I love Google Plus. It's the most overlooked and undervalued social media network out there today. A lot of this is because Google Plus is really sophisticated and offers users a lot of features that seem to deter people more than they attract. But all other features aside, the most fundamental benefit Google Plus has to offer typical small business websites for marketing purposes is increased online exposure.
Google Plus Is Google
Obviously, when Google speaks we all listen. Google is the 500-lb gorilla in the web marketing arena that no sensible person can ignore. And, quite frankly, they've earned their keep over the years by delivering consistently good and valuable products, many available for free.
The reason I bring this up is the fact that Google Plus belongs to Google is in and of itself a good reason to use and be active on this social network. Google has lots of users, lots of capital, and lots of clout. You're kidding yourself if you don't think any of that is important.
How Google Plus Affects Search Rankings
Let me be clear -- I don't work for Google, nor do I own or have access to some crystal ball. I also want it to be clear that I don't speak for nor do I represent Google in any way. My observations come strictly from my years and years of web marketing experience.
One thing is very clear -- Google Plus does affect SEO rankings on Google very directly when users are logged into their Google Account while searching (and most usually are). If you are circling me on Google Plus and you're logged in and you search for something on Google related to content I've produced and shared or posted to Google Plus, then you will likely see my results first.
This alone is huge, and it's 100% objective and verifiable at the time of this writing.
Why Google Loves Authority
What's a bit speculative is that you can actually create meaningful and measurable "authority" on Google Plus by posting about specific topic areas frequently and getting +1's and reshares for that type of content. The idea here is that Google Plus is creating a kind of "authority footprint" through their Google Authorship system to help them better understand where your expertise lies.
Again, this is speculation and I won't go into the full debate here in this post, but the evidence is mounting in favor of this kind of setup.
It's my view that Google's long-term goal is to become very very good at measuring authority and using their search engine and their social network in concert to rank content based on a wide variety of authority indicators. It's way too early to tell and way too early to have an exact model for how this will work. The most important thing is that you start participating on Google Plus, building your presence, and connecting Google Authorship to all of the content you publish on your websites.
How are you using Google Plus? And what questions do you have about how to use it for your small business? Leave your comment below.