Building Website Traffic with Google+ in 2017
Google+ in 2017? No, it’s not dead and yes, it’s still great for marketing.
Before we get into how to build website traffic with Google+, let’s review the unique benefits of the platform that everyone thought was dead. We’re going to assume that it’s been quite some time since you thought about Google+, let alone actually used it. Year after year, tech publications write about how it’s “still somehow alive”, despite the strong traffic that can still be gained from it. Even though the platform tanked in its mission to compete with Facebook for many reasons, you should still strongly consider using Google+ as a marketing channel. Here’s why;
Google+ referrals are extremely engaged. It’s kind of funny writing this article since there aren’t any recent studies on Google+, but back in a 2014 Shareaholic study of social media traffic, it was ranked as the social network with the 2nd most engaged traffic, losing out to only YouTube.
Individual Google+ posts are treated by Google as their own web pages. This means they can rank for keywords, just like a blog post on your own website. With just the right planning, you can actually rank a blog post alongside your Google+ posts, essentially dominating the first page of Google.
Google+ hashtags are like hashtags on steroids because it uses them in an entirely unique way. Google uses semantic analysis to determine phrases related to a hashtag and make your post visible to a much wider audience. Think of Google+ hashtags like LSI keywords.
If someone has added you on Google+ and they search for something on Google that you’ve posted about on Google+, your posts will automatically rank above every other website. For those that built up a strong list of Google+ contacts back when it was the sexy, new social network, you’re going to have an easy time building Google+ traffic in 2017.
Find and Join Google+ Communities
Posting in Google+ Communities should be treated delicately since they’re user created and user run. This means they each have their own sets of rules and posting guidelines. It also means that readers have different expectations. Many frown upon new members posting their blog articles immediately after joining so make sure to read their community rules. In that sense, it’s very similar to reddit marketing - where every subreddit needs to be approached with a completely different strategy. Google+ traffic is extremely engaged, unlike reddit, which actually gives some of the least engaged traffic of any social network.
Respect the community rules or be swiftly banned or completely ignored in the future. The best way to success on Google+ is to genuinely become a valuable member of each of the Communities you join. Every now and then, submit content that isn’t yours so that when it’s time to share your own blog content, the active members will be more receptive to your posts. It’s a lesson straight from Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. Give a lot, ask a little. It works, trust us.
Share posts with extremely targeted Circles of your Google+ contacts.
Things have changed with how Circles work on Google+ in 2017. Or maybe it happened years ago and no one noticed. We sure as hell didn’t. Anyway, you have to manually enable sharing with individual Circle now. Sharing with a Circle gives them an email notification by default. f they’ve disabled email notifications, they get a Google notification that just lingers in the top right corner whenever they use a Google service like Gmail or YouTube. It’s likely they haven’t enabled email notifications and when they get that email, there’s a high chance they’ll open it thinking, “Who the fuck uses Google+ still?” We’ve successfully used this to reach out to journalists that we already had in our network and found it to be more effective than sending them a regular email pitch since their inbox is cluttered with story pitches anyways.
Sharing website content to Google+ will remain an effective tactic ‘til it really dies.
We’ve taken pride in finding alternative channels to use to build traffic, but even we were shocked at realizing Google+ could be used to gain extremely engaged traffic, even in 2017. How long will this marketing channel last? No one truly knows, so let’s take advantage of the market gap while we can. Its unique features make it a powerful tool for anyone writing blog content. Google+ has supercharged hashtags that act like keywords, individual posts act as webpages in Google Search’s eyes and it can also be used to send Google (email) notifications to those in your network. Powerful stuff.
The Takeaway: Don't write off Google+ just yet. Most people have forgotten it but it still remains an effective channel for building targeted web traffic. Share all of your blog content to your Google+ profile with relevant hashtags. Share them into niche Communities. Create targeted Circles and blast journalists with notifications when you think you can strike a home run.