When you have written an article and posted it on your website, your work is far from finished. Promote, Promote, Promote! There are many places and Google+ should be on your to-do list.
Don’t assume that people will simply find posts on your blog or website once you post them. They won’t and you must promote them daily, weekly and monthly. Never stop!
It starts with making sure it appears on the home page, but that is just the first step and you must promote your posts across social networks. In this article I look specifically at Google+ but there are other places to promote your site, see Secrets to successful social media promotion.
Why promote with Google+?
People have been talking about the death of Google+ for years and the truth is that it has never taken off to the extent that Google would have liked. However, it is far from dead and certain parts are quite active and there are lots of people busily interacting with each other.
Facebook has 2 billion users and it dwarfs all other social networks, so obviously that is a great place to promote you site, but there are millions of people on Google+, so it is not to be ignored.
How many people are active on Google’s social network? It is hard to find any recent or accurate figures and they range from 100 to 200 million. The number of highly active people posting multiple times a day could be one tenth of this. However, that is still a lot of people and wherever there are large numbers of people, you should be promoting your site.
We can only guess at the numbers of people using Google+ daily, but there is one other thing to consider. Google+ is run by the company with the biggest search engine on the internet. Google search is massive and it compiles its database of websites and web content by indexing everything it can find on the internet.
- Millions of active users you can promote your site to
- Google+ posts can appear in Google search results
- Build up following or community in your area of interest
Google monitors Google+ posts and any links that are shared can end up among search results. Have you noticed them when searching for stuff at Google? Posting on Google+ is another way to inform Google that you have new and interesting content on your website.
Does it work?
In the last 30 days I posted 51 times, which is less than twice a day, and got 55,490 views, 122 comments and 433 +1s. And 24 people followed my profile, seeing everything I post, and 9 followed collections.
OK, it is not in the same league as Facebook or Pinterest, but it is still a good number and for one or two posts a day, which is a couple of minutes of your time, it is worth doing.
Get a Google+ account
Most people have a Google account and it is standard on Android phones, millions of people use Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs and other Google services. The same username and password is used to log in to Google+ at plus.google.com. If you do not have an account, create one.
Google+ Home feed
Although the menus, buttons and screen layout is very different to Facebook, it actually works in a very similar way. You post comments, links, photos and videos on your home feed, just as with Facebook. Posts are public and you can see my posts at https://plus.google.com/+RolandWaddilove
The home feed also shows posts from other people you follow. In many ways it is like Facebook with a different layout.
Google+ home feed = Facebook news feed
Posts even have a ‘like’ button, although Google+ calls it +1. Click the +1 when you want to show you like a post from other people and others will +1 your posts if they like them in return. Google will regard posts with lots of +1s more highly than those without, so it could be more likely to feature them in search results. It seems reasonable to assume that +1s help with search engine ranking.
These are a way to organise your Google+ posts into categories, instead of just a never-ending stream of random posts. If you have a food website, you could create collections for main courses, desserts, snacks, vegetarian recipes, or whatever suits your site content. If you have a sport website, you could create a collection for each sport, like football, golf, tennis and so on.
Whenever you post a new article on your site, add it to the appropriate collection instead of just adding it to the home feed. People will follow collections when they have an interest in the topic. If you are a Pinterest fan, think of Google+ collections as the equivalent of Pinterest boards.
Google+ Collections = Pinterest Boards
Click Discover on the left to see collections.
Click VIEW ALL on the right to see all collections organised onto three tabs.
Featured: Collections that Google+ thinks might interest you or ones that are popular or trending.
Following: The collections you are following. Follow collections listed on the Featured tab or use the search box at the top of the page to find collections. Just enter a keyword or two related to your interest. Click the FOLLOW link on any collection you want to follow. Following a collection is like following on Facebook or Pinterest and you see the latest posts in your home feed.
Yours: This tab shows the collections you have created and a button to create new ones. Create collections to contain your posts organised by category and then add comments, links, photos and videos.
Google+ collections can be used to post both your content and that of others. Pinterest works great if you share as many pins from others as you post yourself and the same technique should be applied to Google+ collections. Post your own stuff and post others’ and build your collections into valuable resources that people want to follow.
