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Why Your Business Needs to be on Google Plus
Google Plus and SEO
Google is Changing the Rules of SEO
Google has recently stated that social media success can be a "useful signal" when trying to determine search relevancy. They also mention in their FAQ that they may use your connections (email lists, chat buddies, public connections) to determine relevancy. This indicates that Google is working on their own version of a "Klout" Score.
Independent studies performed by SEO professionals have already found that webpages posted or +1ed on Google plus are indexed more quickly and ranked more highly than those posted on other social networks. This is raising SEO flags and there is a message being communicated here: Get on board with Google Plus.
Google Mixes Social with Search
In short, social media and search is starting to become one in the same. The tactics businesses use to get better ranking on Google have already become less effective thanks to Penguin and Panda. But google is sending another signal and it appears that most businesses owners and SEO's are ignoring it. This puts some at a disadvantage, but for those who are already doing well in social media, this is an opportunity to increase your website's ranking. If you show up early to the Google Plus party, your website will likely benefit from higher search rankings in the future.
Social Influence is the New Page Rank
The Google bot is placing increased importance on your social profile. Google is searching for, and linking, your connections, reviews and blog posts. Klout is sometimes dismissed as nonsense... and their particular algorithm may be just that. However, it appears that Google is employing the same method to gauge just how relevant you and your website are. If you use Klout for nothing else, try to use it as an indication of your social rank. Pretend it is your Google page rank. Then improve it.
G+ Uses People as Backlinks
People are Backlinks
All over the internet websites have had their backlink profiles wiped out because the link relationships they built were shady. Google doesn't want you to be able to fake your influence with questionable backlinks. With the incorporation of social into search relevancy, SEO will no longer be about who is linking to you. It will be about who you are connected to.
As in the case of backlinks, your social connections need to be legitimate in order to qualify as a real indication of your authority. Real people have to be interested in you, your company, your products or what you have to say.
Participation is Optimization
Using social as an indication of search relevance means something else, though. It is not enough to simply make a connection. You must also create a relationship. Because social media is all about relationships... and ultimately so is business.
You need reviews on your google local page, ringing endorsements, social shares, comments and +1's. Backlinks can be built and never thought of again. You can't treat people that way. This is the reason social is becoming a big player when it comes to search: People are much harder to purchase than backlinks are.
Social media is becoming the new Search Engine Optimization. Bearing that in mind, not only do businesses and individuals need to embrace Google Plus, they need to embrace social media. Because your social profile is going to become increasingly connected to your search relevancy.
Unhappy Customers are Spammy Links
The social revolution means something else to business owners, though. It means you need to make sure your customers are happy and that your business doesn't suck. I have discussed the increased power of consumers via social media in the past, but Google Plus is taking that to an entirely new level.
Think of dissatisfied customers as spammy links. Who cares if you never see a customer again after the point of sale? You will as soon as they jump on your G+ Local page and complain along with all of your other unhappy customers! Google is giving the power back to the people in the business realm. Every webmaster and business owner needs to understand that and take proactive measures. By the time everyone knows that businesses in the future will live or die by Google Plus, it will be too late to make reforms.
Google Plus wins at Social Media
Google Plus is lame. Everyone feels that way. No one thinks G+ is the new Facebook. Unfortunately, by using G+ as a part of the search algorithm, Google has left us with no choice but to embrace their platform or watch our rankings tank. So, when it comes down to making a choice between jumping onto G+ or watching your website rankings tank Penguin style, I think we all need to agree that G+ is going to win at social.
Note: this post has been derived from information discussed during Pubcon 2012 and I have written more extensively about G+ and the Future of SEO on my blog.