When you have written an article and posted it on your site, your work is far from finished. Promote, Promote, Promote! There are many places and Google+ should be on your to-do list.
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 10 to 20 million 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.
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. It’s really just 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 follow collections because they have an interest in the topic.
Google+ Collections = Pinterest Boards
If you are a Pinterest fan, think of Google+ collections as the equivalent of Pinterest boards.
Click Collections on the left and there are three tabs:
Featured: This tab shows collections that Google+ thinks might interest you or ones that are very popular. Your collections may appear as featured ones to other people’s. There’s no control over this and people will probably find your collections by searching for keywords.
Following: This tab shows the communities you are following. Follow communities 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 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 collection
- Click Collections in the sidebar
- Click the Yours tab
- Click the plus button
- 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-related because that’s my subject.
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.
Google+ Communities = Facebook Groups
With 2bn people on Facebook, you are probably familiar with Facebook groups. 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 promote your site.
Select Communities in the sidebar and there are three tabs:
Recommended: Select this tab and Google+ will recommend communities it thinks you might be interested in or popular ones that appeal to a lot of people. Click the JOIN link under 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.
Member: This tab shows the communities you have joined. Click it and then click a community to see the latest posts and chat from members.
Yours: This tab enables you to create communities. Like Facebook groups, it can be hard to get people to join 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 other undesirable things. 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.
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 the Yours tab
- Click Create a 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
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 other than your own. As a minimum, share one to one – one link of yours and one link to someone else’s content.
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.
So how often can you post to Google+? It depends on where you post and what you post. If you post 10 items a day to your home feed, people who follow you might be irritated. However, if you post one item in each of 10 communities, people will see just one post and it does not irritate. Spread your posts through the communities you belong to or own.
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 community. That is a bad idea because it looks spammy to Google+ and to people who, like you, belong to multiple groups.
Let’s say you join 5 Google+ communities – I’ll number them 1 to 5. Let’s also say you have 5 recipes on your food website. You would post like this:
Community 1 = Chicken recipe
Community 2 = Fish recipe
Community 3 = Beef recipe
Community 4 = Pancake recipe
Community 5 = Cookie recipe
You then post a new article on your site called Pasta recipe. You would post like this:
Community 1 = Pasta recipe
Community 2 = Chicken recipe
Community 3 = Fish recipe
Community 4 = Beef recipe
Community 5 = Pancake recipe
The next post on your site is is Pizza recipe. You would post like this:
Community 1 = Pizza recipe
Community 2 = Pasta recipe
Community 3 = Chicken recipe
Community 4 = Fish recipe
Community 5 = Beef recipe
Can you see how this works? Each post gets pushed down the list and is promoted just once in each community. Every community gets a different post and this means it does not look spammy.
It might sound like a lot of work, but you can saved 15 tabs as a set of bookmarks on the bookmarks folder in Chrome. Right click it and select Open all bookmarks. Each Google+ community then opens on a tab.
I then open a tab on the home page or archive page of my site, anywhere where there is a chronological list of the articles on my site. So I have a list of articles and a bunch of Google+ tabs, and then just copy and paste a link, copy and paste a link on each tab until there are none left. You can post to 15 or more Google+ communities in 10 minutes or so.
This type of promotion is slow and steady, and brings in a few visitors each day. With 15 groups, it is over two weeks till some people see a post as it works down the list.
Get my 50 Shares A Day PDF and you’ll find 50 places to share your links every day. Remember not to post the same link everywhere, which is so spammy. Use the technique above to post different links to different places.
- 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 Collections 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
- Use the Search box at the top to find Communities to join in your subject area
- Select Communities in the sidebar, click the Member tab, click a community and engage in discussions
- Post links to communities whenever the opportunity arises, but don’t relentlessly spam them