Google Plus for business?
Ain’t nobody got time for that!
I know that’s what you’re thinking, because for a long time that’s what I was thinking.
“No one is on Google Plus! No one updates their pages!
There’s no reason for me to be on there!”
Those were all the things I told myself.
If you’re not currently using Google Plus that’s probably what is holding you back as well.
Well something incredible happened to me recently.
I’ve become a believer in using Google Plus for business.
I see the value in it and I think it’s very important for more businesses to use it. That’s why I’m writing this post.
Google Plus has some very powerful benefits that the other social networks don’t offer. The best part is that it doesn’t require nearly the time commitment of networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Of course, the more you put into it the more you get out of it, but you can still get plenty out of it without sacrificing a ton of your time.
In this post I’m going to explain exactly what turned me from being a Google Plus naysayer into a believer.
Then I’m going to show you three extremely important ways you can benefit from using Google Plus for business.
How I Went From A Google Plus Naysayer To A Believer
Like many others I rushed to join Google Plus shortly after it was introduced. I was ready to experience everything it had to offer, but unfortunately there wasn’t much.
There were many impressive features at launch, and the network grew to millions of members in no time, but the problem was no one was posting anything.
Another problem was that it wasn’t friends and family who were joining Google Plus. It was social media pros, marketers and tech enthusiasts.
The people who grew large followings on Google Plus were people who already had huge social media followings to begin with. If you were just a regular user it was hard to get even a few dozen people to circle you.
Before long it felt like a ghost town and I wrote off the network as anything that was worth investing my time in.
Then Google Plus rolled out a few new updates to get people interacting more.
Google phased out Google Places and introduced Google Plus Local Pages to get people engaging at a local level.
Google Plus Authorship was introduced, which added added your G+ profile picture next to your articles in search results. It has become a lot more important than that though.
More on these two things later. They were great additions, and made me give Google Plus a second look, but they’re not what reeled me back in.
It wasn’t until the addition of Goole Plus Communities that I started getting real value out of this network.
My website traffic went way up, my articles were getting +1′d more than ever before, and most importantly I was finally growing my Google Plus network by connecting with hundreds of engaged users.
I’ll go into detail about how I did this and explain how you can reap the same benefits for your business and website in the next sections.
What Google Plus Can And Can Not Do For Your Business
Before I tell you about what Google Plus can do for your business, let me tell you a little bit about what it can not do.
I don’t want you to set your expectations too high or feel like you’ve been mislead in any way.
What G+ Can Not Do:
- It is still not the most ideal network for direct communication with customers.
- It is not the most ideal network for connecting with local customers.
- It is not a network where you can advertise.
- It is not a network where you can blast sales messages to people (no social network is good for that).
What G+ CAN Do:
- It can boost your website traffic.
- It can improve your search engine ranking.
- It can build authority for your brand.
- It can improve the visibility and distribution of your content.
- It can connect you with other engaged professionals and influencers in your field.
If these benefits sound appealing to you, keep reading to learn how you can achieve them!
The 3 Things You Need To Do To Grow Your Business With Google Plus
These are the most important things you need to do to grow your business, establish authority in search engines, and gain a ton of traffic with Google Plus.
These are all relatively easy to do and I promise they won’t take up much of your time.
#1. GET A GOOGLE PLUS LOCAL PAGE FOR YOUR BUSINESS
To get your business page on Google Maps you used to have to register your business with Google Places.
Well, they’ve phased that out and now it’s all about Google Plus Local Pages.
Not only is it integrated with Google Maps, but it’s integrated directly within the search engine results pages (SERPS).
Here’s what it looks like:
Science North is the biggest tourist attraction in my city (Sudbury, Ontario). This is what you get on the right side of the page when you search for it in Google.
Since they have a Google Plus Local Page you get all this information about them on the first page of search results.
You get pictures, directions, hours of operation and reviews all in one place.
This immediately grabs attention, establishes authority and pre-sells the customer before they click on the website.
