Last week Google announced 41 new features to Google+. For those of you logging into Google+ on a regular basis you may have even seen the Google+ redesign—which looks a lot like Pinterest or Facebook.
For the rest of you, you’re likely asking, “So what? Why are we talking about that defunct social network again? Who’s using Google+ anyway?”
The search engine giant revealed last week that there are currently 190 million active Google+ users. However, the definition of “active” is still up for debate. According to Nielsen’s latest study, Google+ visitors spent an average time on site of 6 minutes and 47 seconds in March—compared to Facebook visitors who spent an average time on site of 6 hours and 44 minutes during the same time period. In other words, the average user isn’t hanging around on Google+ very long. So, if you’re a professional looking to connect with industry influencers and potential customers, why should you bother creating a Google+ account?
Making Google+ Worthwhile: Google+ and Google Authorship
If you’ve spent any time on Google—the search engine, not the social network—you’ve likely noticed the author images that populate next to many bylined articles.
What you may not have realized is that if you have a blog with a byline and a Google+ account with a profile picture, you too can have your glamour shot (or professional business photograph) show up next to your bylined blog posts in search results.
This small picture is the result of something called Google Authorship, and it’s not only cool, but it also positions yourself as an expert. Google Authorship helps your content stand out in search and has been shown to lead to higher click through rates.
Claiming Your Google Authorship
Setting up Google Authorship is pretty easy, but only if you know what to search for to find instructions. Here are the basic Google Authorship set-up instructions from Google:
- Sign up for Google+ and create a Google+ profile.
- Make sure you have a profile photo with a recognizable headshot.
- Make sure a byline containing your name appears on each page of your content (for example, “By Anna Julow”).
- Make sure your byline name matches the name on your Google+ profile.
- Verify you have an email address (such as firstname.lastname@example.org) on the same domain as your content. (Don’t have an email address on the same domain? Use this method to link your content to your Google+ profile)
- Return to the Google+ authorship page and enter your email address.
Although it isn’t mentioned in the basic instructions, I would also recommend adding the blog you write for to the “Contributor to” section of the “About” page of your Google+ profile. Here’s how:
- Sign into Google+ and navigate to your Google+ profile.
- Select “About” from the navigation menu.
- Under “Links” choose “Edit.”
- Choose “Add custom link” from “Contributor to.”
- Here you can enter the name and URL for the blog or website to which you contribute. If your blog is sectioned by author, you may want to add the URL for your author listing (for example, http://www.blastmedia.com/author/anna-julow/)
Google+ Pages and communities can provide a number of benefits to businesses, however as social media continues to play a larger role in search, it is important for businesses—especially those utilizing thought leadership as a strategy—to look beyond “Who’s using Google+ anyway?” and consider how social media plays a role in their entire digital strategy.
Need help positioning your company as a thought leader? Want to strategically grow your online presence? Contact Lindsey Gropper to find out how BLASTmedia can help.
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