Can having a Google + page actually improve your SEO?

I read an interesting article the other day suggesting that while Google + is growing in popularity, there is still a definite element of uncertainty surrounding its impact on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). While this is true to some extent, it’s naïve to think that Google + alone will elevate your content up the rankings; it’s an integrated process: you build up your online presence using a plethora of tools and Google + is just one of them.

As we’ve mentioned in our recent article, Google offers a wide range of tools for businesses and individuals to get the most out of their digital presence; whether you’re posting, being social, analysing data, or just telling people where you are, Google can help – but any one tool isn’t the answer.

The old adage of ‘two heads work better than one’ is very true here, but three or four may work even better! You wouldn’t build a house with just a hammer and nails, and you wouldn’t focus an entire search engine optimisation strategy on Google +, but what you might do though is incorporate an array of tools to get the most out of it.

To veer slightly off-topic…as a huge Spiderman fan, I learned the term ‘symbiosis’ from a young age; this is where two or more life-forms complement each other to live harmoniously – or in the Marvel Universe, where one feeds off other life-forms destructively, as Spiderman’s arch-nemesis, ‘Venom’, does when he shows up.

Spiderman and Venom battling - the opposite of the Google spectrum relationship

However, lucky for us Google + is a case of the former; it works as part of Google’s symbiosis, in which the array of tools available compliment and support each other, working co-dependently to optimise your online presence. The clearest example of this is Google Authorship, whereby you can link all of the pages you post content from to your Google + page; this has a direct effect on SERPs as it validates the content you create with your company, enabling your image to appear next to your results page listing – drawing attention to your content.

An example of how to use Google Authorship to stand out for better SEO

^ An example of how tech-bloggers, Bit Rebels, use Google Authorship to stand-out in SERPs

Some of the other tools in the spectrum that can be used to optimise your Google + presence include:

  • Google Places, which allows businesses to show people where they are and generate some positive word-of-mouth
  • YouTube, as videos have been proven to be among the most engaging and clickable types of content; so using YouTube to post a fun, interesting and engaging video then sharing it across your social channels including Google + could have a positive impact on your SERPs ranking
  • Research tool Google Adwords is great for finding out what keywords people are searching for, which you can then incorporate into your posts on Google +

These are just some of the many ways Google+ can have an impact on SERPs, whether through direct or indirect use.

Our view on Google+…

It seems just a bit unfair to say that Google+ has no impact on SERPs – because that’s not necessarily what it’s trying to do. There’s a common misconception that using Google + will shoot your posts above everything else, because Google gives special treatment to its own content, but this is not true. Google treats Google + content just like any other page on the web, but this also means that it has just as much potential as any other platform to be effective for SEO.

Since updating their algorithm with the Google ‘Penguin’ update, Google has levelled the playing field, and if your posts are engaging, interesting and well-written they will now be treat accordingly – whereas in the past keyword bashing was a rather simple and effective way to get up the rankings.

So while Google+ alone may not make an immediate impact on SERPs, it is a very effective, and let’s not forget fun way to share posts, drive traffic to your website, blog and other pages. Furthermore, by linking your Google + profile to the content you post, along with a very good Google Places page (complete with customer reviews and ratings) you are significantly boosting your chances of being found in the top pages of results.

We’re not saying it’s the only way or the best way to climb the search rankings, but it certainly IS a way…and failure to embrace Google + when it’s growing so rapidly in popularity could be a step in the wrong direction. Apparently, 51% of agencies think that Google + has no impact on search engine rankings; safe to say, we’re not one of them.

Josh Ryan Gill

About Josh Ryan Gill

Josh is the voice of our social media channels and marketing communications, applying his depth of marketing knowledge to the digital environment and working closely with clients to connect with their target audience. Google+