Google, the world's most popular search engine, is now out to conquer social media with Google+. Turning tables on veterans like Facebook and Twitter, Google+ reported 62 million users in a modest period of six months and has 400 million potential users to join it by the end of 2012.
Google+ has created ripples with an array of features such as circles, hangouts and spark. The latest entrant is "Search, Plus Your World" that connects Google+ content to the organic searches. These developments have apparently diluted the boundaries between social media, SEO and social networking, with social signals and social networking gradually becoming an indispensable part of the SEO strategy.
Facebook and Twitter have influenced SEO up until now with links and shares present in almost all the sites and the authoritative tweets being measured and integrated in search ranking pages of the major search engines. Now, Google+ will also have a major role in deciding the SERP (search engine results pages), as it might be easier for Google to measure its social signals.
When a user searches on Google with specific keywords, he or she gets relevant results from his Google circle and connected "people and pages from Google Plus", in addition to the results from other websites. This directly influences the visibility and ranking of the searched keywords.
The following are a few other reasons why Google+ should be imbibed as an integral part of the SEO strategy.
Get social with the target audience
Google+ is a presence point which enables you to be found, share your content and leverage it for SEO. As the viewers reaching the content are the target audience, it enhances the relevance of the content on Google, thereby influencing the organic search result. With Google+, the web presence is broadened and strengthened, leading to higher organic ranking.
Content is still the king
With all the principles of SEO still holding strong, original, informative and engaging content is still the king and sharing consistent and optimized web content is an important element of SEO. Google+ offers another dynamic platform to publish and share blogs, articles, web content, news and the like. Publishing high quality content leads to high social signal.
Social signals such as, 'like' on Facebook or '+1' on Google are becoming a measurement of the relevance of the content. These social signals are bound to weigh heavily in Google's search algorithm and would soon be considered the reincarnation of backlinks.
Though it is quite early to pass a verdict on Google+ and its influence on SEO, there are a few signals from Google which cannot be ignored: Google+ metrics will be imbibed in the Google Webmaster Tool, its business pages would soon meet Facebook pages head on and it is bound to influence Google social results.
While the final impact remains to be seen, one thing is for sure: Google+ is here to stay. The ideal approach would be to associate with an established SEO company and leverage its expertise for social media optimization and mark your presence before it crowds in. It is always better to assess all possibilities and make the first move instead of jumping on the bandwagon and getting lost in a swarm.
Shabir MS is the founder of SEOValley, which is one of the top search engine optimization companies in the world and has helped thousands of companies grow their businesses as a result of its unique, cost-effective, results-oriented approach to internet marketing services and solutions. SEOValley was founded in 2001, at a time when there were just a handful of SEO companies and not much was heard about the Internet Marketing.