While Google+ is still a relatively young player in the game of social media, it's amassed a user base of 400 million registered users since it launched on June 28, 2011. The important thing to note about this user base is the fact only 100 million are active on a monthly basis and usage is a weak 3.3 minutes per month on average (compared to the average 7.5 hours users spend on Facebook). These stats are the very reason Google+ continues to struggle receiving widespread adoption in the social media world.
Limited users and overall usage aside, what about the search engine optimization (SEO) benefits that Google+ offers? Google, being the #1 search engine in the world, has openly played favoritism in how Google+ activity influences search results. Hence the reason many marketers have found motivation to leverage the platfom as another tool in their social media toolbox.
Here's a review of what these SEO benefits are so you can reevaluate whether your company and marketing staff should create Google+ accounts.
1. Enhanced Company SERP Listing
As shown in the screen capture below, Google puts additional emphasis on how your Google+ page appears in the search engine results page (SERP) for your company. The key is following the steps from your Google+ profile to properly link your site by adding the required code snipppet to your site.
Not only does this offer a little extra pop to your listing in Google but it also shows a preview of your recent posts from your company page, which is a nice way to call more attention to your blog or advanced content offers.
2. Enhanced Content Optimization in SERPs
The area we see Google+ offering the most value for our team is the Google Authorship (aka Rel=Author) feature, that enhances your blog content in seach results by attaching your Google+ profile photo. Even if a particular blog post of yours isn't holding the 1st position in the SERP, it's proven you'll receive more click-thrus than the other results on the page if your listing is the only one with a human face attached to it.
We covered this topic in a blog a few weeks back, which outlines the steps to set-up your own Google Authorship tag so you can start taking advantage of this awesome feature.
3. Additional Social Signals For Your Content
If you don't already know, social media continues to play a growing role in helping search engines determine what content on the web is truly worthy of being ranked at the top of the search results. Content with a ton of Facebook Likes, Tweets, LinkedIn shares and +1s is a very telling sign that a piece of content is providing value if others are sharing it with their own social media network.
Since Google can do what they want, they've put some extra mojo behind +1 signals from Google+ as far as what these signals do for SEO. It doesn't mean making your content sharable via Google+ is mandatory to perform well in search but if you have the option to do so don't miss out on this additional social signal.
As Google continues to strive for more widespread adoption of their attempt at competing in the social media world it will be interesting to see what additional tactics they implement to make Google+ a must-have for marketers. They've done a fairly good job so far since it's reported over 54% of online marketers named the platform as one of their top five social platforms. Are you one of them or are you still standing on the sidelines?