I’ll admit it. I hated Google+ when I first got it. After getting used to it, I’ve found a lot of different benefits to having Google+. It’s a nicer platform for sharing content than Twitter, it isn’t as crowded as Facebook, and it isn’t as formal as LinkedIn. Google+ also has SEO benefits to posting, as some links from Google+ are followed links, and content is indexed quickly.

Interested in trying it out? Let me show you how to get your profile set up and effectively post on Google+.

Let’s get started.

Go to accounts.google.com. If you have a gmail account, you likely already have a Google+ account, but if you don’t, you can select “I prefer to use my current email address” and sign up.

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When you’ve created your account, go to plus.google.com. There you will be prompted to create your public profile. Follow the directions and fill out information.

Add co-workers, friends, connections, thought-leaders, and etc. You can create different circles to add them to (“Industry Leaders”, “Friends”). They won’t know what circles you add them to, so you can make your own way to sort them.

Follow organizations and people and pages that are relevant to your industry and your interests – your favorite blogger, fellow business owners, musical artists you enjoy, and your teenager’s friends (just kidding).

Add a profile picture that makes you look about 3.75 years younger than you admit to and finish.

Once you’re in, go to your dashboard to add more information. Remember, Google+ is a cross between Facebook and LinkedIn, and you control your privacy settings – so if you don’t want people to know all your details, make sure you adjust those settings (under profile and privacy).

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Guide to your Dashboard:

  1. Edit your profile. This takes you directly to your Google+ Page, where you can click on “edit” under any section.
  2. This is where you can edit who can view your information, add you to circles, how you show up in search, etc.
  3. Your Google+ notifications (If someone +1s your post, adds you to a circle, etc).

Editing your Google+ Page

Once you go to your Google+ profile (click your picture in the top right corner and select “view profile” OR by mouse over “Home” on the far left side and select “Profile), click the “ABOUT” tab. Under each section you can click “edit” and add information.

Google does a great job of providing prompts and helping you select information to add.

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Under links you can claim your Google+ vanity URL . This cannot be changed after you pick it, so BE VERY CAREFUL. You can also add your website, your blog, your social media links and more under “links”.

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Posting on Google+

Posting on Google+ is pretty simple and explanatory. To start, click on “Posts” (next to About in the top navigation). Here you can add photos, links, video, events, and more!

Photos:

Google+ users have the option to add a high quality photo into a post either by dragging and dropping photos into the post from your computer, uploading a photo from your computer or selecting an image from Google+ photos which has already been uploaded or shared on your Google+ account.

Many Google+ users have discovered the “Pinterest effect”  happening on Google+. In a small experiment conducted by Dustin W. Stout, he found that using a photo image instead of a link when creating a post resulted in higher+1’s and re-shares. Using the photo option to add a full size, high quality image is a great way to make your posts stand out and capture the attention of your audience. For any photos that you share that are not your own, make sure you have the full permission from the original creator.

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Links:

Users have the option to share URLs by clicking the link icon (#2) and adding or dragging a link into the share box. While this type of sharing may not be as visually engaging as sharing a high quality, full size photo, there are other “SEO” benefits from this type of sharing as Google+ will automatically make links shared in this box a followed link which pass link equity back to its destination page. Links shared in the body of the post (#1) automatically have a nofollow attribute added to them.

Does it matter if my links are nofollow?

Google still relies heavily on links and its link graph to evaluate the authority of a webpage, website or other profile. More authoritative websites and web properties may have a better chance at receiving increased visibility in Google’s results pages for relevant search queries.

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Video:

Google+ provides the option to attach videos to posts when sharing. Users can add a video URL by clicking on the link icon or can access the following video sharing options by clicking on the video icon:
  • Search for a video – This option includes the YouTube search bar which makes finding and sharing videos on YouTube easy.
  • Enter a URL – If you have the URL to a video, simply paste it in the form field.
  • Your YouTube videos – Share an existing video from a connected YouTube channel.
  • Record video – Immediately create and share a new video.
  • Upload video – Upload a new video directly from your computer.

Events:

Google+ users can easily create and share events in posts by clicking on the Event icon, selecting the type of Event you’d like to create in Event options and completing the form fields. Google+ events can be hangouts, events on air, connected to Hangouts On Air, customized with different themes and will also allow event guests to add photos and videos to the event.

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Styling and Engagement

Google+ has provided us with a few formatting tools for text when creating your posts including bold, strikethrough and italics.

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Google+ is great because posts can be longer – almost like a micro blogging platform. You aren’t limited to 140 characters, and you can do cool formatting too. I always like to start with a bolded title to draw attention there.

Hook Your Readers

2014-04-11_0955Writing a catchy a headline or title and making it bold using asterisks is a great way to attract attention. To keep your title from spilling on to the second line of your post, try to keep it under 60 characters. Make the first sentence of your summary compelling. Google+ will show the first three lines of a post with an option to “show more”, so make sure that these first two sentences leave the reader wanting more.

Attaching Links

If I’m attaching a link, I like to summarize it in a sentence of two, and if I have more to say – I’ll break each section into headings. Again, you can use the formatting I showed you perviously.

When sharing URLs using the photo option, you’ll often want to include links back to a resource that’s relevant to the photo. Full URLs can often be intrusive and disrupt the flow of your post. Using a URL shortening tool like Google’s URL shortening service or bit.ly is a good way to keep your post from looking cluttered and also allows you to track the clicks you receive on each shortened URL.

Bring Others Users Into Conversations

If you want to tag someone in your post, you can do so by using the + symbol and their name. Google should suggest users based on what you are typing and tag them for you. You can also do this with brands.

Notifications are a great way to bring other users into the conversation. It’s generally considered good etiquette to notify the author or original creator of a post you’re sharing or to provide a hat tip (h/t) to a user who originally shared a post that you’ve also shared.

Hashtag Search

Did you know you could search hashtags and see trends in Google? It’s not a new thing, but Sarah covered it nicely on our blog in October. Add relevant #hashtags for additional post discovery in Google+ or Google Search.Google+ will suggest popular hashtags or may add one to your post if you forget or choose not to manually add a hashtag, Google may add one for you.

You’re Ready!

Now that your profile is set up and you know how to post effectively on Google+, you’re well on your way to becoming a google+ all-star!

Still have questions about Google+? Connect with Web Talent Marketing on Google+ and get more advice and tips!