What’s all the fuss about Google Plus?

What is Google+

In case you hadn’t already heard there is a social media network run by Google called Google+. They released Google Plus in 2011 in what seemed like a way for them to compete with Facebooks immense popularity and market share in the social media sphere. It’s growth rate has been phenomenal and in January this year it surpassed Twitter to become the second most popular social media network. Google+ is tied to your existing Google account, you can easily access Google+ from the menu in your account or via your Gmail account at the top right hand corner. You can sign in to Google+ here if you aren’t already logged into a Google account.

Google+ allows you to share your thoughts, links, videos, pictures and more with your friends, family, acquaintances and followers. You can choose exactly who you want to share which content with using the Circles feature. There is also a great video chat function called Hangouts which lets you have video chat sessions with up to 10 people at once.

Google+ Logo

Google+ Features

  • Stream – This is the equivalent of the Facebook news feed, it displays all of the current activity from the people you have in your Circles.
  • Circles – Circles enable you to organise people into groups for sharing. So you can create labelled circles such as Friends, Family, Acquaintances, Work, etc then each time you share a post choose which of those Circles you would like to share that particular piece of content with.
  • Hangouts – Hangouts allow you to have video chat calls with up to 10 people at once, and broadcast it live on the web so others can view it as it’s happening.
  • Messenger – Works on smart phones and it allows messaging and picture sharing within your Circles.
  • Instant Upload – This one’s a bit creepy, it only works on mobiles and it gives you the option to automatically save every photo your phone takes to your Google+ profile(seriously who would turn this on?). It does however upload them to a private folder so you can share them at a later time.
  • +1 Button – Is the same concept as the Facebook Like button, by clicking on a +1 button anywhere on the web you are endorsing/liking whatever it is. Note that in Google search results you will see your contacts thumbnail images under the results of websites they have clicked the +1 button on. This is valuable social proof being displayed right in the search results which can only help with user engagement and click through ratios for your website.
  • Hashtags – These work the same as on Twitter, you put a hash symbol in front of a word to make it hashtag #likethis. Then your post will be linked to the trending topics containing the hashtag term, which can bring a nice amount of extra traffic to your content.
  • Ripples – Ripples lets you see how your public posts are spreading through the Google+ network. On public posts you can click on the little downward pointing arrow on the top right hand side of the post then choose “View Ripples”. This will give you a visual flowchart that shows you who is sharing your content and how it is being spread. It allows you to identify the top influencers for your brand, so you can then start tailoring your Google+ content to those users who you know will re-share your message to a much wider audience.
  • Google+ Local – Google Places got replaced by Google+ Local in May 2012.
  • Google+ Events – Similar to events on Facebook, Google+ events let you create an event and invite your friends. You can also share photos taken on your phone at the event in real time using Party Mode.
  • Google+ Communities – Are a bit like Facebook groups, you can create ongoing conversations on a certain topic in a group scenario. Communities give your interests and hobbies a home base where you can share ideas, pictures, videos, events and more.

What is Google+ for Business

Google + for Business allows you to set up a page to promote your own business, very similar to a Facebook business page.  The great thing about Google+ for Business pages is that they rank well in the Google search results so people will be able to find you on the social network. People can +1 your business page as a vote of confidence, plus they can add you to their Circles which means they will get all of your updates from your business page in their Stream. The number of people who +1 your business page will display in Google search results, plus you can also use the Social Extensions in AdWords so that it gets displayed in your ads as well as shown below.

Adwords Social Extensions

Google+ Business pages allow you to grow and engage your audience. You can get closer to your audience and share rich eye catching content that will make people want to share it with their followers. You can also trace your main influencers for your brand using Ripples, and keep track of your social media ROI via Google Analytics.

Your can create your own Google+ Business page here. As an example you can take a look at our Byron Bay Web Hosting Google+ Business page.

Why you need a Google+ for Business page

It has been proven that Google+ for Business pages can help to give you a better search engine ranking if optimised and utilised correctly. Plus you have the added value of the positive social signals showing in your ads and search engine listings once you get a following.  Apart from Facebook and Twitter we really believe Google+ is the social network you should be actively promoting your business with. You can harness the full power of social media and create share worthy content that drives traffic and quality links back to your website.

How to search engine optimise your Google+ Business page

One of the really great features we like with Google+ Business pages is the ability to use text links within the Introduction section on your About page. See our About page for an example, note the text links back to important sections of our website using relevant keywords – this is one way to optimise your Google+ Business page to benefit your website. The Tagline is also quite important to write well as it will display in search results as the page’s description. It should clearly summarise your main business activity. Another very important section to fill out is your Website link and the Links section where you can link to all of your other social media channels and any other relevant web properties relating to your business.

Adding +1 Buttons to your website

Once you have your Google+ page setup you should also add the +1 Buttons to your website.  This will allow people to share your website content to Google+ and recommend you on Google Search. You can find full instructions for adding the +1 Buttons to your website here on Google Developers

Google Plus 1 Icon

Conclusion

Hopefully our post has shed some light on Google+ and Google+ Business pages for you.  We can’t stress enough to our clients how important it is to start utilising this new social media platform, especially since it is run by Google and so tightly wrapped in with Google Search and with AdWords ads. Your business and social web presence can only benefit from Google+ if you implement it well. If you need a hand setting up and optimising your Google+ Business page feel free  to enquire below, we would be more than happy to help. If you have any questions about Google+ please leave a comment on this post.

Send Us An Enquiry About Google+

About Simon Dunn

Simon Dunn is the owner and lead Web Developer at Byron Bay Web Hosting. He is also a Google Adwords Certified Partner that specialises in online marketing solutions.

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