No, Larry Page won’t be cold calling you anytime soon. But as Google Plus continues to explode (now the second largest social network), you can expect to start feeling the heat from Google. Google’s powerful social media platform may not be as convenient as Facebook or as sexy as Instagram, but ignoring it is certainly more dangerous than ignoring any of the other platforms.
The Huffington Post recently devised a case for why no one should be ignoring Google Plus. It comes down to this:
- Google Plus is the first social network that truly is based on trust. Google Plus users rank Web content by +1-ing blog posts and websites. In turn, sites with multiple +1’s end up getting higher ranking in the Google search engine results.
- Google Plus users enjoy custom-tailored search engine results. When I search “content marketing” for example, I get specific search results that other people in my Google Plus circles have +1-ed.
- Google Plus is integrated with YouTube, Gmail, Google Docs and other great Google products. We can expect that Google will be rewarding Google+ users with more perks.
How Google Plus Rewards Bloggers
Okay, so that’s all well and good, but what about blogging? Well, the Google Plus blogging connection has been inarguably forged. At this point, it’s only a question of how strong it will become.
Google Plus has this little feature known as the rel=“author” tag. This short piece of code can be added to your blog or website, letting Google know that this content belongs to you (and your Google Plus account). When you show up in the Google search results, your relevant Web page will look like this first search result (instead of the non-Google Author results below it):
Not only does that first link look more authoritative and click-worthy, it actually is. According to Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO:
“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”
By the way, when Schmidt says “anonymous,” he isn’t referring to any subjective position about your Internet status. In Google’s mind, if you’re not on Google Plus, then you are anonymous (and will be treated as such).
Avoid Anonymity: Set Up rel=“author” in Google Plus
Setting up the rel=“author” tag really isn’t that difficult to do. If you know enough to operate your own little business blog, then you’re definitely capable. There are a number of short tutorials out there, but I recommend this one from Search Engine People, which will show you how it’s done from point A to point Z.
While setting up a Google Plus profile and this tag will produce the desired result (a picture next to your search engine results), I highly recommend using Google Plus actively. We’re not sure yet exactly how users’ level of Google Plus activity will affect their results in the search engine, but it’s very likely that more engaged users will be better rewarded.
If you’re a business owner and you’re not blogging, then the time to start is now. You don’t have to take it from me – just ask Google.