Many marketers talk about Google+ as if they expect tumbleweeds to blow across their screen from two-year-old social network.
That couldn’t be further from the truth for the world’s second-largest social network. Three in five of Google+’s 135 million active users log in every day.
It’s time make Google+ a priority, and it’s not just because of its activity or, as a 2013 Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit speaker said, “Google’s not going to let Google+ die.”
It provides myriad benefits to marketers. Here are six reasons why you should make Google+ a priority:
1. Fill up with search juice
Considering that Google – the owner of two-thirds of search market share – operates the site, the primary benefit of Google+ is its impact on search results.
In 2012, SEOptimise founder Kevin Gibbons tested this theory by looking at the websites of his clients who do and don’t use Google+. While those without a Google+ presence saw a 19.5 percent decrease in organic traffic, Google+ users saw a 42.6 percent increase.
Correlation doesn’t necessarily equal causation, Jason says. But if evidence indicates Google+ can deliver significantly more website traffic, it’s probably worth a try.
Tip: Get active on Google+, fill up your circles and build shares using these strategies.
2. Earn click-throughs
Rising up search ranks and getting noticed in search are related but not the same. Google Authorship helps you get noticed within search results.
Connecting your content to your Google+ profile puts rich snippets (your profile picture and other data) next to the article when it appears in search. A small-scale test of the theory that rich snippets help click-through rates showed a 150 percent increase.
Tip: Add a recognizable Google+ profile picture, ensure your content is bylined properly, verify your email address and, if you haven’t already, sign up for Google Authorship here.
3. Get indexed quickly
When you create a post on Google+, the search engine indexes it immediately. This makes it more likely that your Google+ followers will find your content when they search Google.
Tip: Add a keyword rich title to your posts and learn formatting tricks to help the post standout. For example, putting asterisks around a word or phrase will make it appear bold, helping it stand out in search results.
4. Get more bang for your buck
Google+ has integrated some of the best features of its competitors and improved on others, making it stronger than Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn combined.
Google+ has integrated Twitter’s hashtag (#) to track trends and also has mentions, allowing you to interact directly with another user. Google+ Communities allow people to share and discuss information like they do in groups on LinkedIn.
As for an improving a feature, Google+ allows users to edit photos before posting them, a capability not found on Facebook.
5. Introduce your business
As mentioned above, Google+ has communities that can provide a number of benefits for your business. Participating in communities related to your industry allows you to position yourself as a thought leader, build brand visibility, reach your niche audiences and establish relationships.
Tip: What Guy Kawasaki recommends when sharing content also applies to participating in forums like Google+ communities. Refrain from self-promotion. Provide quality content consistently. That way when you do self-promotion, people will listen or at least tolerate it.
6. Prepare for the future
A recent survey of B2B marketers showed Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook all more than or nearly doubled Google+ in terms of popularity.
Those same respondents, though, said that Google+ will be three times more relevant by 2014 than it is now.
Marketers have a lot on their plates between balancing multiple social networks, content marketing, email and a seemingly never-ending list of tasks. But Google+ should squeeze its way onto your list.
Consider that from January 2012 to February 2013, Google+ has seen shares increase by 788 percent compared to only 202 percent for Facebook.
For more on Google+, including a free guide, join us on the Vocus Blog next week.
Images: Bruce Clay, Inc. (Creative Commons)