Seven Ways Writers Can Build Online Authority with Google+

Image of Google+ Logo

Google was founded on a simple principle — some web pages are more important than others.

How is that importance quantified? Ideally, it’s based on the fact that people think that page satisfies their questions about the topic better than other pages.

Google changed the face of search technology by evaluating a web page’s importance by the links that pointed at it, both in sheer number and by how much Google trusted the sites those links came from.

But the web has changed radically since 1998. While plenty of people can start a website or blog and link to things they like, the majority of people vote for things they like via social media sharing.

That makes social sharing a great signal for a search engine to use … but Twitter and Facebook are not exactly cooperating with Google. And until recently, the web page itself — and not the writer — was still the central part of the story.

The beginnings of Author Rank

Google has always acknowledged that great writers create great content — and better content would result in better search results for end users (an important business objective for Google). One of the natural ways to encourage the creation of more great content is to reward the writer.

With that in mind, they filed a patent called Agent Rank back in 2005.

Agent Rank is supposed to create digital signatures for “agents” (think writers and other content creators), which would then accumulate reputation scores based upon public reaction to their content (comments, social shares, links).

The important distinction here is that this score was “portable.” It wasn’t tied to a specific site (which doesn’t move across the web), but a person (who does). That’s impossible to do, however, unless you establish a platform to identify “agents.”

In other words, the cart was still before the horse.

Why web writers should care about Google+

Google+ is less social media platform and more backplane social layer that transformed all Google products into features of Google+.

As head of Google+ Vic Gundotra said:

We already have users. We are just upgrading them to Google 2.0.

Furthermore, Google+ is the identity platform they so needed to pull off Agent Rank — which is another signal that we were another step closer to an actual Author Rank algorithm.

So, what’s the moral of the story for you — the writer? Why should you care? Well, if you are a content creator who cares about:

  • Your reputation
  • Your work
  • Establishing online authority
  • Building an audience (which tends to happen faster on G+ than other social sites)
  • Driving more traffic to your website or blog
  • Growing your email newsletter subscriber list
  • And boosting sales and opportunities

Then you need a Google+ account.

But nabbing that account is not enough. You need to build a credible and authoritative profile on Google+ to enhance the sharing signals for you content in a way that Google can definitely see (unlike Twitter and Facebook).

Here are seven ways to do that:

1. Beef up your Google+ audience (faster than Twitter)

In the scheme of Author Rank, your Google+ profile is going to be your verifiable identity, and there are several factors that influence your reputation:

  • The number of followers you have.
  • The number of re-shares your content gets.
  • The number of +1′s you get. (By the way, when someone +1′s your content, it’s not just your content getting a vote — it’s you. Your reputation grows in the process.)
  • Activity. Are you posting regularly? Commenting? Resharing and plus one-ing?

The cool thing about a Google+ profile is that it seems to grow faster than what you can do on Twitter or Facebook (another reason to get over yourself and jump on Google+ if you haven’t).

So, how do you beef up your Google+ audience? For starters, remember that in the end it’s a social media platform — and so you need to treat it that way.

  • Create a solid bio — Great G+ bios start with a summary of who you are, what you do, why you are on G+, and the kind of content you’ll share. Be sure to weave keywords into the Introduction, Employment, Education, and Places section of your bio.
  • Build relationships — Start by following people you know, and then branch off into following people you want to know. Interact liberally.
  • Share content — Create original posts (whether text, photo, or video), share links, and re-share content by other G+ users. When you share a link to an article, create a headline, add a brief description of your thoughts, and end with a question to promote discussion in the comments.
  • Join Communities — I’ll talk more about Communities in a moment, but let me just say these are potent places to network.
  • Leave comments — Leave comment on posts, photos, and photos people are tagged in. Ask thought-provoking questions. Refer to other Google+ users (type “+” and the person’s name and Google+ will display options to choose from).

You can accomplish a steady diet of Google+ without sacrificing your life and still get great results. Besides, if you weren’t mingling on the Internet you’d have to do it in person at a Chamber of Commerce event or something — which can be time consuming, expensive, and boring.

Your choice.

2. Target traffic to your blog with Circles

Let’s not forget a cardinal rule of social media: social media is a channel, not a campaign. In fact, you can view social media audiences as one step towards boosting your blog readership.

Unlike Twitter and Facebook, however, where everything you share is visible to your entire audience, the benefit that Google+ provides is that it can help you segment your audiences and deliver appropriate content.

Google+ Circles will allow you to do that.

Image of Demian's Google+ Circles

Circles allow you to segment your audience into topic-specific groups. For example, you could create a Circle for copywriters, fiction writers, politics, dark humor, and family. Then you share content relevant to each one of those Circles.

The beauty of this strategy is that you will see higher rates of interaction with your content. Just ask Martin Shervington who builds some highly-interactive circles (and then interacts liberally through Hangouts).

