As any business owner with an online presence knows, social media is a key component of increasing your search engine rankings. Unlike some services, social media channels act as a low-cost or free opportunity to increase your visibility to the general Internet public. The goal of using social media is to get people talking about your company, product or services. The more Likes, Shares and +1s you can get on social media, as well as the more people begin talking about your website, products or services, the better your search engine optimization and the higher ranking you can achieve on various search engines, Google in particular.
Google+, Google’s social media answer, recently rolled out Google+ Communities. The initial buzz is positive, and the service can definitely have uses in search engine optimization. The main purpose for Google+ Communities is to allow conversations to be started with people who are interested in what you have to offer. This has the effect of bringing customers, and potential customers, closer to you than ever before. And, similar to Facebook Groups, these communities can be hyper-targeted towards nearly any niche regardless of how small it might be. Best of all, Google+Communities can be used to increase your search engine rankings if used properly.
Google+ Communities allows you the opportunity to grow your market by targeting people who are actually interested in what you have to offer. It’s safe to assume, since people have to opt-in to join the community, this gives you a great opportunity to raise your brand awareness to those who would be interested in your services or products but aren’t necessarily aware of your brand. The potential for mining new leads and contacts through posting information about your services or products, website links and just generally having open dialogues with potential new customers. To get the most out of your Google+ Community, you will definitely want to pair it up with your Google+ Business page.
In addition to attracting new potential clients ore opening the lines of communication better with existing clients, posts to a Google+ Community are a great way to get people talking about your company. As people respond to posts and create new posts your presence on Google+ and, by default your SEO with Google, increases. Furthermore, when a Community member shares a post to his or her Circles and those people share with their Circles and so on, this can increase your exposure and your SEO efforts exponentially.
Google Hangouts, which are integrated right into your Google+ Community page, is another way to interact with your customers and potential clients. It allows you to start up a video chat which will allow you to present your company with a “face,” allowing it to feel like more than another faceless company. By taking advantage of a Hangout, you can get people talking even more about your company, product or service. Additionally, you can broadcast your Hangout on your public profile. This also can allow you to answer questions potential clients and customers might have on a real-time basis, fostering good will and showing that you actually care about what their questions or concerns are. This can create a feeling of goodwill that is difficult to duplicate on other social media channels, which can lead to more discussion in general of what you have to offer among Google+ users.
One of the most common uses for Google+ Communities is the ability to use it as a sort of question and answer platform. This gives you the ability to show that you are an expert on a specific topic. You can use this opportunity to link back to your website or blog, and to have friendly social intercourse with customers and potential customers. You can also use Communities as a way to gauge interest in what sorts of topics you should be talking about on your website or blog, giving you a great opportunity to learn what interests people directly from the members of the Community. From what you learn about the questions people ask, you can plan to create a future blog post addressing questions that have been brought up on your Community. In the future, if those questions are brought up again, you can simply point to the appropriate blog post.
Because Google+ Community content is made public by default this means an increase in indexing by by Google’s organic results. The end result is several great chances to improve on your search engine optimization. These benefits are especially visible when combined with +1s provided by Community members and can definitely have a quickly visible effect on your organic growth. Furthermore, it helps Google find and index your new content with greater speed than before. It shouldn’t be long before you begin to see real, quantifiable growth in your search engine optimization efforts.
Google+ Communities are also a great place to connect with others in your field or industry. Many of these potential contacts are going to be tech-savvy individuals, and they will most likely be active with their own websites and profiles or groups on various social media sites. As you begin to get familiar with people in your Community, you will be able to tell who the truly influential members are. Those people can then be asked to write guest posts on your blog or perhaps you might get invited to create guest posts on their blog. Make a point to share quality content, and you may very well find that the influential followers in your Community will share that content with others. Aside from the potential SEO opportunities, this will provide a great chance for you to network with other industry professionals and networking is rarely a bad thing.
Although there was some criticism of Google+ when it first released the service has come a long way since it’s initial opening to the public. Google has released several features since the service’s inception, and many of those features provide excellent opportunities for business to interact with their customers.