If you are a business looking to grow a presence on Google Plus or through Google search I offer several packages and services. Contact me at email@example.com.
One of the main reasons I jumped on Google Plus in March of 2012 was to learn more about the updates to the Google search algorithm. At the time, Google Panda and Penguin had just rolled out and many websites were getting whacked and traffic subsequently plummeted. I went to the source which was Google. One of the main attractions to Google Plus was the fact that I was seeing so many “photos in search” and some of those were from Google Plus posts. If others were doing it, why wasn’t I on this bandwagon?
Over the last 24 months I have spent countless hours on Google Plus and in Google search testing what does show up and what does not. Do business page posts show up? What about a Google Plus Local page? Are community posts visible in search? What about private communities? This is very valuable information to any business hoping to gain more exposure through both social media and search. Well, here is what I found.
Google Plus Personal Profile Posts in Search
When first increasing activity on Google Plus I noticed several prominent names had the ability to show up in Google organic search mere seconds after they submitted a Google Plus post. As someone that works with businesses to gain exposure through search I immediately recognized how valuable this was. I actually contacted one of these users and sat down and had a lengthy discussion about how he used Google Plus and what he knew about posts ranking in search. Let’s just say that was a very long lunch discussion.
I digested all that information and started to mimic many of the things he was doing. I linked all my social profiles such as my Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn and Pinterest. I then started to actively engage with those that had knowledge of social media, search engine optimization (SEO) and other internet marketing fields. After a few months I too started to see my posts getting indexed in Google search within seconds. It is very important to understand that I spent several hours a day using the product to get to that level.
At the time I had about 10,000 followers and I was posting multiple times a day. I also owned some of the biggest communities on Google Plus including the College Football and College Basketball communities. By being extremely active and posting a substantial amount of unique content it makes sense that my Google Plus profile was being linked to by many different websites and media outlets. In fact, major websites like CNET, Huffington Post and the Verge had linked to my profile during that timeframe.
I realized that all of these links coming back to my profile were making it more important to Google. Many newer Google Plus users often ask me how long it will take for a personal profile to start seeing Google Plus posts show up in search. From my experience, it takes two to three months for the posts to start showing up but they are often not ranked very highly unless the profile is an active profile. Think of a Google Plus profile much the same way you would think about a website. The more great content you generate and the more links that point to a website the better the search rankings. The same is true for a Google Plus profile.
There is a major concern with devoting a significant amount of time and energy to a personal Google Plus profile. What if you want to promote a brand or a business and not a person? Well, here is what I know about Google Plus Local Pages and Google Plus Business Pages.
Google Plus Local and Business Pages in Search
A Google Plus Local page is a page that has the shield with a check mark on it. This means Google has verified the business. If your business has received a PIN from Google and has updated the information you have a Google Plus Local page. A Google Plus Business page is simply a page similar to a Facebook Page that anyone can create for a business or a brand. These business pages often do not have a shield with a logo on them as they do not have a physical address.
With both Local and Brand pages I have noticed that Google Plus posts actually start showing up in search sooner but it takes a lot of work to see posts show up near the top of search. It is often the case that these business pages will show up for very long tail keywords but they rarely make it to the front of search for any heavily searched phrases. Another current issue, as it relates to local and brand pages, is the fact that Google is not showing the profile image for brands. With a personal profile, any photo of a human face will show up in search beside the search result. For a business or local page it simply shares the title of the post or update but there is no brand logo or photo.
I personally feel as if we will eventually see brand logos showing up in search but Google will need to see much more activity from many brands on Google Plus. There is great opportunity to jump ahead of your competition because most brands are infatuated with Facebook, Pinterest and Instragram. Unfortunately, none of those social networks are directly linked to Google search. It is also the case that only business page and personal profile posts from Google Plus are showing up consistently in search and not all Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram posts.
Searchers will notice some pins and more pin boards but not all updates from Pinterest. Very rarely, if ever, will searches see a status update or share from Facebook or Instagram. In fact, Matt Cutts of Google recently stated that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have absolutely zero influence on search rankings. This is no surprise to me but it shocked many when they first heard this statement.
Do Community Posts Show Up in Search?
This is something that is very important. If you have decided to turn community posts off in terms of showing up on your profile they will not be indexed and ranked in search. If community posts are turned on in terms of showing up on your profile or page they can be indexed and ranked in search. There are two ways to look at this. If you have communities that are valuable to your business in search it might be best to leave them on in your home stream. If you are very active in communities and some of them may not matter all that much to your business you might want to turn them off.
I know this is a very difficult concept to grasp but I will be able to explain it much better when speaking with you on the phone or via chat about your business. Trust me when I explain that this is one of the more important parts of a marketing strategy when it comes to Google Plus for business. Finding communities that relate to your niche and building them may help you to not only rank better in search but to also find customers that are looking for answers to questions. I have worked with eye doctors, personal injury lawyers and real estate companies to help develop communities around their businesses.
As we continue to move forward in the social media marketing era it is a good idea to understand how Google Plus works in relation to Google search. If you would like to work with me to build your business profile on Google Plus please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.