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Google Plus: An Easy Guide to the 3rd Social Network

I know I already disclosed my New Year’s resolution to the email club (it’s to “ask for more” this year).

Here’s another one: Totally dominate Google+ in 2013

Why? What’s the point when Facebook and Twitter already waste huge chunks of my time?

Well as you’ll see below, Google+ actually holds a lot of possibilities for us bloggers. It can help us gain authority as a content developer and personalize how readers see us in Google Search.

In this post I’ll get you totally up to speed on my new favorite network. At the end, I’d love to hear how you use Google+ to help your business or just to have fun.

What is Google Plus?

Google+ launched on June 28th, 2011 via an invite-only system, but by September 2011 it was open to anyone 18 and up.

A bit aloof as usual, Google calls their network a “layering system”. It beats out the standard social network model (where everything exists on one website, like with Facebook or Pinterest) by existing seemingly everywhere…in Google search, in Gmail, and on our blogs. See my sidebar for an example of Google+ on a blog –>.

When asked “What’s the point of a new social network?” Google simply responded “You’ll see”. A bit evil, but still awesome. By December 2012 Google+ had 500 million members, 235 active monthly, and faster signup rates than Facebook.

That’s the stats, but from a user’s point of view Google+ is a very content driven experience. It’s about personalizing content, and sharing articles and ideas with specific people in your circles.

What can I do with Google Plus?

Google+ does a lot more than Facebook and Twitter. Yet, our first opinion of Google+ is that it’s just unnecessary. I’ll admit, I wasn’t the first to create my profile.

Now that I am an avid G+ user, I use it to:

    a. Find niche friends: See who else is writing about cat costumes

    b. Solve blog problems: Ask your followers for help, await the answer

    c. Get instant feedback on my writing: Share specific posts with relevant circles

    d. Increase SEO authority: With Google Authorship, as you’ll see below

Moreover, it’s fun learning a new network. If you’ve been frustrated with the constant Facebook redesigns (darn Timelines), like me, you may find Google + refreshing.

Google Plus: Your to-do list

If it’s your goal to become an expert source of knowledge on some field, Google+ will help you get there. Here the basic steps to building your G+ profile.

    e. Create an about section: Here you can write a tagline and introduction to your work. I see lots of writers use rich copy here, and even boast about their email list. Not a bad idea at all. Then, the “Contributor to” section is where you can link your blog, and any 3rd party sites you write for.

    f. Enter discussions (easy!): When I’m bored, I’ll search something I like talking about like about me pages or review sites. I always find a good discussion, and add my 2 cents. More times than not this results in a few new followers and friends!

    g. Put Google+ on your blog or website: Number of ways to do this. I like the TF social share plugin, but it’s also fun to add a Google+ badge. They look, well, like this!

Go ahead and circle me here if you haven’t already!

    h. Mention others when you post: If you’ve gathered some like-minded friends, you can “plus” them as you would “at” someone on Facebook or Twitter when you post an update. This is a fun way of saying “Hey bud! Why not comment on this post?”

Can you tell I’m already having fun with this network? I hope I’m starting to convine you Google+ is worth your time.

What is Google + Authorship?

The other guides I’ve read really mess this part up. Authorship is quite important if you own multiple blogs or write guest posts from time to time like I do. There are two tags you’ll want to know about, and use.

1) The rel=”me” tag
This tag tells Google that two pages on the web are by the same person. It’s really that simple. So, include the rel=”me” when you link from your blog’s author page back to your Google + profile. Include rel=”me” if you have multiple blogs and are linking one author page back to the other.

Put the rel=”me” tag into a link like this:

a rel=”me” href=”http://www.somelink…

2) The rel=”author” tag
This tag tells Google that you’re the author of an article. This is what you must use in guest posts, but here’s another caveat. Use it also on your own blog posts. In guest posts, use rel=”author” in the link to your Google + profile. Then link your Google + profile back to the guest post website’s homepage in the “Contributor to section. On your own blog, you probably have a byline on each post (see: By Greg above). That link should also contain a rel=”author” tag, just so Google knows who wrote the post. Of course, you could also manually add an author box with this link below blog posts.

Put the rel=”author” tag into a link like this:

a href=”somelink” rel=”author”…then close the tag and insert your keywords.

The author tag is also what’s behind gravatar images showing up by your articles in Google Search! That’s the personalizing aspect of G+, at least so far.

Now here are a things I’m not totally sure about, but are definitely worth mentioning…

  • Linking to your work on other blogs, from your own blog: You may want to use a rel=”author” tag on this link. I’m not sure if it matters though, assuming you already used this tag to point towards your Google + profile from that third party article.
  • Positioning of the tag: As far as I can tell, you can include these tags in between the a href or after the a href and the tags work exactly the same.
  • The use of plugins: To save you all the trouble of editing links that I mentioned above, developers and WordPress hackers are generating plugins that supposedly make implementing authorship a lot easier. I question these plugins, personally, just because why put some third party code on your site to do something you can do on your own.

That’s the scoop on what you should do to make use of Google’s new authorship feature. You can also read the Google Authorship Guidelines, which I actually enjoyed.

