Search engine mandated social media is best kind of social media. If there was a sarcasm font, I’d be using it right now. From what I gather, no one really wants to be on Google+—the search engine giant’s social networking platform. But at the same time, it’s second only to Facebook for having the most active users.
So if no one enjoys being on Google+ for social networking reasons, how is it currently the second largest social network? To put it simply, if you want to rank on Google, it’s not a bad idea to drink their Kool-Aid (if you add vodka to it, it makes it taste better).
Fun fact: Google was so intent on making its social network successful that CEO Larry Page tied 25 percent of Google employees’ annual bonuses to the success or failure of its social strategy. It should come as no surprise then that Moz found a strong correlation between Google +1s and higher search rankings. The Moz post also went on to say that many URLs shared on Google+ are crawled and indexed very quickly.
Even if you’ve already established yourself and your company on Google+, there’s still a lot more to the story. There are several things you can do to take advantage of Google+ for your business, and one of them is setting up Google+ Direct Connect. (Another is setting up Google Authorship, which my coolcat coworker Jake blogged about.)
What Is Google+ Direct Connect?
For those who are unfamiliar (a.k.a. me before I wrote this blog post), Google+ Direct Connect “lets you quickly navigate to a Google+ page (and even add that page to your circles) when using Google Search. For example, if you searched for the query '+youtube' or '+pepsi,' you could be immediately taken to the YouTube Google+ page, or the Pepsi Google+ page, and given the option to add the page to your circles.”
When people are signed in to Google+ when they preface a search with your company with the “+” symbol, they will be asked whether they want to add your page to their circles. In addition, Google+ users have the option to automatically add pages they find through Direct Connect to their circles.
So by setting up your Google+ Direct Connect profile for your business, you stand to dramatically increase the number of circles you’re in.
Why Should I Care How Many Google+ Circles I’m In?
At a very minimum, think of it as a credibility thing:
Social proof is a very strong influence. Would you be more likely to click on a search result if the author or company was in thousands of Google+ circles? Maybe. What about hundreds of thousands of circles?
Now we’re talking.
At a maximum, being in more Google+ circles can improve your brand top-of-mind awareness, as well as help Google recognize you as an authority in your industry. Publishing your content on Google+ can also increase the number of links to your websites when others share your posts—and these posts also have an opportunity to link in search engine results themselves:
How to Set Up Google+ Direct Connect
According to Google, “A page’s eligibility for Google+ Direct Connect is determined algorithmically, based on certain signals we use to help understand your page's relevancy and popularity.”
But in order to be eligible for Google+ Direct Connect, you need to link your business’s Google+ page to your website and vice versa. “Linking your Google+ page and your site like this not only helps you build relationships with friends and followers, but also gives Google information we can use to determine the relevancy of your site to a user query in Google Web Search,” the search engine says.
Google has instructions for linking your Google+ page and your website here, but you can always ask your online marketing company to do it for you.
If you’re a visual person, here’s a video tutorial:
Need a Social Media Strategy for Your Business?
Let us know! Business owners waiting for definitive proof that social media has value are going to spend the next three to five years learning a very valuable lesson. What they're going to learn is that the cost of doing nothing is exponentially greater than the cost of testing a few social media marketing campaigns. So let us help you set up your profiles if you haven’t already and create a smart strategy for using social media to maximize your online real estate, protect your company’s reputation, generate leads and sales, and get more referrals.
Make sure to check out more social media blog posts by members of the Blue Corona team. And make sure to add me to your Google+ circles so I can keep beating Ben Landers.
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