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Ignore Google+ at Your Peril

At the end of our post last month on “5 Things To Know About Google+ Pages for Business,” we wrote “participating in Google+ [is] almost a necessity for search engine optimization. Ignore it at your peril.”

Just weeks later, you can scratch “almost” from that sentence. Ignore Google+ and you’ll feel the hurt. Google+ matters for SEO, period.

Why Google+ matters for SEO

Earlier this month on Social Media Examiner, author Kristi Hines presented a convincing case for the impact a robust Google+ presence has on search results for her name and business: her rankings in the search results were not only affected by having a Google+ profile, but were actually different for people who were following that profile on Google+.

In other words, you rank more highly in Google when your logged-in Google+ followers search for keywords related to your business. Talk about a good reason not to ignore Google+.

Then on Jan. 10, Google announced an actual integration of information from your Google+ social graph into its search results, which it calls “Search, Plus Your World.” (“Search, Plus” — get it?)

Now you’ll get what it calls Personal Results integrated into your search results when you’re signed in to Google, including information that was shared only with you—via Google+ of course.

As Mashable explained the next day in the aptly titled “Google Merges Search and Google+ Into Social Media Juggernaut,” “Google+ circles, photos, posts and more will be integrated into search in ways other social platforms can only dream about.” (And by “other social platforms,” they mostly mean Twitter and Facebook.)

Oh, and Google+ profiles are now part of the search query box when you’re signed in. Type in someone’s name and matches through your Circles on Google+ will pop up first.

[Update July 26, 2012:] Early reports indicate that Google search engine results are now factoring in and displaying the most actively-discussed posts on Google+. This places additional weight on links that aren’t just added to Google+ but are interacted with by followers on that platform.

What you can do about it

Hines’ Social Media Examiner article has good, step-by-step instructions on how to leverage Google+ to your advantage, both for your own profile and your business’s page. We recommend reading through them carefully.

The bottom line is this: If your business is not on Google+, now is the time to start.

Even if you only have a few minutes a day to spend, give it some attention.

The “Search, plus” integration is only going to get stronger.

Need help sorting through the brave new world of Google+? Let Innate help you navigate the waters. Get your life line today.

[Photo credit: Jonas Löwgren, Flickr Creative Commons]

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