Let’s say you absolutely must rant on a political situation — sharing that with your general audience might not be helpful. In fact, that’s typically how you lose followers in Twitter or Facebook.

But if you have a circle dedicated to political rants, you will probably get a higher rate of activity relative to the audience size. The same goes for every other topic-specific Circle.

By the way, avoid creating too many Circles (if you don’t you’ll eventually suffer from Circle fatigue). And devote one Circle to your core group of readers, since it’s difficult to grow a large audience in more than one Circle.

3. Hustle Hangouts

One of the standout features in Google+ is their video chat feature — Hangouts.

On the initial rollout you could host a hangout with up to ten people where everyone sees everyone else during the conversation.

This worked out great for casual wine chats, a loose brainstorming session with peers around the world, or small company meetings.

Then Google released Hangouts On Air, a feature that allows you to broadcast a live video session to the public. Tommy Walker has created a handful of compelling On Air shows, most recently one on Storytelling, Marketing and Modern Media featuring Brian Clark, Doug Pray, and John Jacobsen …

Can’t see the video? Click here to watch it on YouTube.

You could also use Hangouts to build a following by hosting a weekly or monthly interview series. Then promote the event regularly and you’ll start to build a solid audience.

4. Maximize the life of your content

I’ve written a few articles on Google+ and then expanded on them on my blog.

This has worked out well because I capture the traffic on Google+, and then capture the traffic through my subscribers and search traffic. Or, you could post it on your blog first, then Google+ second.

Either way, this lengthens the life of your content.

After I post on my blog, I then edit the original Google+ post with the link to the blog post — and I also include a link on the blog post pointing back to the original Google+ post:

By the way, don’t be worried about duplicate content issues. According to John Mueller (Google’s Manager of Webmaster Tools), Google is pretty good about recognizing that your content originates from your own site.

5. Attack a narrow topic

In many ways, Google+ is just another blogging platform like WordPress, since you don’t have a character limit, you can edit every post, publish images and videos, and even use simple markup to format your posts:

  • Bold — Add an asterisk (*) around the word or words you want to bold like this: *These words will be bold* in your post. This is also how you create a headline.
  • Italics — Put underscores (_) around text you want to italicize like this: I _love_ Google+.
  • Strikeout — Put hypens (-) around the word or words you want to strikeout. Like this: I –dislike- hate Facebook.

Once you publish the formatting will appear.

Being such a near-perfect blogging platform (but please read more on why it’s actually not in no. 7) can allow you to treat it as such. In fact, you could use your Google+ account to drill down into a particular topic your main blog may not support.

For instance, my personal blog’s main focus is on web writing, but there was a time (before Google+) where I shared a lot of content on working as a freelancer.

This didn’t always jibe with my audience, so with the launch of Google+ I’ve focused more of my work and inspirational posts there.

This is important on both the human and machine level.

  • Your readers subscribed to your blog because of your cornerstone content. Deviate from that mission too much and you may alienate them.
  • Search bots are crawling your site and evaluating the words to determine the topic of your blog. Introduce widely unrelated topics and you tend to dilute the focus of your blog, thus confusing the bots.

In the end, Google+ is a great outlet for content not suited for your blog.

6. Create a community

Recently Google+ released their Communities platform. This is basically a group of people centered around a common interest. Popular Communities include:

When you join a Community, you’ll start to get the posts shared in that community (as if it were a Circle) showing up in your Google+ stream. It’s a great way to network with like-minded people and get in front of an extended audience, especially if you post, share, and comment within that community.

If you are gutsy enough, you can even become a Community founder and moderator. If your Community grows in popularity you’ll naturally attract the attention and influence that involves.

7. Park all your content on Google+ (don’t do this one)

This is tempting, but it’s a mistake that sensible people will not make.

Building your content solely on Google+ would be nothing but digital sharecropping. And as we’ve said many times, you don’t truly own your content if you park it on a social network or “free” platform.

If you don’t think this matters, let me just remind you that when Posterous closes on April 30, it will take 15 million blogs and 63 million pages of content down with it.

So why mention this idea at all? Because it’s tempting. Here’s why.

For one, at the roll out of Google+ many notable people bailed on their external web properties — Kevin Rose being the most infamous.

Next in line was technology writer Mike Elgan. Here’s his Google+ profile:

After 10 years of blogging with conventional blogging sites and services, I abandoned that approach a year ago and started blogging on Google+. Why? Because Google+ is by far the best blogging platform.

With more than 2 million followers and as a consistently rated top-ten Google+ user, Mike is successful on Google+. It helps that he’s been in the tech writing game for years.

Of course it’s debatable if it’s the “best blogging platform” out there, but even if it was, it’s still a risky bet.

For one, Google+ doesn’t allow you to harvest email addresses from Google+ (a crime for anyone wanting to run a business online). And while you can download your content, that’s an insane hassle. Also, having an external blog may actually help your search rankings on … Google.

