Google+ is Integrated with Google Search
We’ve all heard Google+ is a ghost town. While strictly speaking this is not true (per Statista.com, as of March 2015 Google+ has more users than Twitter), it’s also not relevant.
Google+ has one advantage the other social media platforms lack, and that is the rules for Google+ are set by Google. Google is primarily in the search business (strictly speaking they’re in the advertising business but Internet search is how they accumulate the audience who sees the ads they sell), and when they make Google search more useful to us, they benefit.
Since Google does for all practical purposes “own” the search market, they’re in a position to make Google+ more relevant by integrating it with Google Search, which they do.
What Does “Integrated with Search” Mean?
It means that Google+ status updates are indexed by Google and appear in search results.
This is important because it overcomes one of the great shortcomings of social media, which is your social media status updates are seen by very few of your followers.
People have measured the “view” rate of Facebook updates (33%) and Twitter updates (less than 2%), but every social media platform has this issue. The social media algorithms don’t show everything the people you follow publish because if it did you could never get through it.
The same unfortunately is true of your social media updates. Very few of your followers see them when you publish them.
What if They Were Seen When the Idea was Top of Mind?
And this is what Google does with Google+ updates.
The picture below illustrates how this works. Please refer to it as I explain.
The search query was “social media interactions”. Look at result #5, the one indicated with the red rectangle.
It’s not a webpage on a website per se, it’s a Google+ update.
Why did it show up in the search results for this query?
- The business page for BANG! Website Design is in one of my Google+ circles.
- The contents of that update match my search query.
However what’s important about it showing up in my search results is that 6 days ago when they published that update I did not see it.
Yet when it is relevant to me (when it matches a search I do), it shows up in my search result.
As you can see, it’s much more relevant to me at the time of my search, because I’m searching for information it discusses.
This same thing happens with your Google+ updates. They show up in the search results of people who have you in a Google+ circle. The effect of this is increased when someone does see the post and likes it enough to +1 it (the Google+ equivalent of a Like). When this happens, it not only shows up in the search results of your followers, it shows up in the search results of their followers.
This is what it means that Google+ is integrated with Google search.
How Do You Use This?
Whether you’re publishing Google+ updates to your personal page or your business page (or both) you need for other people to have added you to their circles.
And the way you do that is to participate in Google+.
Update your personal profile, create a business page, join and participate in communities, and start adding people to circles.
Using Social Media to Attract Organic Search Visitors
The highest quality visitors to show up on your website are the visitors who show up from organic search. The reason is that since they found you, you know they have an interest in what your website says. If they didn’t they would never have found it in the first place.
For this reason, I segment social media platforms into two broad categories: those where the status updates are indexed by Google and those that aren’t. The ones that do are more important to me.
The integration with Google search is what causes your updates to appear to people when they’re researching questions, looking for answers, and collecting information.
So the way you use Google+ to increase visitors from organic search is to simply use Google+, and to trust in Google to index your updates and thereby make them available to your followers when they do searches.
About the Author: Kevin Carney is an expert in Inbound Marketing, and teaches Inbound Marketing, SEO, and WordPress. He runs Inbound Marketing University, the online school and community where small business learns online marketing.