People that follow a collection of yours will see your posts on their home feed.
Create a Google+ collection
- Click Discover in the sidebar
- Click VIEW ALL to the right of Collections
- Click Create a collection
- Enter a title for the collection
- Set the visibility to Public
- Enter the subtitle/description
- Click Create
- Optional – select the colour and image
Create as many collections as you need for different topics and then post your content and other people’s in them. Here are some of my collections – all tech or blog related because that’s my subject. Choose your own topics for your collections.
If people follow you on Google+ and you create a collection, they automatically follow the collection. It’s like Pinterest where if you follow the account, you follow all the boards.
A community on Google+ is a place where people with the same interests can chat, post messages, photos, videos, and links. A community should be dedicated to a specific topic, such as Cute Dogs, Scuba Diving, Delicious Korean Food and so on. Those are real communities on Google+ and there are thousands covering every topic you can imagine.
You are probably familiar with Facebook groups and Google+ communities are the same thing. You can create communities of your own, you can join communities created by others, you can chat with like minded people in communities, get help, and share links to your site or posts.
Google+ Communities = Facebook Groups
Select Communities in the sidebar. Right down at the bottom of the page is a Discover More button that shows featured and recommended communities. Click the JOIN link in any community you want to be a member of. It is not the only way to find communities and the search box at the top can be used to search for keywords in community titles or descriptions.
Create a Google+ community
There are hundreds, probably thousands of communities you can join, but if you really want one of your own, it is easy to create one.
- Click Communities in the sidebar
- Click NEW COMMUNITY
- Enter a name
- Set the visibility to Public
- Choose whether people can click to join or must ask
- Click DONE
Whether you create your own community or join others, they can be a great place to promote your website, products and services. Some communities have nearly a million members!
- Search for communities in your interest area
- Join communities related to your subject
- Create your own community if you like a challenge
- Post your content and other people’s in your community and other people’s
It can be hard to get people to join your community unless you put a lot of effort into promoting it. However, it can be a great way to get people interested in your subject area, whether it is food, sport, tech, dogs, cats, sci-fi, and so on.
Maintaining a busy community takes time and effort. Like Facebook groups, you occasionally get troublemakers who post spam, negative comments and even porn links. As the owner, you need to watch for this and if necessary, kick people out, remove posts and so on. People you trust can be designated as moderators to do this for you.
Some communities have tens or even hundreds of thousands of members, so you can potentially reach a lot of people.
Google+ posting strategy
As with other social networks, you will get more people following you, more +1s, more people following your collections and joining your communities if you post links and content other than your own. Post comments, ideas, thoughts and become part of the social network.
At first sight it does not seem to make sense to promote other people’s content, possibly rivals, but it works. You gain more than you lose. Share anything that is interesting and relevant to your niche whether it is yours or not.
So how often can you post to Google+? Spam has been a problem on the social network and these days if you are posting more than 5 times a day the service might tag you as a spammer.
It is very tempting to join as many communities as you can and when there is a new post on your site, post the link in every one of them. That is a bad idea because it looks spammy to Google+ and to people who, like you, belong to multiple groups.
Less is more!
You get more exposure from a small number of shares than from a lot. It might not sound like a good strategy to post twice a day when you could post 20 times, but it works and it is a sort of quality vs quantity thing. Find a good community that is in your niche and share a link to your latest article, if the community allows it (not all do).
Share one link to a post on your site, one not shared this week, and then join in the discussions, commenting on other posts.
Build up your collections by adding content to them, such as your posts and others’ posts. Only add one item a day though.
Always include a couple of descriptive sentences with each link you share and make sure it is unique every time. Never write the same thing twice and never share the same thing twice in a row.
- Join Google+ if you haven’t already done so
- Use the Search box at the top to find people to follow. They may follow back
- Select Discovery in the sidebar and create collections to organise your posts
- Post your own website updates and also interesting articles you find on the web in your collections
- Use the Search box at the top to find collections to follow. You may get a follow back
- Select Communities on the left, use Search at the top or Discover More at the bottom to find Communities in your niche
- Post links to communities and collections whenever the opportunity arises but don’t relentlessly spam them