Decoding Social Media Platforms and What They Can Do For You: Google+

**Update** Google+ was shut down for business use and consumers on April 2, 2019. We tried really hard with it too, but ultimately…it just wasn’t very good. We’ve kept up this blog post as a legacy for your information.

Why Google+? That’s a question we hear a lot. Usually right after, what is Google+? Simply put, Google+ is Google’s attempt at social media. And before you laughingly add that Google should leave social media to the professionals (yes, we’ve heard that before too), it is a platform all social marketers and content managers try to promote, even though most people don’t really use it. And once you understand a bit about SEO, it’s easy to see why.

Keeping Google Happy

A picture of a person searching using an ipadWhether the platform is popular or not, Google loves it when you use their products. Spending some time on your Google+ business page can help improve your local search and visibility – something that is becoming increasingly important in the online world today. And like all Google products, Google+ adds weight in getting ranked and indexed by Google. In short, it’s great for SEO. It helps you rank higher, provides valuable links back to your website and keeps Google happy.

But the actual success of the platform is always up for debate. While some marketers rave about Google+ reaching 100 million users faster than Facebook and Twitter, it’s probably because we put them there. And if we didn’t, Google certainly did. Don’t you remember trying to log into your Gmail account and being asked to fill in your Google+ profile? I do. And I only completed my profile to get Google off my back. That’s right. Google bullied me into it. But it worked. And chances are, it worked for your target market too.

Google+ For SEO

Tablet with connections to peopleSo is it worth it? Well that depends on your online objective. If you want to increase your online ranking, you cannot afford not to invest in Google+ for SEO. Amidst speculation that the platform was dead, Google+ underwent a bit of an overhaul last year. What emerged was a cleaner, simpler look with Communities and Collections that are at the centre of driving meaningful engagement.

Like Pinterest, Communities and Collections are groups created around specific interests. They are easy to set up, easy to use and completely free. They can be public, private, open to every one or by invite only. They allow you to engage with other Google+ers directly, and contribute to other communities. Like Pinterest, Communities and Collections take time to set up and manage. And for them to add any value to your SEO, they need to tie into a smart content strategy and have content to link back to. In short, making Google+ work for your business is a full time job. But one that reaps significant SEO rewards.