If you are a business owner looking to expand a presence online through Google search and Google+ feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I offer several packages that include a growth in Google Plus followers.
The debate as to whether Google Plus affects SEO has been heated for several years. Some have stated that it has absolutely no ranking factor while others feel as if it is the most important ranking factor available for public use. No matter which side of the fence you are on we have to admit that Google owns Google Plus and it stands to reason they would digest the information to, at least, better understand user behavior. Recently, someone asked me if the number of Google Plus followers or circles affects search ranking.
This is not something that is unheard of as the number of circlers or followers partly legitimizes a business. The more followers, the bigger the business, right? Well, not always, but we can all agree that Nike has millions of followers for a reason; the same is true with Coke, Pepsi, Macy’s and Home Depot. Many small to medium sized businesses would love to get a leg up on their competition so they would like to grow a large Google Plus following under the impression that is does affect search ranking in a positive way. Let’s dive deeper into this discussion.
Do Businesses Need Google Plus Followers?
If a business has a physical location and they have the desire to be found in search I think it is imperative to have a Google Plus presence. Google Places has converted to Google+ Local. This means that any business with a physical address in Google Maps has a Google+ Local Page whether they know it or not. Even if a page has not been claimed by the owner it is still listed when a user searches for that specific address in Google Maps or on Google search. If you need help claiming your Google+ Local Page please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com as I offer several packages.
Once a Google+ Local Page is up and running many wonder if it greatly affects search rankings. There are some SEO agencies and firms that have completed in depth testing only to find that they cannot verify nor deny that Google Plus affects search rankings. Personally, I feel as if Google is using their “social layer” product to understand user behavior for future ranking factors. If that will ever come to fruition, who really knows?
The most important thing to understand is that Google Plus provides exposure on a social network that gets crawled, indexed and ranked in Google search. For those that may not know, Google spiders cannot crawl all Tweets and Facebook posts. Matt Cutts of Google recently stated that Facebook and Twitter engagement is not part of the Google search ranking factor in any way. With this in mind, why not use a social network that can be crawled and ranked in Google search?
Does the Number of Followers Matter?
When Google Authorship has been installed on a website or published article the search result shows how many circles the author is in. Below is an example:
While it is nice to see over 600,000 people circling me in the search result it does not mean my article will show up higher than someone that has 25 followers simply for that reason. In fact, I have seen many instances in which an author is in less than 100 circles yet they still outrank for an author that is in over 25,000 Google+ circles. The quality of the resource is much more important than the total number of followers an author has on Google+.
As mentioned earlier, there has been a heated debate as to whether Google+ is a strong factor when it comes to search ranking and overall SEO. While I strongly urge all of my clients to use Google+ I do not feel that any one social network is the be all, end all. In fact, I have seen websites that rank very well and they have not even claimed their Google+ Local Page. If you have not claimed your Google+ Local Page I would suggest doing so right now. If you need help with this reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Overall, I feel as if growing a Google+ following is helpful because it expands the reach of an author, publisher or business. That said, it is not the only way to help a website rank highly in Google search. By creating amazing resources, updating a blog on a consistent basis and giving the visitors what they want you will find that your website will naturally rank in Google search.
Why Google+ Does Help with Search Rankings
I have spent over 1,000 hours on almost all the social networking sites such as Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter and Google+. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, there are more authors and webmasters, on average, on Google+ than any other social network. This means that the likelihood of natural link backs is exponentially higher. While Facebook has over one billion active users the majority of these users don’t own a business and they definitely do not own a website. This means the links directing back to your company website are unlikely to come from a Facebook connection. I am not saying it does not happen but it is not as likely as on Google+.
Something else that has always intrigued me about Google Plus is the fact that it is owned by Google. This means that Google has the access to crawl and index every single public post. This is not the case with Facebook and Twitter. Over the last 12 months multiple Google employees have expressed that Facebook posts and Twitter Tweets are not accessible to the Google crawling spiders. This means they are not ranked in search and they are definitely not a search ranking factor.
There are dozens of reasons why I like Google Plus for business much more than Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If your business benefits from ranking in search it is smart to utilize the free tools that are available through Google Plus. Hangouts on Air become YouTube videos and they are free to make. Rather than paying $5000 or $10,000 for a professional YouTube video for your website you can do a question and answer session with another person for the cost of doing a video conference on your computer. For most people, this is well under $200.
As we continue to move forward in the social media marketing business cycle it stands to reason that businesses would want to market in places that will help search rankings. While Facebook and Twitter have millions of active users they are not networks that help when it comes to Google search. If you are looking to expand your presence on Google Plus please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com. I have several packages available that can help your business grow through online exposure.
Google+ Offers Unique Social Media Opportunities
It is shocking to me that Google+ is the only major online social network that allows users to bold, italicize and edit specific words and phrases. Just recently Facebook allowed users to edit posts but it took them almost 10 years to figure it out. One of the first things that was offered through Google+ was the ability to bold and italicize the font. This makes Google+ much more like a blog that a true status update social network. At this point you cannot bold a font on Twitter and it is not available through Instagram or Pinterest. Hashtags have grown in popularity over the last few years but they are a different animal altogether.