Google recently removed authorship photos from search engine results. They kept the author links, but took away the pictures. Now, just a few short weeks later, they’ve already brought the author photos back, but only for authors who post their content to their own Google+ page, not external sites. What does this mean? Well, first it means that authorship photos are not actually dead. If you want your picture to show next to search results related to the content you create, post it to your Google+ profile.
Next, it means that Google+ is even more relevant for content marketers. With over 300 million monthly active users, content marketers cannot ignore the platform (DMR). Google+ is more than just a social profile: it really is an inherent part of the Google algorithm.
Google’s Indexing of Google+ Posts and Pages
Google’s algorithm indexes posts shared on Google+ really fast; in fact, almost immediately. Since Google indexes Google+ pages and posts so quickly, you’ll get your content showing up in results faster than you will on other social networks and even from your own website. Due to privacy restrictions and settings on Facebook, these posts often never get crawled, unlike Google+ where you will see your posts crawled and indexed in seconds.
One technology journalist found that one of his Google+ posts was indexed in less than 9 seconds:
Google +1s Correlation with Search Rankings, SEO
Moz published a scientific correlation study in August of 2013 that aimed to better understand qualities of web pages with high rankings in Google. There was a lot of controversy around their discovery that After Page Authority, a URL’s number of Google +1s is more highly correlated with search rankings than any other factor.
Moz went on to say that the correlation bordered on the line of causation, saying that posting to Google+ is very likely the most superior platform for SEO.
The #1 reason Google+ is still relevant to content marketers is SEO. The SEO value your content will gain by being posted to Google+ is incredible. Indexed Google+ posts drive high amounts of traffic to your website and fast. It’s the best way to gain traction, quickly, on the content you create.
Content Sharing with a Highly Targeted Audience
With Google+, content marketers can build an audience of followers who have demonstrated interest in the content they create. With Circles and Hangouts you can build a community of engaged and interested Google+ users.
Circles: In your Circles live your followers. You can add any user to your circle and the things they post on their Google+ page will show up in your feed. Once you’ve added someone to a Circle you can participate in Hangouts with him or her as well. Content marketers can create specialized Circles of Google+ users based on vertical, industry, content, etc. to target the content they are creating with a specific, relevant group of Google+ followers.
Hangouts: Content marketers are using Google+ Hangouts to make product announcements, host webinars, and Q&A sessions, workshops, interview clients for case studies and much more. Hosting hangouts makes it easier to build your Google+ circles (because you can only Hangout with people already in your circles) so setting up Google+ Hangouts is a great way to get more exposure for your Google+ profile and the content you share on it.
When sharing content with an audience that has shown demonstrated interest in the topics you write about, you would expect them to spend more than just a few seconds on your post. The average duration of a Google+ visit is 3:46 seconds (DMR). That is a significant amount of time for a user to spend on a post, indicating that they are actually reading the content in front of them. This helps boost your credibility and the likelihood that a user will convert on your website.
Google+ has become one of, if not the best, ways to share and get exposure for content. Authorship, SEO ranking factors, and the ability to build highly targeted audiences on the platform all contribute to the success content marketers are seeing with Google+.
If you are interested in learning more tips for how to optimize the exposure and value of your content, download the eBook, “Marketers Guide to Proving (and Improving) Content Marketing ROI.”