Will my Google Plus profile help SEO?

This question is tricky, but I really couldn’t hit publish on this post without a section on Google+ and SEO. The short answer is yes…but we’ll have to see how.

Google wants Search results to contain trusted resources. That’s a huge reason they passed Panda and Penguin and scared the heck out of most of us. To measure the “trusted” and “credible” levels of an article, they’re using things like number of “+1s” an article gets, and checking who wrote the darn thing (via the rel= tags above).

Say for example, Henry writes a lot for well-known publications. His articles go socially viral and he always implements the authorship tags. If I search for a subject Henry has covered, I’ll certainly get one of his articles over an (equally good) article written by a random writer who hardly ever writes.

Two things matter here, the social aspect, and the interlinking among websites. But that’s really about all I’ll say until Matt Cutts tells me more…

I have a Facebook, a Twitter, and a girlfriend…what’s all the racket here?!

If you’re still on the fence over this network I don’t blame you. Life is cluttered, especially if you work a day job while trying to make this whole blogging thing work.

That’s why my goal with the above post was to give you simple strategies you could potentially implement in a day’s work. Because the web is changing.

If you’re serious about your blog, and whether or not it’s search engine optimized, you should definitely consider the above information. Google+ isn’t new anymore but Google Authorship is, and the sooner you get your ship straight with these changes the sooner you’ll reap the benefits.

Conclusion

If the above information doesn’t make a lick of sense, please drop a comment and I’ll help. On the other hand, if you’ve started your G+ journey and are loving it, tell me why!

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46 comments, add some wisdom...


  1. Hi Greg, I have been reading your blog for hours since I am going to start a blog for my new webshop Femisense.dk. I have an older blog http://www.muu.dk/blog/ but I don’t really like the design that I got from Prestashop so I will do it better this time. Thanks for the advice on the fonts etc…

    My question is whether I should create a personal G+ account or a company G+ account to my new blog?
    My new blog will be about advices and tips on general problems not really products sales oriented which is dead boring to read.
    Thanks,
    Christine

  2. MrsMash says:

    I found this as I would like to start an online diary but now i’m not sure if blogging would be the ‘right’ way to go. I will be using it as a network tool too? Any help or advice would be great! Thanks

  3. Aliyah says:

    Hello Greg , I stumbled on this wonderful piece of info….and really, I just wish I can meet you . I think u would be able to help me greatly. I am about starting my blog ….I don’t av a clue how to start and I don’t have a mentor :( perhaps You can help ? Plzzzzzz ?

    • Greg Narayan says:

      Hi Aliyah – I’m here for ya! But with the nature of the internet, well, distance is a reality (unless I start a live wordshop, which may happen!) What niche are you in, and what are your goals for launch? Let’s talk thru…

  4. Mukesh Mali says:

    Wow. I like Google+ very much……… Google+ is like Twitter… If you don’t “Follow” anyone, of course it looks like a ghost town. Actually, my Twitter account sucks out loud, and I’ve only posted 2 messages in 3 years. The more actuve you are, the more people are interested in your opinion and follow/share things with you.

    The integration of #Hashtags in Google+ also helps discovering fun people who have common interests.

    • Greg Narayan says:

      Hey Mukesh!

      Definitely…both networks are give/get. Sucks out loud? That’s not productive :) Better start tweeting and sharing.

      I’m sure you have some brilliant insight people need.

  5. Anthony Morgan says:

    Hi Greg. I’ve only just set up my Google+ account and still have a lot of work to do, building up my circles and optimising my profile. So far, though, I really like it – the communities are a great place to engage with fellow writers and bloggers. It’s much more user-friendly than Facebook and it seems easier to connect with people you don’t already know.

    • Greg Narayan says:

      It’s really cool stuff, I could probably go explore a few new circles.

      Make sure to post “publicly” Anthony. Regular G+ers can get grumpy with you if you don’t.

  6. I’m a big fan of Google+. The problem I find with it is lack of engagement among those bloggers that share my interests and I’m connected to. I started a “community” on there for other women into humor. I’ve had people join but can’t seem to get any engagement. I think a lot of bloggers merely add their posts because they feel it’s necessary for search and SEO but still have no interest in engaging on there. I’m still plugging away but am frustrated.

    • Greg Narayan says:

      Hey Jen

      Thanks for stoping by.

      I’d try +ing specific people, and wording your posts like “I’d love your feedback on” or “Really curious what you think on”…

      I’ve tried this and after a while those same people will keep coming back on their own. Then traction begets more traction…etc.

      I’d avoid sending an email blast though. Don’t much like those.

      Hope to see ya back.

  7. Wow. I like Google+ very much more than any other social networking site because of easy navigation and everything in all in one site.

  8. Chadrack says:

    I must say right from the moment Google plus launched I knew Google was up to something and I made my opinion known to my blog readers. As soon as the doors opened to the public to create a profile I wasted no time to jump in.

    Also when Google Authorship was launched I did the same. In fact, implementing it on my blog not easy because at the time there were not plugins to do it. I had to customize a plugin I found on the wordpress site in order to make it work!