Or they can click on the Google Plus page to read the reviews from other customers.
That might be even more important since customer reviews have been shown to be the most influential factor in how a customer feels about a business and ultimately whether or not they will make a purchase.
Once they’re on the Google Plus page they can also check-in and leave a review of their own after their visit.
The more check-ins and reviews you can accumulate on your G+ page the more influential it will be to other visitors.
The next thing on this list has a lot to do with SEO, authority and influence as well.
#2. SET UP GOOGLE PLUS AUTHORSHIP ON YOUR WEBSITE
If you create your own content and publish it on your website you absolutely need to care about Google Plus Authorship.
Authorship creates a connection between the content published on your website and your Google Plus profile.
When something you’ve published shows up in search results it will have your name and photo attached to it.
That’s what one of my blog posts looks like in a Google search.
Since I have a Google Plus profile with authorship set up on my site, Google recognizes who wrote the content and attaches my name and photo to it.
See how much that stands out compared to other results that are just plain text?
Your name, photo and how many Google Plus circles you belong to helps establish authority and credibility when people find your content in the search results.
A link like this is way more likely to get clicked on.
Not only that, Google Authorship also enhances search engine optimization (SEO) with Google Author Rank.
This means if you have a history of writing content that other people like it will show up higher in search results.
How does Google determine whether or not people like your content?
This is determined by several factors. First you need to link your Google Plus profile to the content you create.
Then your Author Rank is determined by how socially engaged other Google Plus users are with your content.
This is determined by how many +1′s, shares and comments your links get from other users.
The more you build up your Author Rank the more your content will be prioritized by Google in search results.
How do you build up your Author Rank and ultimately drive more traffic to your website?
That will be covered in the next point.
#3. START ENGAGING WITH GOOGLE PLUS COMMUNITIES
If you’re caught up with the first two points so far, this is where you’ll start seeing the full power of Google Plus.
Remember, Communities are what turned me into a believer.
At first I started engaging with communities because they were a place to chat with cool people about subjects I was interested in.
Then I found out that sharing my own useful content with the community drove a ton of traffic to my blog and built up my Author Rank with +1′s and shares.
Here’s an example of something I shared on a Google Plus community recently:
That post got me 19 +1′s, 5 shares and 10 comments. Google absolutely loves those kinds of social signals.
Not to mention all the traffic I got from it, and continue to get because it shows up well in search results.
As you can tell from some of the comments, people enjoyed my post because it was useful to them.
That’s the key. The content you share has to provide value to the community. Even better if the content you share sparks a conversation.
You can’t just drop a link and leave. That’s link spam and most communities will delete a post like that.
Here are some more best practices for engaging with Google Plus Communities:
- Read the community guidelines. Every community has their own set of rules.
- Contribute to the community beyond just sharing your own links. Engage in conversations, +1 other peoples’ content and so on.
- Share useful content. Content that is too self-promotional or something that leads to a sales page will almost always get deleted.
- Get to know the community before sharing your own links. If your first post is a link to your website it’s pretty obvious what your intentions are.
It’s called a community for a reason, don’t join a community for purely selfish reasons. A Google Plus community can be very beneficial to you and your website, but you have to give something back in return.
Here’s everything else you need to know about G+ communities, and where you can go to browse all active communities to find one that’s relevant to your business.
Wrapping It Up
As you can see from this post, using Google Plus for business can benefit you in ways that other networks can’t. It doesn’t require nearly the time commitment of other networks either.
There are some clear distinctions between what Google Plus can and can’t do.
With Local Pages you can get found by customers through better visibility in search results. With Authorship you can establish authority and credibility with your content and improve your SEO. With Communities you can engage with great people, drive traffic to your website and get the social signals you need to build your Author Rank.
These three things combined will turn your business into a Google-dominating, traffic-generating powerhouse!
If you have any questions about anything I just covered, or about Google Plus in general I’d be happy to answer them if you ask me in the comments section below.