Social media is taking over the internet. Facebook accounts for nearly 10% of all internet traffic worldwide, which is a massive amount for a single site. Not to be outdone by Mark Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook, the Google team at Mountain View in California set out to create their social media platform to rival Facebook. The result of their hard work is Google+. This article will look at Google+, explaining how best to get started with it while providing tips to help make the most of its features and functionality.
What Social Media Sites are Used For
Social media sites like Google+ (and Facebook and Twitter) enable easy communication among large groups of people. Google+ users can build up a network of friends by adding other Google+ users to their ‘circles’. Users can post status updates for their friends to see, they can chat with their friends, they can share photographs, send messages, and more.
Friend management is better with Google+ due to Google’s ‘circle’ concept. Friends can be grouped into a group known as a circle, and circles can be interacted with individually. For example, a circle could be created specifically for friends who are interested in football and status messages related to football would only be viewable by friends in the football circle.
Arguably the biggest advantage of Google+ is its integration with Google’s services and its ease of sharing content among groups of friends.
How Google+ Can Increase Traffic
Google+ can influence the amount of traffic a website gets in two ways.
The first is through sharing links and content among groups of friends. Many websites across the internet now feature ‘share on Google+’ buttons where, upon clicking, Google+ users will share a link to that particular website on their Google+ feed. This functionality greatly mirrors that of Facebook’s ‘like’ button.
Secondly, Google+ can also affect the position of a website in Google’s search engine results.
Matt Cutts, the leader of the Google Search team, recently stated that social signals such as the amount of Google+ shares are being measured to decide the quality of a website. In Google’s eyes, if a site has been shared a many times on Google+, it is more likely that it is a high quality site, which indicates to Google that it deserves a higher ranking on the search engine results pages.
Google also shows websites that have been shared by friends at the top of the Google search engine results when searching for topics related to the website. So if a friend shared a link to a football blog that they find to be of a high quality, it will show up at a high position in the Google search results for the search term ‘football’. The link will also contain some text next to it stating “[name of friend] has shared this content”, thereby influencing users to click on it as it seems more like a recommendation from a friend instead of a search result delivered by Google’s search engine algorithm.
How Google+ can be integrated into a WordPress blog
The WordPress developer community has fully embraced Google+, releasing a variety of plugins that makes it easy to integrate Google+ functionality into a WordPress site. Simply performing a quick search for ‘Google+’ on the WordPress plugins page will yield dozens of results with links to plugins that can add easily add Google+ features to a WordPress blog.
Arguably the most important plugin to install is a Google+ share widget. This will allow visitors to the WordPress site to easily share a link to the site with their Google+ friends with just a single click.
It’s also important to set up a Google+ account for each WordPress site. That way, Google+ users will be able to add the site’s Google+ account as a friend and they will be updated of any new content added to the site through their Google+ feed. This can greatly increase the amount of repeat visitors to a site, while also helping to foster a community on Google+ based around the site.
Useful Google+ Plugins
Google Plus Authorship – a simple way to link your blog with your Google+ persona. Doing this will make your Google+ profile display in Google search results alongside the articles you have written.
Google Plus One Button – a simple way to add Googles +1 buttons throughout your website, allowing people to easily like and share your content on the Google social network.
The Google+ plugin – an interesting plugin that does standard things like add +1 buttons to your site, but it also allows you to update your website by posting on Google+. I’ll admit that I haven’t tried it myself, but the concept is interesting – and I always like to try things that simplify the amount of work I have to do!
Google+, Google’s answer to Facebook, has had a slow start – but with the power of Google behind it it can only grow. Google are adding new functionality very quickly – and active user numbers are slowly growing. The fact that Google+ interactions have an influence on search rankings means that it’s well worth websites setting up Google+ pages sooner rather than later.
You can check out the Pro Theme Design Google+ page here, do you hav a page? If so then link it in the comments so I can follow you