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How to Use the Potential of Google+ to Increase Website Traffic.

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You might think that when it comes to increasing traffic on your website, the best solutions out there are social media like Facebook or Twitter. Believing this, you miss out on the great potential of Google+ – it is, after all, a service integrated with other Google platforms, which means that when considering Google+, you’re looking at other potential touch points like Google Search or YouTube.

Facebook pages have been recently losing their reach, giving way to new strategies and services, such as Google+. Building a considerable audience base is something Google can help with– there are more than 500 million people that interact with Google products every month.

A significant increase of traffic from Google+ can only happen, however, if your audience is actively engaged. Here are some steps to help you improve the Google+ engagement right now.

Great Headlines

When posting with Google+, headlines are simply a must. Your audience is more likely to get engaged with your posts if they stand out from the crowd – and that can be achieved by using catchy or interesting headlines.

When adding a headline to your post, you must be aware of two facts. First, the headline will be incorporated into the title tag of the post. Second – the headline will be displayed in Google Search results.

The right headline will help your post to be visible in the search results, and so can truly affect the number of people who decide to click on your post and connect with your brand.

Post Formatting

Don’t shy away from long texts in your Google+ posts. Long texts have already been proven to work, but not in large blocks of unintelligible text. That’s why it’s important to break the text to make your post easier to scan or read – rendering it more accessible to an audience bombarded with countless posts every minute.

To continue the headline topic – writing it in bold will reinforce its basic objective of standing out.

Apart from the post headline, you can enrich the structure of your post with the following formulas:

_italic_

*bold*

-strikethrough-

You can mix and match the styles, for example: _*boldanditalic*_

In order to create a numbered list, use the following:

*1.* First point

*2.* Second point

*3.* Third point

To create a link, just add the http:// – http://example.com.

And there are of course the hashtags (more on those later):

#Hashtag1

#Hashtag2

Post Content – Words

As I mentioned earlier, long posts are more efficient than short ones – they just need to be structured well to be digestible and include a summary of the most important points presented in the content you’re posting about.

You can add some extra info – explaining why you think the issue is important, or why you chose to take up this subject, what inspired you to do it. This will provide some additional context to the post, which will have a better chance at interesting your audience enough to click and share.

Adding a short description of the content is just a few minutes of your time, but it might turn a post to a highly shareable one – allowing for thousands of people get familiar with your content and brand.

Post Content – Images

The visuals are key to sparking the interest of users in your content. Check the top posts on Google+. Do they include images? Absolutely! The truth behind it is simple – images are nice and easy to share. People often share visual posts on a whim – something that demonstrates the efficiency of this medium in transmitting ideas and abstract concepts.

Google+ will include an image to any URL you share by default – the danger is that the images might not be of high quality or right size, successfully ruining the prospects of your post. Defining the right Open Graph images and setting the right social meta tags does the trick here.

It’s best, however, not to rely on Google to fit an image to your post – you can simply do a better job. When uploading your picture to a post, remember that the image will link to its full-sized version, not the URL you meant to share – don’t forget about including the link to your intended URL in the text of your post.

Optimize Your Posts for SEO

Every industry has some characteristic keywords that work to optimize your effort in SEO. Those keywords should be used in your Google+ posts.

The first words of your post will be considered its title – be sure to use at least one of your keywords in here. The content itself is valuable for search engines and will be searched for those keywords as well.

Of course, Google itself is going to index it all in their own SEO process. If you use those keywords a bit too extensively, your page might even lose its ranking position. Google is also going to note that your content is not valuable, no one is engaged with it and it never gets a +1.

Share with a Target

Sharing your posts efficiently means sharing them smart. If you think setting your posts to go ‘public’ is a way to maximize their visibility, you’re in for a surprise. A really efficient way to share your content is through specific sharing settings that, if not overly used, can bring some considerable results.

It works like this: add circles and individuals to your sharing setting – that way you’ll make sure that all of them get a notification that you shared your post with them.

That’s not something you should do for every single post of course – save it for your most important or popular ones. People in circles can also be notified by email, provided they have their email notification set up correctly. This function needs extra care – people will hate your content if you spam them!

Benefit From Google+ Comments

Just like the Facebook commenting system, the Google+ comment box can be embed on your blog. When visitors leave a comment on your website, they can additionally share it with their Google+ followers. This can be a great opportunity for increasing the engagement of your audience.

Officially, the comments section works exclusively for the Google blogging platform, Blogger. If you use WordPress or Drupal, however, you can benefit from several plug-ins and solutions that allow Google+ comment section to still be embed on your blog.

Use Hashtags

We’re used to hashtags on Twitter and Facebook, but on Google+ they take up a totally different role in organizing and recommending content. Together with semantic analysis, Google uses hashtags to determine relationships between topics. You can actually have a say about with what kind of content Google will associate your posts.

Google adds relevant hashtags to any post with textual content by default, so it’s best to add your own hashtags either at the end or within the body of each post.

Interactive Google Posts

Interactive posts offer a way to customize how content is shared, as well as inspire your audience to take a specific action. Those actions can be embed in your post – have a look at this list. Among the actions you find, for instance: sign up for a newsletter, watch a video, open an app, or even reserve a table at the restaurant.

Use Followed Links to Your Advantage

In the early days of Google+, all links would be followed ones and SEO specialists were really happy about it. Of course, no paradise can last forever – Google has since replaced most of the equity passing followed links with nofollow. There’s one exception to this though, and it’s Public +1’s.

This means that if a visitor +1s your content without sharing it on their stream, the share will result in a followed link, as long as the user has his +1’s set to ‘public’. This is one of the last places to pass link equity on Google+, so benefit from it as long as you can.

Google +Post Ads

This is something that simply guarantees massive exposure – Google takes the most popular posts and displays them as ads on their display network. Thanks to this functionality, users who wouldn’t normally interact with your brand on Google+ alone, will have a chance to see your content.

+Post Ads is a feature that present a real opportunity for businesses to attract customers at different stages of the buying cycle and keep them engaged through social media.

This is a real novelty, so only time will tell how effective can +Post Ads be for marketers.

This article was contributed by Monica Wells of bizdb.co.uk – a brand new business directory that takes the search for English companies to the next level.

Marketme

Marketme

Marketme is a leading small business to small business news, marketing advice and product review website. Supporting business across the UK with sponsored article submissions and promotions to a community of over 50,000 on Twitter.

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