Google+ as a means to get better search rankings is shaping up to be a pretty sound strategy as correlation data and SEO professionals agree to its possible positive effects.
Despite Google+’s obvious SEO advantages, many website owners and social media marketers who are not aware of its SEO “side effects” often commit mistakes that leads to lost opportunity. These mistakes may not be directly detrimental to your SEO efforts, but the missed opportunities are significant enough to pay attention and correct them.
Read on to see if you’ve been committing some of the mistakes yourself, and to find out what you can do to address the issues immediately.
Mistake #1 – Not using the rel= tags
The authorship and publisher tags allow you to claim your content and link it to your Google+ profile. It not only tells Google which content you own, helping you in terms of authorship signals (a factor many SEOs believe will grow in significance in the future), but also giving you better visibility in results pages since your author information will appear along with the link, including your profile photo and a short description of your content. Note that you can (and should) add the authorship markup to your posts appearing on other websites/blogs. So ask for such a concession when submitting content.
Mistake #2 – Linking your content to “shell” profiles
I have seen this mistake time again, with ill-advised website owners making shell Google+ profiles that have only a handful (if that many) people on their circles, and nothing but links to their own pages as posts. In an attempt to take advantage of Google’s authorship markup, they link their content to these profiles without realizing that the links do not end up with very little value since no one really reads them nor re-shares them, which means they get nothing out of it in terms of direct traffic or even accumulated internal links from Google+ users.
If you were to link your content to a Google+ profile, it would make more impact if you link it to an active profile of a real person with a strong Google+ network.
Mistake #3 – Non-optimised Google+ posts
The reason that Google+ is so great for SEO is that the posts are structured in such a way that makes each post earn “editorial links”. However, you want to make the most of the link juice you get from your posts by optimizing the post. If you simply post a link on Google+, you’ll be missing out big time on important SEO factors like keyword signals and additional link juice from possible re-shares.
For a Google+ post to be optimized, the first thing you need to do is make sure that you add a commentary for each post. Don’t just post the link! Give relevant information about the link to people on your circle, encouraging them to actually check out what the link is about and hopefully +1 or re-share the post. Don’t skimp on words either because it is reported that “various correlation studies have shown a strong relationship between longer pages and higher rankings”. You should also place keywords in your anchor text as well as the first 50 characters of your post to help Google extract information about the contents of the post.