It's been more than a year since Google unleashed its latest social media site to the world, and while it didn't get off to the best start (there's still a lot of debate about what qualifies as an active user), it's found and developed a core audience. However, even if you haven't warmed to it, there's a very important factor to take into considering and that is how it affects your SEO rankings.
At the Web Summit earlier this month, the Co-founder & CTO of Hubspot Dharmesh Shah talked about how Google's search engine is looking for three things: Useful content, clean design and fast websites. Tying into this was the importance of Google+ and how it can benefit you and search engines by focusing on the Google part. Therefore, we're going to look at the ways in which you can optimise your profile or business page and ensure that your content gets seen more.
Install a +1 button
A little obvious considering that social sharing buttons are part and parcel of any social media site, but what makes Google's buttons more valuable is that they are the biggest driver of organic traffic. If you don't have one installed on your site, then get on it.
Importance In Titles
Since Google+ posts appear in Google's search results, it's usually the first line of your post that's treated as the title of your post. So you want to make sure you put a bit of thought into what your title is going to be as Google is very quick in scanning new content on its site. To bold something, use the * symbol at the beginning and end of what you want bolded, it may come in useful.
Insert numerous links
One of the joys of Google+ is that there's no limit to the number of links you can place into a single post. These links work separately so if somebody shares them, +1's or links to them, their value will increase which can only be a good thing for you.
Use The About Page To Your Advantage
The About page is important as it fleshes out your profile and lets you link to other social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. However, what you may be interested to know is that you can embed links directly into your description. These links would be valued the same way as any other link so take the opportunity to insert one or two into it.
This also applies to business pages as well so make sure you fill everything out to get the maximum effect.
Like your company blog, an inactive account won't do much good for building links so make the effort to update regularly, comment and +1 stories in your feed so that your ranking goes up. Also, your reputation on the site will increase too so that's also a good way of increasing views.
Get Author Accreditation
One of the major benefits of having a Google+ account is that you can be accredited for your work. If you're a blogger, you can put yourself down for it by going into your About page and adding yourself as a contributor to your site. Depending on the blogging tools you're using, you will have to add your Google+ account into your author profile (For Wordpress, it's under contact info), but once you've done that, Google will do the rest.
It may take a little bit of time for Google to recognise your name (it might be wise to expect it to happen over the course of a few weeks), but once it's approved, you'll see your name and profile appear with your articles, which could mean people would be more likely to click on your work.
SEO Optimise Search Terms
This was a tip spotted by Ronnie Bincer back in May and it's something definitely worth keeping in mind the next time you're posting targeted content. If you're looking to associate a post or article upon a search term, simply type it into the Google+ search bar, you can post something and have it tagged in relation to the topic you've searched. So if you've written a blog post on marketing, you can enter the relevant search term into Google+ and post there with the appropriate tag.
Ability To Edit
Perhaps one of the biggest features that Google+ has is the opportunity to edit previous posts. While this mightn't seem major, it means that you can repurpose content and change any part of your content. This is handy if you make a mistake or spot a typo, but it's also good for repurposing content so that it's more relevant to Google's search results.
Create A Vanity URL
Back in August, Google started rolling out vanity URLs for verified users and brands with the expectation that this would be extended to everyone like on Facebook. Unfortunately, this hasn't happened just yet, but there are numerous ways to create one for yourself. One example is Gplus.to where you simply give a nickname, add your Google ID and a new, shorter address is yours.