Maintaining an external blog/website is actually what Google wants you to do.

In other words, it’s part of their over-arching scheme to implement Author Rank. Your work, on your site, and wherever else you choose to publish, with Google+ as a channel to reach it rather than the primary home for your content.

And the most convincing argument, as we see it? Your content and reputation should belong to you. Not Facebook. Not Google. Not Tumblr. You.

Here’s the deal …

When it comes to improved search rankings, building an audience on Google+ might just be the smartest thing you can do as a content creator.

Why? Google is fine-tuning their search algorithm to accommodate an accurate Author Rank score — which is a radically different way to identify great content out of the clutter.

Think of Author Rank as a penalty against anonymous authors, as well as a reward to people who care about their reputation and their content (which I have a hunch is you).

Stay tuned because in the next installment we’ll explore Google’s Search Plus Your World … and why it makes Google+ the content creator’s most important social network.

By the way, how have you been building authority on Google+? Share your thoughts in the comments below …

About the author

Demian Farnworth


Demian Farnworth is Copyblogger Media's Chief Copywriter. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.

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Comments

  1. Great article, Demian. I’ve only just set up my Google+ profile, so plenty for me to think about here.

    • I’ve switched from Facebook to Google + as well. Facebook is so time-consuming for me so Google + with less connections is the good alternative.
      I also found that Google + has more features for making community page like creating specific topic for different uses.
      This article comes at the right time :)

      • Absolutely, Tung – the communities are a great way for connecting with like-minded people and level of engagement seems pretty high.

        • Honestly I was kind of intimidated with Google + at first because of a heavy reliance on Twitter and Facebook. I thought to myself, “here comes another social media site that I have to learn how to utilize.”

          This post helped me understand the power of Google +. I believe that the engagement factor was lacking for my Google + experience.

          Thank You for helping me understand this platform better.

          Patrick

    • Just be careful talking about “building Author Rank.” As I know Demian agrees, there is really not such a thing (yet) as Author Rank, not at least as Google using as a significant search factor. What there IS is “author authority,” which is to say do all the things Demian advises and you will raise your visibility, grown your network, and begin getting multiplying links and social mentions, all of which can’t help but help your search rankings.

    • I’d been avoiding Google+ thinking Facebook and twitter were all I needed, until I found this blog post. Thank you!

      • Same here. I was focusing on facebook (not really on twitter). This guide is really awesome because I didn’t really know what should I do with google+
        Thank you for giving me inspiration.

        Sophie.

  2. So we must start using our G+ profile to get more rankings on google.
    I really liked the idea of adding people in circles and also to post our content there on G+ and then post it on our blog.
    Another great way to build our rankings is to guest post. Publish our best content on big blogs like copyblogger. This will affect our authorrank.

    Thanks again for this awesome post Demain.

  3. This is helpful; thanks. I know I should be using Google Plus more, but it’s still such a great mystery to me. This article breaks it down into manageable, understandable pieces.

  4. Thanks, great article :-)

    I think that more and more people are fed up with unrelated search results to their queries. And google has recognized that. Perhpaps they finally deal with this strategically now.

    After all, its core business is SEARCH!

    If they want to stay in business long term (yes, even google can vanish or become a secondary player) they need to correct their way which they have started with panda and other cute animal updates. And one way to do that is Authority. IMO they are on the right track.

    When people enter their search they want quality results and not wasting their time and energy in going thru pages of irrelevant “answers” or other link sites. This is the trend google is strategically following. Therfore it is a good habit to create high quality content under your unique authority within the google+ system.

    8 months ago I created a brandnew site (HeilpraktikerErfolg.de) for people who wanted best practices and real life psychology knowledge for helping other people. We produced good, sometimes even great content, esp. video trainings. We also learned and used google+ (mainly thanks to great copyblogger advice).

    The result: our search rankings improved dramatically. Let me add: our search rankings improved dramatically within a highly competitive niche. Yesterday we had 3495 distinct page views. And out of that came 4 new clients. This may not seem like a lot. But we have just started :-)

    Looking forward to your next authority article.

  5. Anthony Morgan :

    Building relationships is extremely important and, in the short time I’ve been on Google+, I’ve found it much easer to make connections than on Twitter or Facebook.
    I’d particularly agree with point 6 – I’ve joined several communities since I signed up and found some of them to be invaluable as sources of advice, information and inspiration.
    Thanks for a great article, Demian and for showing me several more things I can do to get the most out of Google+.

    • A lot of people are saying that: they are making better connections faster. This is true, but I think this is more a function of getting on G+ early (before the masses) than anything intrinsic about G+. It feels a lot like the early days of blogging. I could be wrong, though. :D

  6. Thanks for the post Demain. The Author rank for websites is also an important tag for website’s visibility in the SERPs

  7. Thanks for the helpful tips here. I really did not want to spend time on yet another social media site, but I see how it can be beneficial to business. This may be a great way to build relationships with readers, other bloggers, and build possible future business endeavors. One question I have is: Are you able to reorganize your circles at any time?

