and articles, and even “test” if, like us, you want to muck around on the service without annoying your followers.

Once you’ve set this up and shared content to your various empty circles, viewing that circle’s stream will bring up all the Plus bits you wanted to save.

Amy-Mae Elliott, Google+ Tips & Tricks: 10 Hints for New Users

2. Make the Most of Your About Page

The About page is a fantastic opportunity to give a quick overview of your business.

You can also link back to specific pages and services from this page, directing potential customers to the most important pages on your website.

It’s important to have a balance of marketing-savvy copy that’s also SEO-friendly. So make sure to include information that searchers will want to know about your company.

Jason Miller, 5 Tips for Using Google+ to Boost Your Marketing

3. Create Microcircles to Target Prospects and Influencers

To get the most out of Google+, concentrate on creating circles on a micro level. Work on a business-by-business basis, adding names to client businesses and brands, each of which has its own circle. You can also add names to “influencer” circles, which will help you connect with the people in your field you want to meet online.

Segmentation and attention are often vital when you’re shooting for repeat business. Google+ has handed you a way to do this neatly and efficiently, without having to use multiple platforms or media.

Carla Dewing and Cindy King, 12 Google+ Marketing Tips From the Pros

4. Join a Community and Get Networking!

Google+ Communities provide an amazing way to expand your reach and networking online.

Communities are groups online – kind of like really modern, interactive forums. For a business, you can also think of them like a huge marketplace where you can branch out and network with customers. Communities may not give you the same personal interaction as a trade show, but they’re a lot easier and less expensive to get to.

There are tons of Google+ Communities, and you are sure to find ones that cater to your business needs.

Krista Bunskoek, How to use Google+ to Promote your Blog

5. Share Sizzling Images

Consistent with other social networks, the importance of relevant, compelling content can’t be overlooked. Prioritizing highly visual content such as images, videos, and infographics is a winning strategy to stimulate engagement and promote shareability.

Megan Conley, How to Grow Your Google+ Engagement

6. Get onto the First Page of Google Results

Do us a favor: head to Google and type “coffee shops + [your city/town name]” into the search box. Notice something?

The coffee shops you see featured at the top of the search results all have Google Local pages. Local allows businesses to be featured higher in search results, while also providing a much more engaging search experience. Local listings also are designed to integrate smoothly with your Google+ Business Page, but you do still need to sign up for the service.

Jessica Edmondson, A Guide to Optimizing Your Brand’s Google+ Page

7. Write Your G+ Updates Like Stephen King

[On Google+] you only see three lines of the original post before you see the “Read More” link. In other words, your first sentence has to be a gripping teaser to get people to click “Read More.”

Stephen King is said to agonize weeks, sometimes months, over the opening. You don’t have to do that, but it demonstrates the importance of the opening.

A good opening will get your post read. A bad opening will get your post ignored.

Demian Farnworth, The Art of Writing Great Google+ Posts

8. Set Up Authorship

If you are trying to build authority in your industry, one way to do it is by building Google+ Authorship.

What are the benefits of building your Google+ Authorship? First, you get your photo next to your content in search results, which can help boost the click-through rate. You can see how readers easily could use authorship to judge the authority of the content.

Also, people can click the “by” link to discover more content by you on any site you contribute to in search results.

Kristi Hines, The 2013 Google+ Marketing Guide

9. Get +1′s to Boost Your SEO

Studies show a powerful correlation between search rankings and the number of Google +1′s received by a URL. Searchmetrics found Google +1′s to be the most highly correlated factor to search result rankings, and Moz’s 2013 scientific correlation study placed Page Authority just above +1′s at the top of all correlation factors.

It’s probably not a surprise that activity on Google’s social network influences Google search results, but the degree of correlation is astonishingly high. While there’s a clear divide between correlation and causation, it’s clear that Google+ is not simply a social network.

Gray MacKenzie, How To Hack Google Plus For SEO Value

10. Shape Up Your G+ Hovercard

By now, if you’ve spent any time on social media, you will be familiar with hovercards, those “mini business cards” that pop up when you hover over someone’s name.

Since your hovercard travels with you everywhere you post, a well-tuned combination of text and graphics will do wonders for your networking across a social channel.

Think about it: this is an incredible opportunity to make an impression on people, and one that goes beyond the social network itself.– the personal branding mother lode!

Stephan Hovnanian, Google Plus Hovercard: the ultimate personal branding tool

Image credit: AHMAD FAIZAL YAHYA.

Google Plus Influencers

Have you ever thought: “Wouldn’t it be great to get to know [insert name of person you admire here]?”

You’ve thought about sending them a message, but you’re not sure what you would say. Is there anything you could do instead?

Remember Facebook’s “poke” feature. If you wanted a friend’s attention but didn’t want to go through the trouble of writing a message (or didn’t have anything to say), you could poke them.

It’s a feature that still exists on Facebook, but few of my friends use it these days.

Well, what if you could poke the people you admire? You could attract the attention of influencers and leaders in your niche without needing any commitment in return from them.

You’re making them familiar with your name. Then, when you need their help in the future, they will already know who you are.

Sneaky, huh?

I don’t actually recommend poking people on Google Plus. But you can get attention in subtle ways.

Here’s are our top five:

  1. Tag them in a post. Anytime you share something from their blog or even something you think might interest them, tag them. It takes a couple of seconds, and if you do it repeatedly, it can reap huge dividends.
  2. Comment on their posts. This takes a little more effort than tagging. It’s an excellent way to show that you can add value. Another (sneaky) trick is to comment on posts they’ve left comments on.
  3. Add them to one of your circles. When you do, Google will drop them an email, and they’ll be given the chance to add you back. If they do, bingo!
  4. Tag them in a photo. Only do this if the photo is relevant to them. Alternatively, you can comment on one of their photos.
  5. Invite them to an event. Again, this tactic works best if the event is relevant to them. You never know, they might just turn up!

Now don’t just sit there – go do one of these things right away!

Or you can leave us a comment. Let us know what you do to stand out from the crowd on Google Plus.