DO I REALLY NEED A GOOGLE+ ACCOUNT?

Whether they love it or hate it, the majority of businesses are nowadays aware of the need to engage with social media as part of their marketing strategy, but it’s fair to say that many have gone down the route of Facebook and Twitter, all-the-while ignoring the one social platform that might well matter the most. Google+ is no longer the new kid on the social media block – but for many it is still the annoying one trying to push its way in on a well-established ‘cool gang’.  At first glance, Google+ might not seem to offer much that can’t be found already through your existing social media accounts. This makes it easy for businesses to ignore Google+ altogether. It’s understandable really.  After all, why would anyone invest time in YET ANOTHER social media platform when they are already established on the platforms that their customers are using?

Well, there are many reasons, but one in particular means that Google+ might soon break into the cool gang, whether they really want him there or not – search engine optimisation (SEO).

GOOGLE+ OFFERS DIRECT SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION BENEFITS TO YOUR SITE

You may well prefer Facebook or twitter and there is no denying that they are great for brand building and consumer engagement, but Google+ is the winner when it comes to boosting your site’s SEO – being active and engaging on Google+ will have a direct, beneficial impact on your site’s SEO performance.

GOOGLE+ BUILDS YOUR REPUTATION BY ASSOCIATING YOU WITH YOUR CONTENT

It is vital to have good content on your website. Content is still very much considered King when it comes to marketing your business, and Google+ has a very unique way of building up your reputation via content. That would be through Google authorship, which allows you to take full ownership of all the content you create. This doesn’t just mean on your own website either – Google authorship can attribute content you create elsewhere to you as well (and by extension your website). The other social media sites simply don’t do this.

GOOGLE+ OPENS YOU UP TO LOCAL SEO

When talking about SEO, much of the conversation nowadays has turned to taking a localised approach to your efforts. If you serve a specific community, you want them to find you quickly and before your competitors whenever they are looking for a business of your type. This can be delivered via Google+ Local, which also gives customers a place to go to provide feedback on the service that they have received. More and more consumers are looking at review sites before making a purchasing decision, so positive reviews can really help boost your business. Google likes them too – they will reward you for giving your customers a platform for feedback.

TARGETED MARKETING AND FILTERING YOUR AUDIENCE

Perhaps one of the most convenient features offered by Google+ (frankly I’m amazed that Facebook haven’t since starting doing the same thing) is that you can filter your published posts into categories. Put simply, different groups of people can see different posts. If you only want your colleagues to see a post, you can create a ‘colleagues’ group. It’s the same with clients, friends and so on. Rather than having to worry about who from the office might see you out drinking at the weekend, you can just put people in groups, hit send and voila!

ADDED TOOLS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS

One of the great things about being connected with Google is that they deliver a whole slew of tools for the business owner. Google+ is no different, and it will give you access to widgets, +1 buttons, and many other great little tools that you can use on your site to draw attention to your business. You also have access to social reports that will allow you to see the sort of impact that you are generating via your social media efforts. Having access to this sort of data can help you tweak the content that you are delivering to the customer so that it provides more perceived value.

USING GOOGLE+ TO CONNECT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE

The whole reason for going the social media route is to be able to better connect with your target audience. Google+ uses ‘Hangouts’, where you and your customers can connect via video linkup in either a private or public setting. This is a great way to answer any questions directly, put a personal face to your business, or even give a demonstration of a new product.

FOR ANY BUSINESS THAT IS SERIOUS ABOUT SEO, GOOGLE+ SIMPLY CANNOT BE IGNORED

Let’s look at the most obvious thing Google+ has going for it – it’s owned by Google. Whatever your opinion of the world’s leading search engine, it cannot be denied that where they go, others will follow. I’d take a guess and say that the vast majority of your site’s visitors will probably be coming from Google. It’s, therefore, a natural conclusion that to draw that engaging with the products and services they offer can only help the search rankings of your business.