A lot of people still aren’t quite sure what to make of Google+. Can you honestly blame them? With the plethora of never-ending social networks popping up, it’s hard to keep up with the times. For many, Google+ is a fabled Facebook that they heard about on the news, through their friends’ Facebook feeds, or perhaps glanced during their daily peruse of the msn.com, cnn.com, or otherwise. For some who’ve actually used the software, it’s merely just another means of communicating with friends and family. There is a rare breed, however, who recognize it for what it’s really worth. These people dig down deeper and wonder what the overall impact of this software will be, rather than looking at just the spot on the wall. These people understand Google’s underlying motives in whole, rather than just assuming that Google is competing with Facebook. These are the people that ask, “How will Google+ effect my SEO strategies?”
It’s a fair question. The truth is, Google’s algorithm changes constantly and no one knows the exact formula…if we did, we’d probably be locked away in a Google pod somewhere! What we, as SEO experts, can do is make educated guesses as to how SEO will be effected overall, based on information released by Google as well as testing. What people fail to realize is that Google wants to incorporate a more social/personal approach to their algorithm. Rather than have technical bots who have no motive or emotion crunching numbers to decide who gets the top spot, it would rather incorporate real-life opinions of websites and take those opinions into consideration when displaying results. It’s not simply a positive review of your site that Google is looking for, however, it’s also looking for whether your information is compelling enough that it’s shared. These are hypothetical factors that will most likely effect your SEO. Already, we’ve begun seeing higher organic page rankings for those who’ve been “plus’d”, as opposed to those who haven’t. Is this coincidence? We think not. Anyway, it’s best to be there first, and err on the side of caution. Will it harm you to have people start to engage with Google+ on your site? NO! So, just do it and see how it pans out for you. Bottom line is that you need to pay attention to this social network. If projections are correct, it will turn out to be one of the social network big boys that you’ll need to have a presence on, including Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.
Here’s the catch…at the moment, “+1″‘s are only appearing for users who are logged into their Google account which has activated a Google+ account. It’s unclear whether or not this will change in the foreseeable future, but we have to believe that it will. Even if it isn’t appearing to the public; however, it doesn’t mean that Google doesn’t have your site’s Google+ stats stored in their back end somewhere, and are using it in their algorithm to analyze your organic placement on search engine results. Yet another catch is that so far this only applies to the Google search engine. Is it feasible to believe that this will spread to other search engines like Bing or Yahoo? Only time will tell.
Again, it all boils down to taking advantage of something while it’s still young and new. If you begin building your Google+ networks now, when everyone else is still too busy focusing on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll be well ahead of the game should “+1″‘s really effect SEO as we predict they will. There’s no harm in jumping on another social network, so long as you’re not currently trying to syndicate to 10+ networks. Keep it simple for your targeted audience, and stick to the major social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn (if applicable). This will ensure you’re covering all your social bases, but aren’t sending your audience in a million different directions to try to gain the information they are looking for and/or to interact with you. Jump on the Google+ network, start building your “+1″‘s and test, test, test. In marketing, testing never ends!Google+