I’m not going to revise or rehash issues around Google’s “Search + Your World” and its implications in the search landscape. If you are out of the loop and want to quickly catch up, Danny Sullivan wrote an article on Search Engine Land titled “Google’s results gets more personal…” that will bring you up to speed.
Whether you welcome the idea of seeing friends’ +1′s and tagged pictures the next time you do a search on Google, Google+ is here to stay and personal results are becoming more prominent. If you’ve been slow on the Google+ adoption train, now will be the time to hype up your profile and start actively sharing and engaging on this social network.
Here are some practical tips to give you a head start.
1) Take advantage of Search Plus Your World to grow your network
When you share and connect more on Google+, your content is more likely to show up in your connections’ search results. By amalgamating your existing digital footprint and adopting appropriate linking, you’ll be more likely to appear in Google+, so:
- Point your social media profiles to your Google+ account and feature your blog(s) or any other sites you’re most active on (YouTube, Flickr, etc.).
- Create a Google+ page for every website you own and display a Google+ badge on the website pointing back to that Google+ page. The point is to amalgamate your existing digital footprint, link them appropriately and have them show up on Google+, so ultimately those social signals will get picked up as well.
- Grow your connections by searching for people that share common interest or same network. (This might require a bit of browsing, but the method doesn’t stem too far from “facebook creeping”, which I’m sure we’re all guilty of.)
2) Be keyword-aware in your Google+ Content
No one likes reading paragraph after paragraph of keywords-stuffed and “spammy” jumble. Keep the same tone that is consistent with your brand but be mindful of relevant keywords, since those posts are more likely to show up in your connections’ searches. If you have trouble finding the “right words”, you may find Carola Austman’s review on the keyword research process helpful. Content includes photos, so don’t forget to optimize the title of your album and add caption.
3) Manage your Google+ Circles
Connect with opinion leaders in your niche as they can put you in the right circles of audience and, in turn, boost your reputation when they include you in their circles.
For your Google+ business page, these circles are in your default setting:
- Team Members (The people you will share the inside scoop with.)
- VIPs (Your most loyal customers and closest partners.)
- Customers (All the people or organizations you want to build deeper relationships with. Use this circle to send out special discounts and promotions.)
- Following (People you don’t know personally but whose posts you find interesting.)
Consider adding these circles as well:
- Employees (Individuals have more influence on their connections’ search for information than ever. Empowering your employee to share industry content using Google+ will maximize that impact.)
- Competitors (See how your competitors are using Google+. Who are they following? How are they engaging?)
- Pages (People or Brands that you’d like to follow or interact with.)
4) Engage your audience
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to interact with individuals personally on Google+ (a functionality that’s not available on Facebook)! Engage with your fans by commenting on their status messages and +1’ing their updates. These interactions will all show up in their notifications.
Finally, follow Michael Dell’s (of Dell Computers) lead in using Google+ Hangouts to communicate with people. Host Hangouts and meet-ups to get some face time with your audience!