If you have a blog you already have a platform to get your message out, and a way to receive feedback. You might not think you have a need for social networks, but you know if you want traffic to your blog you need them. While the new Google+ social platform is falling short of some expectations, it has quickly gained a significant membership of well over 40 million users.
Google+ As a Social Network
The number of users alone is reason enough to participate. In the current state of the internet, anyone who wants traffic to their website should make use of social networking. However, for bloggers this goes triple.
According to experts, the biggest reason blogs replaced traditional publication methods (including static websites) so easily is the interactivity. Your readers can comment; you can answer their comments; other readers can comment on a comment… In short, most blog traffic comes from people seeking an interactive experience – which makes social networking users an excellent market for bloggers.
If you are a blogger, you should join any social network with a significant number of users. 40 million may pale in comparison to Facebook’s nearly 800 million users – but 40 million potential readers for your blog is a significant number by any measure. However, Google+ has more benefits to offer than just potential readership.
Google+ Pages As A Marketing Tool
With the addition of Google+ Pages, the service is no longer limited to individuals. You will need a personal account before you can create a page, but the two can be kept separate. When you are online you will have the choice of whether you are acting as the personal profile, or the Page. Although Google+ Pages have been considered mostly a business feature, you can create a page for other entities, including a blog.
A Google+ Page has nearly the same functionality as a personal profile with few exceptions. The most notable difference is adding others to your circles (groups of friends). An individual can add anyone, or any Page – similar to following on Twitter or subscribing to updates on Facebook. A Page can only add someone who has added that Page, or mentioned it.
This is intended for the individuals benefit, to stop spammy mass following and friend requests. It also lends credibility to Pages with large numbers of people in their circles. Instead of high numbers making you look like a pest, it makes you (your blog) look popular.
Some functions of Google+ will be quite familiar. The layout of a Page is very similar to Facebook’s wall. You can put a few images at the top, your circles of friends are shown to the right, and your posts, in chronological order occupy most of the page. Naturally, you will want to post links and summaries of your blog posts.
Like Facebook, you will get clicks off your post and the ability to comment will increase interest.
There is an additional feature to your posts on Google that other networks don’t offer, the hangout link. Hangouts are group video chat sessions.
From the launch of Google+ this feature has been available for anyone who wants to start a hangout and invite friends. The hangout link was recently added to posts, in the belief that people will want to hangout and chat about interesting photos, links, or information. This adds interest and encourages reader enthusiasm.
Blog readers like interactivity, and a (virtual) face to face conversation with other readers is much more interactive than a text comment.
Perhaps the most significant benefit of having a Google+ Page isn’t found on your profile or Page, but on your search rankings. Google is synonymous with search, and there are already strong indications that a well developed Page will boost your rankings.
Starting with the +1 button. While it functions nearly identical to Facebook’s like button, a like won’t earn you search placement. However, Google assumes that a searcher may be interested in the same things as their friends. Therefore, anything a friend has +1′d will rank higher in search results.
They also make it easy for anyone searching for your Google+ Page. If you have one for your blog, your posts will rank higher among your friends searches, as well as the friends of anyone who has +1′d your post.
Why Google+ Pages Now
You may be thinking it’s to soon to jump in and join the Google+ network. Many experts such as Wired’s Caleb Garling are predicting it will trump the familiar Facebook and Twitter. However, some are more skeptical leading many to think they should take a wait and see approach.
If Google+ becomes an established giant, like Facebook or Google search those who didn’t get in on the ground floor will likely regret it. Every day your competitors are building up circles of followers, and learning the ins and outs of the platform.
They are ranking higher in some searches. Finally they are positioning themselves to take advantage of coming features such as vanity URLs and application integration.
In general, unless you are investing a significant amount of money (and Google+ is free) wait and see is never a good approach on the internet. Many services, websites, and networks don’t stay around long but have a massive impact at the height of popularity. By the time their success is widely acknowledged, it’s already waning.
Successful blogging, or any kind of online success, is largely about learning the art of riding the waves of the next (not the previous) big thing. With 40 million users, Google+ is already big, and still getting bigger.
So why not start your own Google+ brand Page right now!
It would be awesome to get to know how yours will look like!
Here is our Google+ brand Page: gplus.to/OpportunitiesPlanet
Start creating you own page by watching this video from TechTubeCentral