As many are aware, Google decided to drop showing authorship images from its search results. Previously, as you may have noticed, when you ran a search on Google, some of the search results would display the author’s image next to the search result. In fact, I even took the time to show you how to setup Google authorship.
Unfortunately, that ship has sailed. It was fun while it lasted.
But does that mean Google+ should no longer be part of your overall digital marketing strategy?
I was recently asked this question on Twitter:
@ChrisMakara Does it matter anymore, without Google authorship? 🙂
— Jane Serra (@JSerraMktg) September 17, 2014
My thoughts are that it shouldn’t be ignored.
Sure, none of your friends might be on it. And that is ok.
Remember, there was a time that MySpace was the place to be and no one was going to leave it. Ever. I’m not saying Facebook will go extinct, I just wouldn’t be surprised if there is a shift in the years to come.
One of the requirements to have authorship setup was that you needed a Google+ account. Depending on your industry, you might have set up your Google+ account and never logged in again.
It might be time you revisit Google+ to see all that it offers.
One example is that there are thriving communities for many topics. If your topic does not have a community, now is a great time to start one up and set you (or your company) up as the leader in the space. This is a particularly great idea, especially if you have been struggling to gain traction on other social sites due to saturation from competition.
Even if there are established communities, there’s no reason you can’t jump in and establish your brand as a leader and ultimately generate leads.
While communities are just one way you can utilize Google+, I reveal several other ways to use Google+ for lead generation.
There’s no doubt that authorship helped drive more click-throughs to your website from organic search, but have you tried using Google+ to drive referral traffic to your website?
If you are already active on Google+, this shouldn’t be news to you.
However, if you abandoned your Google+ profile after initially setting it up for authorship, you are going to want to start being a bit more active.
Like other social sites, Google+ is a great way to share your content. Not only are there engaged users on Google+, but you can actually see the effect your post has with your followers.
A few days ago on Google+, I posted up a picture and link to an older blog post on my site. You can see the post here. In a matter of moments the post was quickly shared. Just take a look at the first day!
Sure, social shares are great, but what about traffic driven from Google+?
Looking at referral traffic for that day, I can see that 197 visits came from Google+ to this specific post. While note a huge amount of traffic, it is not bad for sharing a single update.
Don’t fall prey to false information. Google+ is far from a ghost town. Did you know that Google+ has over 300,000,000 active monthly users? That is 300 MILLION!
If you are interested, I debunk a few Google+ myths in this post.
With over 300 million active users, you better believe members of your target audience are alive and well on Google+. The trick is to find active engagers who are sharing content on Google+. You’ll want to reach out to these users in order to have your content shared.
While I haven’t yet developed a semi-automated system like I have used for Twitter, there are some things you can look out for. Here is the best way I have found users who have a higher chance of sharing what I post on Google+.
The easiest thing to do is to look for Google+ users who are already sharing on Google+. You can look at specific community pages, business pages, competitor accounts and more. Simply look at the more recent posts and find out who is leaving comments, sharing, or even giving the content a “+1.”
Visit these user profiles and see if it looks like they are a good fit to share your content. If so, simply add them to your circles.
Take a few minutes and do this once a day if possible. Over time, you will have built up a nice group of users who are actively sharing content on Google+.
Do you typically share older content on Twitter? If not, you should. The same tactic can be applied to Google+. Just because the content was not posted to your site today does not mean it should drift off into oblivion.
Instead, recycle or reshare older content on Google+.
Chances are that your Google+ audience has not seen it before. Not only does it give you something to post for your new-found engagers, but it will likely lead to them resharing the content with others in their circles.
For example, the post I shared above on Google+ was published on my blog 9 months ago.
When looking for older content to share on Google+, try to find some of your evergreen content. This type of content lends itself to easily be shared again at a later date.
Even though this is only one reason to consider making Google+ part of your digital marketing strategy, it does show why Google+ is still important even though authorship is dead.
Using Google Plus for traffic referrals is a no brainer.
Unlike Twitter, it is much harder for your content to only be visible for a few seconds before drifting off no where to be found. Google+ posts tend to be a bit more sticky when being reshared by others which helps keep your content appearing front and center of engaged readers.
Of course, overtime there will be decay of the post. No worries, you can always post it up again at a later date if you need to. Please note there are other factors like the quality of your post and the typical engagement of your followers which can impact the effects of your post.
I’ve said my piece, now it’s your turn. Sound off in the comments below and let me know what you do in order to drive traffic to your website from Google+.
Or, if this blog post is making you want to get back on Google+ feel free to let me know if you have any questions.