    Till date, for me Google plus is more valuable than Facebook. I rarely visit Facebook in a week but most times I’m on Google+. Just as you said, as a content publisher Google plus is more beneficial to me than Facebook. Facebook is really for those who want to connect with friends and family.

    • Greg Narayan says:

      Words of wisdom, Chadrack. Awesome comment.

      Yeah G+ is where content developers now thrive. I still think FB is awesome for companies trying to build brand loyalty. But as a “business of one” G+ is my choice :)

      Hope to see ya back.

  9. Jeniffer says:

    Hey,
    Excellent post. This is true that Google plus is one of the best place to get enjoyment and time pass :D
    It has some good features and it is trusted too. I like the way it has been build up. Also Google has done a lot of promotion of it!
    Thank you

  10. Priya N says:

    You must focus on Google+ if you are a blogger whose main traffic source is Google. 2013 is a year of diversifying your efforts in other blog promotion strategies.

  11. Kulwant Nagi says:

    I also said bye bye to Facebook and interacting with more people on Google Plus now.

    Thanks for the share.

  12. Hey Greg,
    Just found your stuff! *shakes internet hands*

    I’m a new blogger so love getting the goods from those who’ve already done it.

    Google+ authorship is by far the best thing I’ve found, I find I always click in searches the one with a picture next to it as well. People want to know who is telling them stuff and putting a picture is part of the “sales” process as you say , it personalizes it.

    Cheers!
    Joe

    • Greg Narayan says:

      Hey Joe,
      *web knucks* :)
      Authorship is crazy, the faces are just the start…
      Dig your blog design. Can’t wait to see where it goes.
      And feel free to chime in around here. Always nice to have an entrepreneurs insight on these issues.
      Greg

  13. lokesh says:

    Greg,This is my first visit to your blog followed from guideandnews.
    When i first visited Google+, i was not really impressed & didn’t understand the features much.My journey with Google+ was very slow & once i came to the know about the features i got more interest & i am more active in Google+ compared to Facebook and Twitter. I got to meet many like minded bloggers which helped me to build my network in Google+ & also increase in tariff. After reading this article i felt My knowledge of Google+ is still low & helped to learn new features.

  14. Kumar Gauraw says:

    Hello Greg,

    I am a first time visitor to your blog and you post already added a lot of value to me. Thank you for sharing this awesome article.

    I have a presence on Google+ but I never took it with the same seriousness that you recommend here. I did implement the Authorship and saw some benefits. But I am sure I am going to improve on my approach to Google+ and thanks to you for the motivation.

    You are awesome!
    Regards,
    Kumar

  15. Shahzad says:

    Sorry Greg…
    You know… I am bad, a total zero in Google plus. Honestly have nothing to talk about this :(
    I got invitation before it has gone public. But still I am not an active user here. Need to work more there.

    Whoa!! Hey, Just now I noticed. No social icons (fb,twitter) on sidebar!!!
    Are you completely avoiding fb and twitter?!!

  16. Yeremi Akpan says:

    I agree that Google + is a very important social network. Google is the most powerful search engine and they have openly admitted that they would use social traction as a quality indicator for search.

    Where do you think they would put the most weight?

    On Google + of course!

    Becoming active on Google + gives us the opportunity of getting in the face of Google.

    Isn’t that what we all want to do?

  17. Enstine Muki says:

    Hey Greg,
    I just came back from a long trip (been driving for over 5 hours) and was on Ehsan’s blog where I linked up to yours. I scanned through this tut and I think it’s worth a closer look. I bookmarked it and will follow it strictly as Google+ is on my list this year. I’m not really new to it but I want to take it further.

    Thanks for putting up this meaty post ;)

    • Greg Narayan says:

      Hey Estine,
      Haha, glad you found me. Yeah, well that makes two of us who want to really push the limits of G+ this year ;) Let me know if I can help at all, and hope to see ya back.
      Greg

  18. Abuzar says:

    Totally agreed the guide helps a lot to learn about google+…. I can say it’s an altervative of the Guy Kawaski’s book “What the Plus+”… This is the 1st time that I am visiting your blog and will going to take your blog in my fav. blogs ;) thanks again man for sharing such a great article….

  19. Ehsan Ullah says:

    Great guide on Google+ Greg, As you said web is changing and as a blogger you should also try to do everything which can help with your ranking and Google+ plays a big role.

  20. Aditya says:

    I never really focused on Google+. Firstly I do most of my social networking from my phone so when I tried to install the app and run it, it failed to work and that killed my interest in Google+.

    Second reason is that I’m focusing only on twitter (360 followers) but not Facebook (Just 20 fans), so Google+ is totally out of question.

    Now that you tell me about the ‘layering system’, my interest seems to have come back. Well, thank you for that!

    I’m really impressed with your writing, Greg, got hooked easily and read every word. Nice work!

    Happy New Year :)

    Aditya

    • Greg Narayan says:

      Thanks Aditya! Great to see you back.
      You read every word? Wow, I have to give out a badge or something for that.
      Yep, I think G+ will be worth our time as Search goes social.
      Happy New Years too!
      Greg

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