    • Yeah, the last thing we need is another social site to manage, but I tried to lay out here (and what we’ve been doing here since the launch of Google+) is the reason why attention should be paid to G+. What this probably means is shifting focus away from another social site (I’ve done this with Facebook), or hiring someone to manage your G+ site.

      • I do really appreciate your article and will be using these tips for Google+. I have noticed that unless you are a brick & mortar business, Facebook does not drive as much traffic. Google+ seems to be a better place for business connections and reader connections. You have done a nice job here of laying out all the “connection” possibility that are not found anywhere else. Thanks so much! See you on Google+!

  8. Implementing Authorship has definitely changed the way we look at Google Plus. However, I still find that many publishers and businesses still don’t know how to integrate it correctly. There seems to be a lack of proper knowledge about integration.

  9. Great Article! We have been really impressed since we began growing our google + following on how much quicker some our posts seem to get indexed on the search engines. I would absolutely agree it is a must thanks- Demian

    • That fast indexing is another plus. It’s not always perfect (and it does depend on your profile), however. Some of my G+ posts are indexed while others are not. Not sure why. Like reading tea leaves.

  10. Great Article. I am starting to be more active on Google plus, but this article will certainly help to give a push on being more active. :)

  11. Thorough as always Demian. Like any social network, it can be slow going at first. For the solo-marketer/entrepreneur, it takes consistency and diligence and plain ole time on G+ to meet and connect with new people. And I do agree with your comment above – I think one must shift focus away from one social network in order to get on the fast track with G+. I will say… one of the best things about my early G+ experience thus far, is interacting with you. Thank you for that, sir.

  12. I wonder how long it will be before we have complete author profiles on our G+ account. I like the direction author rank is taking, even if it relies on the less connected of us now trying to deperately find ways to get our content noticed by a tastemaker (someone with thousands of social subscribers).

    BTW Facebook does have the function to allow broadcasting to certain individuals rather than everybody. Its called Facebook lists and has been active for the last 18months.

    • Ah, thank you for the clarification on Facebook lists. I did not know that. Shows you how much I use FB. By the way, what do you mean by “complete author profiles on G+ accounts”?

      • No worries, i never use Facebook lists, but have explained to quite a few people in the past how to segment their posts for the right audience. Yeah, id like to see a nicely formatted author tab integrated where we can list blogs we contribute to, and link to our best posts and awards or nominations etc. It would be a nice way of getting an at-a-glance look of the writers credentials rather than digging through a G+ profile and piecing it all together! We could even find author rank given a point system like page rank! This author is rated 6/10 or 67/100 meaning if this person is contributing to your blog, its got some decent stuff. The possibilities are endless ;)

  13. Thanks for the excellent article Demian. You’re articles are slowly making me convert more of my time to Google+. My favorite aspect of G+ so far is that I can receive an email when people respond to a post I commented on, then I can add more comments to the post directly within Gmail.

  14. Demian: Your post answered several lingering questions I’ve had about G+. Thank you for being so clear. Can you tell me if the reposts from your personal blog are strictly manual or is there a way to automate it?

    • There’s no way to automate that (that I know of). But I wouldn’t want that to happen even if possible. I think when you post something on your blog, and then share it on G+ (or vice versa) you don’t want them identical. For example, I’ll reshare this very post on G+, but I’ll do it in a condensed form (just list the points), with a link to this page. People get an idea of the content in a flash, then click through if they want more.

  15. Thanks for another great article +Demian :) and I can’t wait to share it with my facebook readers. Even though G+ is still my preferred social network I still have a totally different audiences on my fb business page and on my blog. Good points on not having too many circles as I made far too many over the past year on G+ and will need to do some work very soon on reducing them.

    You mentioned about placing a link to your G+ post to your blog – great idea! but for many new G+ users they mightn’t know how to get the url for a permalink. All they need to do on their G+ post is click on the date and the individual post will open in a new window.

    • Great point, Rosie, on the URL. And like you I know people and businesses who are thriving off of FB, so it’s always important to know your market/audience. Some audiences are not on G+…yet. ;)

  16. Thanks for a well-written and timely article. If there is a next frontier in social and search this is it. This will engender a whole new digital marketing skill set.

  17. Thank you, Demian, for the wonderful article. I’d been holding off on joining G+, as I was social overloaded and didn’t see the point. I sure do now. It appears you see G+ an important social and content channel, but that writers and marketers should not abandon their “day” blogs, so to speak. Instead, this is a way to gain visibility and credibility, and to drive traffic to and from our other media outlets, capitalizing on Google’s search strength. Thanks again for the the thorough dissertation. I look forward to reading your other pieces.

  18. Very informative piece and very helpful. I’m in the process of launching a blog, and you have clarified for me the role of G+ in supporting the blog while increasing my authority on Google Plus. Really; this is excellent stuff. Thanks.

  19. I read a lot of articles on author rank and the huge impact it will have. However, they always mention the personal pages, not the brand pages.
    Do you think I should always operate as myself, not as my website’s page, to build my author rank?
    But, if I have multiple interesets and website what happens? I can’t be narrowed. For example, my website is about photography, but with my personal account I am taking part in a couple of communities about startups and digital nomads.
    So I would think that connecting and interacting as a page should be better. Will the “authority” of brand pages contribute the authority of the author?

    • Great question, Alberto. I didn’t have a good answer for you, so I asked some peers. Here’s what one said:

      If you have a website about photography, then setup a Google+ page about your specific take on photography and use the rel=”publisher” markup to attach the page to your website. Then also setup rel=”author” markup on the same website to point to your personal profile.

      While its not documented to have any effect, Google can see that you are the owner of a specific Google+ page. Thus I would tend to think that setting up a Google+ page to talk about photography is not going to steal any sort of “Author Rank” (Which isn’t even officially live yet) from your personal profile. If anything if your page gets to be recognized for being a thought leader in your industry than that would support your “Author Rank” because you are the owner/author of that page.

      You can read the other response here:
      https://plus.google.com/115630079405940076652/posts/QcHPLLjMNUr

  20. Thanks for info, I understand that author rank is going to be more important for search rankings. What I don’t understand is how this will work with your Google pages.

    For example I have a Google+ author profile and also a blog which has a Google+ Page.

    Do I work on getting people to follow my Google+ author profile or the Google+ page?

  21. You forgot about Google+ search! You can find new people for your community through it.

    Also Hangouts are up to 15 people now, not just 10.

  22. I’ve been starting to use Google + with some regularity for the first time in the last couple of weeks, based on the growing importance of Author Rank.

    While these shifts in Google’s emphasis mostly sound like they’ll offer great benefits to writers, one of my main concerns is just how often as a freelance writer I have cause to publish content that isn’t directly attributed to me. When it’s my job to help promote a business, it’s not always appropriate to insist on treating it as an opportunity to promote myself as well.

    Perhaps this will change as more and more businesses grow to understand the importance of Author Rank, but for now I think having any and all content I’m paid to product attributed back to me (including a link back to my G+ profile) sounds like a tough sell.

  23. Another great G+ post. Thanks for all the great tips. You guys have me convinced. I’ve got to start placing a higher emphasis on this for the future!

  24. Thanks Damian for the tips. They are great information to someone that is relatively new to blogging!

  25. I’ve really embraced Google+ over the last few months. I also have pages and communities. I have noticed an increase in daily traffic, although still very small. I was also surprised to see one of my google+ updates ranked 3rd in a google search. Google+ with authorship is a must have if you want to attract traffic. But make sure you have the content right…but I’m working on that.

  26. Demian,

    Epic Google+ post dude. This is seriously valuable content. I’ve actually saved this Evernote so I use a lot of this down the line.

    Something I’ve been doing for a while is going into my old posts and copying the URL into a Google+ post then expanding upon the ideas in that Google+ post. Like you mentioned it definitely elongates the life of the content.

    Really appreciate your work here buddy.

    Hanley

  27. I opened a Google account a while back had No idea what I was doing really, and this article has really inspired me to dig in more .. also just recently everyone has been talking about the “hangout” – Great Article thanks

  28. This is an awesome article! It’s amazing how audiences differ from one social platform to the next. FB, G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn audiences are all so different from each other. So with respect to creating a community, I’ve noticed that I’ve created different communities on all of the above platforms. Each one is its own niche that responds to different types of content. Now to keep up with it all….

  29. I didn’t know that posts on Google+ could be formatted. Good info! Thanks.

  30. Thanks Demain. That was a word of knowledge wrapped up in a detailed post. I am knew to using Google+ so this has been very helpful. I look forward to reading more of your material. Thanks for the edutainment…
    Mike

  31. Great article, Demian. I am really enjoying your series. I’ve found that by using Klout, I’ve been able to find influential users on G+ faster, since all of their social media accounts are linked in one place.

  32. I start using G+ daily, then after a couple weeks, it peters off. Then I keep coming across posts like this to remind me to step it up again. Excellent article.

  33. Hi Damian,

    Great article. I have established an account with Google +, have a profile and that is how far I got. It is time to take it more seriously. Thanks for the reminder.

  34. I have never thought like you about google+. For me it was just another social media platform. Most of the time i used to share my latest blog post on google+. Thanks for this eye opener article on Google+ and author rank, will defiantly follow all your suggestion.

  35. Wow, great piece of conent and insights into G+. I knew G+ was important but it seems you would loose the game not being active on Google Plus.

    Cheers!
    Michael

  36. I think it will be Interesting to see how far AuthorRank develops in the next year or so. In any case it’s important to have the tie in with Google and Google related services where possible because it’s more likely to have an impact on rankings and authority in the long run. Getting setup on Google Plus now will allow you to build a following for the future, so there are plenty of other benefits for setting up an account and not solely for the sake of AuthorRank. Google Plus is great for business connections and with a growing audience it will only hold more relevance for writers further down the line.

    • Even if Author Rank never materializes there are so many reasons for content marketers to join G+. I like G+ now because it’s a lot like the early days of blogging–lots of excitement, concentrated, creative activity, posts linking to other G+ users, quick spread of good ideas.

  37. I wasn’t going to join google+. I thought enough already. But after I heard about author rank, I jumped right on board. I still have lots to do (thanks for all the useful info in this article). I think google+ could be the next facebook.

  38. I think this is a great article, and I appreciate its timeliness. However, one line really bugs the carp out of me:
    “Besides, if you weren’t mingling on the Internet you’d have to do it in person at a Chamber of Commerce event or something — which can be time consuming, expensive, and boring.” This detracts from the value of the article because it sounds like the whiny complaint of someone who spends too much time online and has no skills to socialize in person. Anyone who’s been in business for themselves for any significant length of time knows that in-person networking — at the right venue and done right — reaps far more meaningful interactions than doing so online. (And besides, it’s not an “either/or” choice.) Don’t believe me? Just read anything on this topic by Tim Ferriss, who’s the ultimate in life-hacking and making the best use of time. And he’s just one example. Like I said, too bad this needless comment had to be included, because the rest of this article is excellent.

    • Point of clarification — I’m not saying Farnsworth spends too much time online and has no in-person socializing skills. (I don’t even know the guy.) I’m only saying this is what his statement sounds like, which doesn’t enhance the article at all.

      • Good point. I wasn’t insisting belly-to-belly conversations were boring or unimportant or that someone should spend all their time online–just the ones at a Chamber of Commerce are boring. There are much better ways to connect in person.

    • I don’t know, I have no problem with f2f hanging out, but every Chamber event I’ve ever been to has, in fact, been deadly dull. Your mileage may vary.

  39. I’m still trying to figure Google+ out. There are so many social media sites out there I can’t keep up. Perhaps it’s just me but it seems like Twitter and facebook is lot less confuising. Can’t figure out the circles and what not. Seem like I was better able to meet people on facebook and twitter.

    • I only have five circles, but most of the people that I follow get dumped into one. It is simple that way. It is a lot like FB: there is a stream of content. I was equally confused with Twitter and FB. And Google+. But like all things familiarity breeds confidence. Good luck.

  40. Thanks for calling this out and making folks aware! I’m interested to see how this plays out over the next few years.

  41. Wow. That is a lot of helpful info to consider. I am currently spending a lot of time here on Copyblogger to really hone my marketing strategies as a fiction author (I don’t think many fiction authors consider using content marketing). Got any thoughts on the best way to grow an audience on Google+ as a writer of fiction?
    I’m hosting my first “book club” hang out on there next week, so I was glad to see you mentioned that. Perhaps I’m on the right track. But I want to be sure I leave no stone unturned.
    Thanks again for your great article. Terrific stuff.

  42. I know I’ll be echoing what many others are saying here, Demian, but this post comes at an excellent time.

    With Google fine-tuning how they rank content, Author Rank seems to be catching fire after getting some mentions in the past year or so. And why wouldn’t Google make G+ an important part of their plan to determine authority? If there’s a down side, it’s just trying to keep up. But you do help to clarify and outline some simple steps we can all take to improve how we are perceived on the web, both by Google and by those who “consume” our content.

    Nicely done…

  43. Google+ is essentially not competing with Facebook, as a social networking site. Google+ is just another dimension added to Google as an all-rounded business. Google wants to be one-stop shop for anyone online and Google+ is yet another step toward that. It cannot however force its users to use Google+ though, and it will probably take some time before users take notice. If you keep building your reputation in Google+ now onward, you will be in strong position to be able to leverage it when required.

  44. Hi – I would appreciate some feedback on my way of thinking – maybe I am wrong. I publish a blog from my website http://www.oldhouseguy.com about every 2 weeks. I post about the new blog article with a link to it on FBook, Twitter and Google+. Since the blog post is good content, I refrain from any other posts so I don’t bury it until the next new blog post. If someone enters my social network I want them to see the good stuff right away. Is this bad for ranking?

    On FBook for example. There are some pages I “liked”. Some of these liked pages are posting every 2 hours. To me this is spam – no matter how good the info is. No way am I going to scroll so far down to see my other posts. It’s like news-feed competition and pages I would like to keep informed on get buried and never seen. I don’t want to be like that. However my post is probably getting lost on the readers news feed unless they are sitting at their computer all day reading posts.

  45. Great Article! I knew I wasn’t utilizing Google+ to its fullest. Now, I’ve got some tips to help. Thanks.

  46. Thanks for the effort doing this helpful article. For me, Facebook and Twitter were the most important social media channels since people share more often on them, but since this information, I’ll learn more about google+ and focus on build a community of followers. Thanks again.

  47. I’m just dying to link my Google+ account to the blogs I write on and see what happens. But I see I’m going to have to up my game and take better care of it. Google+ just doesn’t appeal to me as much as Facebook, for example.

  48. Really interesting – in fact this is the third time I’ve read this article. I’ve started to build a following on Google+ but have to admit I wasn’t quite sure how to move forward – but you’ve provided some excellent advice. I’m still mulling the part about conflicting content on a blog because I’m an author and while I sell my books from Amazon I write about the subjects and promote my books from my blog. My original genre is personal growth, but my newest books are about the business of being an author. Based on what you’re saying I’m thinking it’s time to look at setting up a second blog for that niche rather than blur the lines on my original blog. I’m also wondering how one goes about establishing authority in more than one niche. Hum …

  49. This is awesome! I have been a casual user of G+ without really having any idea what I am doing. This has given me the kick up the proverbial to spend some time on it and work it all out. Thanks Demian :)

  50. Thank you for shading light on how someone can optimize the benefits of Google+ to improve one presence on line

  51. This is great but I’m still not sure how to use both the personal G+ account and the business page, and what to post on each one . As I should be concerned with author rank, then this suggests that the majority of my posts on HomeforBusiness should go out to my personal G+ account. But then what do I do with the business page? Should this just be a duplicate? How are other small businesses managing this?

    I can see that it is easier for a larger company to distinguish between both accounts but I’m confused on the best approach here for a small business. Any suggestions on how best to manage these?

    • I too would like to know how folks are handling this. It’s my guess no one really know and is why Copyblogger isn’t talking about it.

      Does anyone have any experience with people who are testing this, or links to other resources that talk about it?

      • All you have to do is go look at how we handle it. There’s really no reason to write an article, because it’s simple.

        My personal account is the largest in the company, so I post all of our content there. But we also have a business page for Copyblogger, and other members of our editorial team (primarily Demian) are busy building up their Google+ personal profiles and posting CB (and other) content.

        Don’t over think it. Post both as a company and as a person or persons (if you have a team). Simple.

        • Simple. Well, obvious anyway :)

          Just wanted to hear it, I guess. I know that the Authorship comes from meta of the post itself, so where I was going with this was more in the direction of who to give authorship to… personal vs company. Who should we look to build authority for?

          • Authorship is the person, no matter who posts to Google+. That’s where the signals are coming from — the content. Getting more sharing on Google+ is what helps build additional signals for the piece of content and the person who created it. That’s why you want to build an audience on Google+ — to help your content get wider distribution.

  52. The article is pretty helpful but I never had any success with Google plus. I will surely focus on the points mentioned above and hope they will be useful for me.

  53. I appreciate the great advice you’ve given here, but the coolest thing about the Google Authorship feature? …. Seeing my picture shown beside my content in SERPs!

    How vain is that? Lol

    But seriously, I always regret that I waited so long to launch ByeHighSchool.org. So I don’t want to miss the newness of G+. I haven’t seen much traffic from it yet, but with increased interaction I’m hoping that’ll change.

    This post helps a lot. Thanks! :)

  54. I feel there is huge potential in the google+, so I am trying to use it as much as i can!
    Best Regards!

  55. I now understand more about the potential of Google+ and how to build online authority. However, i don’t have any followers and can’t seem to get any followers. It is much easier to get followers on Twitter. However, Twitter doesn’t seem to affect SEO. So is Google+ or Twitter better for getting more traffic?

  56. I have started using Google soon after it was launched. While I fully understand the importance of being active, one of the biggest problems I find is that lack of API which also means there is very little support for posting content via an external Dashboard, which most of use. I am able to post to my Google Plus Page from HootSuite but now able to post to my personal page.

  57. Hi – I would appreciate some feedback on my way of thinking – maybe I am wrong.

    I publish a blog from my website about every 2 weeks. I post about the new blog article with a link to it on FBook, Twitter and Google+. Since the blog post is good content, I refrain from any other posts so I don’t bury it until the next new blog post. If someone enters my social network I want them to see the good stuff right away at the top and not bury it. Is this bad for ranking?

    On FBook for example. There are some pages I “liked”. Some of these liked pages are posting every 2 hours. To me this is spam – no matter how good the info is. No way am I going to scroll so far down to see my other posts. It’s like news-feed competition and pages I would like to keep informed on get buried and never seen. I don’t want to be like that. However my post is probably getting lost on the readers news feed unless they are sitting at their computer all day reading posts.

    Am I hurting my SEO this way? I would REALLY appreciate some input on this.
    thanks!

    • Ken
      I’d also love to hear the answer to your question. Sounds like you have a game plan and want it to play nice on FB and G+. I don’t yet have such a problem and this article has surely inspired me to step up my game on G+ so thanks to Demian and all the commenters.

      • Looks like the author is not interested in responding. Too bad. I thought somebody would have some suggestions or comments.

        • So I understand you: you post twice a week on your blog, then share that link on your social sites. That won’t hurt your ranking. Getting people to link to, share, comment on good quality content (which we have plenty of articles on) will help you rank higher. Claiming your content on Google authorship markup and using G+ will increase your visibility in rankings (won’t help you rank higher though). Keep in mind the more you post on your blog the more traffic you will get, too. Hope that helps.

  58. I have just started to use Google plus from few months back and working hard on it to establish my profile. After reading this article, lots of my doubts have been cleared and I will try to follow all the points you mentioned above. Thanks for this great insight on Google plus.

  59. This is a fantastic appraisal of how Google+ works. I’ve only been with the community a short while. i’m hoping to implement all if these strategies! Thanks so much! :o)

  60. Just want to point out the use of “asterick” instead of “asterisk” in the article.

  61. Great article, it’s been a timely reminder to keep up with Google+ after a few recent lapses – lots of things to consider.

  62. Loving and sharing this one as well!

  63. In the past few days, since I’ve joined communities and participated, I’ve seen increses in traffic to my bloga nd writing website. Thanks so much!

  64. Another great reason to get involved with Google+ is because getting plus ones on your content are considered inbound links by Google. That’s something that Facebook “likes” don’t do.

  65. Hi Damien, great post and thanks for sharing! I have been in many conversations regarding your point #7 “Park all your content on Google+ (don’t do this one)” Couldn’t agree with you more!

  66. Thanks for this post.

    I started my blog back in October of last year. I was spending mass amounts of time trying to build a Twitter following. I posted to G+ occasionally. I happened to check my Google Analytics report and found, to my surprise, that G+ was referring 10x more traffic to my site than Twitter and 2x more than Facebook.

    Not only was G+ sending a greater volume of traffic but the readers from G+ were more engaged. I found that they read more pages and thereby spent more time on my site.

    Honestly, I’m not sure why with so little effort on my part I received so much more benefit from G+ over Facebook and Twitter. Now I put my primary social media effort into Google Plus. If anyone knows the answer to this I’d be interested in hearing it.

    If anyone is interested in seeing the results from my analytics reports on the matter I’ve posted them here http://rodneygoldston.com/google-plus-vs-facebook-how-i-discovered-that-google-sends-me-more-traffic-than-facebook-and-twitter-combined/ – and on G+ of course.

    • Just my opinion but:
      Twitter is the social network of choice for teenagers and celeb stalkers.
      Facebook is the social network of choice for the general public (the only site my friends and family engage on).
      Google+ is the social network of choice for marketers (thanks to google authorship and other google products) therefore the traffic generated from the site is far more likely to engage in content.

  67. Thank you Damien! This is the best by far article I’ve read on Google+ — not only for writers, but everyone!

    We use Google+ for our business (there’s only 2 of us). Since we use Google Apps, Webmaster Tools, Claim Google+ Local pages, build WordPress Websites, Google+ is the right solution for us. We have been spreading the word. The feature we use most is Hangouts – it’s never let’s us down. We use it for meetings, troubleshooting, and can share documents with Google Apps.

    Question: is it better for businesses to use their Google+ Personal page or Google+ Business page? We can grow our circles much quicker using a regular Google+ page (we each have one) and get our message out. We created a Business Page off my G+ account, but it limits you on adding people to your circles. With Google+ Business they have to add or follow you.

    • If you are trying to build your personal brand, then stick with the personal page, but if you are trying to build your business brand, then create a business page (create them both and use one to promote the other, but don’t share the same content on both). Make the content you share on the business page exclusive, and gives people a reason to follow. Plus, I don’t know if it’s a brick-and-mortar business, but this will also allow people to leave reviews, find you via Maps, etc, so having a separate business page is important.

      • Damien, thank so much for your prompt response! It’s excellent advice that we will use and pass along to our clients. Once again, great article!

  68. Awesome post, Demian, pulling together a lot of the strategies that we Google+ early adopters have been using to tremendous advantage. (And thanks for the link to my Google Authorship and Author Rank community!)

    One additional point to your tips to gaining influence via Google Authorship: the patents make clear that it is not just the numbers of followers or interactions, but also WHO interacts with you that Google wants to track. In other words, author authority rankings will work much like good old-fashioned PageRank for web sites: it’s nice to have lots of links, but a few links from relevant, high-authority people/pages will do even more for you.

    So rather than chase numbers (which encourages worthless spam techniques like building huge Shared Circles of anyone who wants to be in them), it is far more important to build strategic relationships with other influential people and brands in your niche.

  69. