I’ve personally always been a huge fan of Google+, but it’s been several years since I’ve been consistently active: It simply became too difficult to keep up with posting.

Has the same been true for you?

I’ve always known that Google+ is good for SEO reasons, personal branding, and content sharing; I just found myself moving more naturally toward Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook — networks that I could use Buffer to manage all of my posts and share similar content. Sharing to Google+ natively was too much of a stretch from my regular routine of scheduling everything in one place.

Well, I’m excited to share some good news and some helpful G+ tips. Now, you can connect a Google+ account to Buffer, which we hope will make your Google+ brand even stronger. And if you’re still on the fence about the future of Google+ or its value to marketers today, I’d love to share five reasons why Google+ could be interesting for you to try.

5-surprising-reasons-to-reconsider-google

 

To make Google+ marketing as easy as possible for you, we’re proud to say that starting today you can connect your personal Google+ profile to Buffer, along with any of your Google+ pages, and fully manage your Google+ presence alongside Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest all from the Buffer dashboard.

Now, onto the five good reasons to make time for Google+ posting.

1. Google+ content gets indexed immediately and shows up in search results

You’ve likely heard that Google+ pages and profiles can greatly help your SEO, and it’s true!

Google+ is a powerful search engine marketing tool for companies, influencers, and your own personal branding. Sharing blog posts on Google+ in particular is an excellent way to …

  1. Rank for keyword terms that you might otherwise not be able to
  2. Drive search traffic to your Google+ profile and then back to your blog and website

Sometimes it happens without even realizing it. Such was the case for Patrick Antinozzi of Rapid Web Launch who ended up in the search results for Pokemon Go thanks to his Google+ post.

google-strategy-example-2  google-strategy-example-3

How does this Google+ ranking boost happen?

Well, rumor has it that Google crawls and indexes content posted to Google+ almost immediately. Here’s what Moz found:

If you share new content on Google+, chances are that Google will index the page very quickly.

Rumor has it that new URLs are crawled almost instantly. This makes complete sense as part of the purpose of Google+ was to replace Twitter when creating Google’s Realtime Search.

In the old days, if you wanted a website indexed you filled out a webform and waited several weeks. Today, it’s as simple as pressing a +1 button.

Content that you post to Google+ is far more likely to show up in search results than other pages, websites, articles, and content posted to other social networks because Google ranks their own social network higher and they crawl it faster. The added benefit is that Google even previews certain Google+ posts with rich snippets (profile picture, media, etc.), giving them even more real estate in a search!

As Laura Donovan shared in her Business2Community article on Google+:

While our company Google Plus page does not have a lot of followers, it does seem to give us a boost when it comes to how visible our blog posts are in Google searches.

Is there a catch?

Well, you do need to build a network on Google+ using Google+ Circles. The more people you add to circles and the more people who add you to their circles, the more likely you are to show up in search results for your network. Imagine if every person you emailed got added to a Google+ circle? You’d have a list of friends, family, colleagues, prospective leads, business partners, and much more who would see your content first! The broader your network on Google+ the more likely you are to show up in search results.

How can you take advantage of this? It’s pretty simple!

1. Make sure your Google+ personal profile and/or your Google+ page is fully complete.

Why bother? Well, Google indexes this information. This is an ideal place to make sure that Google knows who you are (and for those who find you on Google+ to know where to click to learn more).

hailley-griffis-google-plus

In order to fill this out completely, you can:

  • Head to your Google+ personal profile, hit “Edit Profile” then click the “I” icon to go to your About Me page.
  • From there you can add your introduction and use words that relate to your brand in your tagline and about section
  • If you hit the + at the bottom of the page, you can add relevant sites and include links to your website or blog
  • Double check that the privacy for your introduction and sites is set to “Public” or whatever you are most comfortable with

2. Grab your custom URL with your full name or business name

After you claim your custom URL (you can follow the instructions here for desktop and mobile), it’ll be even easier to extend your branding into the search results since Google indexes the URLs, too.

3. Stay active on Google+

Make sure all of your recent blog content is being shared there, plus any relevant curated articles you wish to share. (It’s as simple as Buffering it now!)

4. Share your own blog posts, using the blog post title, immediately after they’re published

This is the fastest way to get your URL indexed and crawled to rank on Google search. Take care when sharing to Google+ to include the full title of post and even a small description to make ranking even more likely to be indexed and ranked.

5. Keep building your circles

The more people you have in your circles, the more likely you are to show up in search results! One idea: You could add everyone you email to a Google+ circle.

2. Everyone You Email Can See Your Google+ Profile

One billion people use Gmail every month. Are you one of them? If you aren’t, you’re probably emailing with a bunch of them!

And here’s the great benefit of Google+ and Gmail: Your Google+ profile appears in every one of the emails you send, for whoever opens your email in Gmail on desktop.

It’s this information, right here:

gmail-inbox

Have you ever tried clicking on someone’s photo in an email and had it take you to their Google+ profile?

I’ve done that quite a few times when I’m looking to find out more about someone, and it’s always awesome when their bio is filled out and from there I can find their website, other social handles, or just generally learn more about them.

How can you optimize this?

  • Add a photo to your Google+ profile
  • Optimize your Google+ profile by including:
    • Links
    • Bio
    • Workplace
    • Anything else you’d like to tell people 🙂

This way if your profile gets clicked, it contains all of the relevant information someone might be looking for and is a strong start to making sure your profile and content shows up in search.

Bonus: Maintaining an active presence on Google+ will also give people more content to click through and more context to learn about you.

3. There’s a Very Specific, Engaged Demographic on Google+ (Maybe Your Target Audience!)

It’s hard to pin down exactly how many people are using Google+, recent numbers say 375 million monthly users, whereas other places mentions between 4 – 6 million active users and in total there are 2.2 billion profiles since every new Gmail account ends up creating a Google+ profile as well.

It looks more likely that people enjoy using Google+ to host their photos, with 1.5 billion photos uploaded every week. I’ve done this myself as not all of my friends and family are on Facebook or Instagram, but they all have Gmail and can view the photos that way.

Regardless of how many people are using Google+, they are an active bunch. Google Communities in particular now average 1.2 million new joins per day!

What I found most interesting is the key demographics from those active Google+ users.

google-demographics

It’s common to hear that Google+ is great for reaching people in tech and it could be true based on these demographics.

This beautiful infographic from Sprout Social explains a bit more what demographics look like for other social networks:

social-demographics_infographic

Based on these there are a few things to note:

  • Google+ has the highest ratio for men on social media at 73%
  • And in particular, men in the United States with that as the location for 55% of users
  • Based on stats describing the top occupations, it’s likely 78% of Google+ users work in a role related to tech.

If that’s your target audience, then you’ll definitely have a higher likelihood of reaching them. Even if it isn’t, Google+ still has millions of active monthly users, who’s to say they won’t be interested in your brand or company?

4. Google+ Communities are Powerful (and Popular)

Google recently released the numbers for communities on Google+ as having 1.2 million daily new community joins.

So what is a community on Google+? According to Google:

  • Communities can have more than one owner and moderator, and other people can join that community
  • When you’re a member of a community, you can post to that community. Members of that community may see your posts in their home stream.

If you’re still starting out on Google+ and don’t quite have a following yet, posting content to communities is a great way to build an audience. Some workplaces also use Google+ communities as an internal social network for employees.

There are tons of active Google+ communities, here are just a few examples:

Landscape Photography, with nearly 1 million members

screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-10-28-38-am

SEO and Internet Marketing, with over 150,000 members

Social Media for Entrepreneurs, with over 135,000 members

Funny Videos and Pictures, with over 2.5 million members

Body Building, with over 440,000 members

5. These 10 Major Brands and Influencers Are Seeing Success on Google+

Scrolling through Google+, I easily came across many brands and influencers who have enormous followings. NASA and National Geographic use Google+ to share stunning photos, the Dalai Lama shares his message with nearly 7.5 million followers and gets great engagement, Evernote has a colorful profile with popular, active collections and communities on their page.

Google+ is a great space to build a following with a lot less competition and noise than some other social networks. The added benefits from SEO ranking and visibility in Gmail, make it all the more attractive.

Here are 10 brands and influencers doing well on Google+ to serve as inspiration:

  1. National Geographic 
  2. Evernote
  3. NASA
  4. Dalai Lama
  5. Arianna Huffington
  6. Van Gogh Museum
  7. Globe and Mail 
  8. H & M 
  9. BMW
  10. PlayStation

Plus, It’s Never Been Easier To Share Your Content to Google+

We’re excited to announce that you can now connect your Google+ personal profiles with your Buffer account! It’ll only take a click to add the content you’re already sharing on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Pinterest and send it out to Google+ as well.

Connect your Google+ personal profile with your Buffer account here.

I’ve been making sure to share everything that goes on LinkedIn (since that’s where I do thought leadership) on Google+ as well as to start getting the SEO benefits. It’s also super easy to connect a Google+ page to your Buffer account if you haven’t had a chance to yet!

More reads on Google+: 

Over to You 

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you found this article helpful, I’d love to hear how all of this feels to you:

  • Do you use Google+? Does your company or brand?
  • Do you think you might find your target audience on Google+?
  • If you haven’t been posting to Google+, I’d love to know a bit more about why if you’re up for sharing!

I’d love to hear what’s working for you and any thoughts you may have in the comments below. Excited to keep the conversation going.

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Written by Hailley Griffis

Press Crafter at Buffer. Obsessed with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, podcasts and drinking tea.

  • Hailley,

    Great news about Buffer connecting to Google+, just set mine up.

    Two questions:

    I understand the benefits of using Google+, but didn’t Google come out and say they wouldn’t be focusing on it going forward?

    Second, can you still set up a vanity url on the updated Google+? I thought it was just the older version.

    I shared your article to my network, including Google+, how meta is that.

    Have a great day,

    George

  • Jon Ewing

    I gave up on Google+ earlier this year. Not enough slots in my Buffer account, unfortunately. I posted to Google+ via Buffer for several years but I think the prevailing wisdom is that even Google is probably only keeping it going for the benefit of the existing Google+ community, who I understand to be very active. Business listings in search results no longer link to the relevant Google+ page, drastically reducing the chances of new users finding a Google+ business page.

  • Lauren Rose

    Can you post to Google+ communities using buffer?

  • I’ve been trying to connect my profile, but I keep getting an error that it can’t be found. 🙁

  • Thomas Clark Jacobson

    Truly an outstanding article, Hailley. Clear, relevant, and particularly easy to absorb. I’m writing a book and need to get going on my social engagement…this will be my first priority.

  • Ooh my gosh! Made my day!!! I’ve been evangelizing Google+ from day one and our agency has been driving huge SEO and local business results for years because of it. So happy to see personal profiles finally with Buffer! Thanks guys!

    • Definitely a key place to have a presence for any local business.

  • Why i can’t connect my Google+ Profile that is using Google Apps?

    • Me too, Arthur. Exact same message… hopefully there is an update or workaround for this. I would love to include my personal G+ profile.

  • Seems to be an issue with the Facebook stats in the infographic. Numbers just aren’t possible.
    e.g Gender: Male 66% Female 77% = 153% ???

  • It seems that the almost instant indexing is true. It happens to me with my blog and it really helps having your article highlighted in Google searches. Nevertheless, its important to check it using private navigation as Google cookies also push your own profile if you’re logged it or using it for a while. Thanks for your post!

  • I agree with the fact that Google+ helps with improving search engine rankings. But let’s face it – It’s not as good as Facebook or Quora when it comes to ease of navigation and stuff.
    By knowing the fact that it increases rankings, we marketers might try to leverage it, but the percentage of other people and even bloggers on non-marketing niche wouldn’t.

    What do you think?

  • I’ve been evangelizing Google+ from day one and our agency has been driving huge SEO and local business results for years because of it. So happy to see personal profiles finally with Buffer!

  • Aviva

    What about being able to post to Collections? It kind of defeats the purpose of scheduling when you have to wait till after publishing a post to go and manually move it over to the proper Collection. Please keep that in mind for future updates. Thanks!

    • Yes, this is a very valid point. I understand that Collections is a major focal point of today’s Google+. Would be great if Buffer could post to them too.

  • Hi Hailley! Thanks for this great post. For my small biz clients, particularly those with local services and brick and mortar, I tell them you just can’t beat using G+ for posting. The rankings boost is always what they are looking at (on a Google search… who uses Bing??). The recent upgrades to Google Place have made a huge impact. The one hiccup I am having is with my entrepreneurs who work virtually and don’t have a “local” place to promote. The use of images and shared content on G+ does alleviate this issue somewhat.

  • ASG

    If your online small business’ is searched for on Google search(like ours), and the G+ post is usually the top result, then it adds to the credibility.

    That alone is a huge reason for using G+. Specially when you’re running a promotion, and a G+ post of that promotion comes in the result.

    But I guess I am repeating what you have mentioned in Pt.1

  • Kapil Khatter MD

    Hi Hailley. I’m still finding Google + to be a ghost town. It’s like there is almost no one there interested in and posting on my interest: healthy food environments (marketing to children, healthy checkouts, food guides, healthy school food, etc.).

  • FYI: You can’t create custom URLs with the new version of Google+. See: https://support.google.com/plus/answer/6320397?hl=en&ref_topic=6320376

  • Cheri-CreationScience4Kids

    I started on Google + for it’s author platform and got things set up a few years ago. I’ve stayed because it has one of the most active and relevant communities for my niche and it’s growing all the time. It seems all the similar groups on facebook get overrun by spam and trolls quickly or become a place for a single person to share. Anyway, I’ve been making the few seconds of extra effort to share memes over there for years and love to share link posts that would just get lost on facebook. Plus, a couple of my most vocal fans hang out on G+!
    I’m glad to see you recognize it as a place to invest in; if more of the influencers I follow were over there I’d prefer it to the commercial nonsense of facebook any day.

  • Thanks so much — finally — for enabling users to add their personal G+ accounts. I started with a personal account and didn’t want to then move my content to a business account. I’ve already added G+ to my Buffer account.

  • Great update. Google+ is fascinating in that Google doesn’t let it die, they just slowly keep updating/upgrading it. As a social network, it’s actually not bad, but nobody I know, with the exception of Dustin who commented earlier, is active there. That said, the SEO benefits are worthwhile, and if I had any leftover slots in my Buffer Awesome Plan, I’d be adding my G+ pages to it. Really need a plan that is between the Awesome and Small Business plans. Something around $49 that gives us more slots.

  • Joseph

    I tried using Google+ too, there just isn’t so many people active there. Many people I know don’t even know a Google+ account is created with their sign up for Gmail.

  • Kelly

    I used to be on the Google bandwagon, but then I read that they were moving away from it and its importance. If I just post to “public” on Google+ I get no interaction. I do however get interaction when I post to groups. Do you know if posting in a group will get you the same pick-up and exposure for the article, or does it have to be posted as public? I don’t like spamming by posting my article 5 times to public and various groups so I’d like to maximize it.

  • Hey Hailley, I just noticed your online help needs updating. Sorry, just trying to help…. https://faq.buffer.com/article/298-why-cant-i-connect-a-google-profile

  • Hi there Hailley,

    I always thought that Google + is good for marketing, but that can be so good never was on my mind.

  • John Mathew

    I am using Google+ for ranking purposes rather than any other purpose. But after reading your blog post, i will spend more time to learn google plus and sharing my posts over there.

    Regards,
    John
    https://goo.gl/m9BORW

  • Abegail Smith

    Hi dear! Gain more exposure and boost your authority on social media. Checkout BuyRealMarketing and see how it works.

  • I agree..well explained..detailed information.. thanks

  • Howdy Hailley!
    I’ve used Google+ quite extensively to promote my first blog, when it was first launched in 2011. I saw a lot of traffic coming in. Fast forward to today, I rarely get any traffic from G+. Let alone traffic, there’s no one new even circling me.

  • Great article and hints/tips. Many thanks, Hailley.

    Would you be able to provide your opinion on the difference between a ‘brand page’ and your personal profile page? Do I have to have a ‘brand page’?

  • Joshua Allen

    Totally DUG this post! I have a blog myself, if you are open, I might curate this post to my audience. Obviously give a link back.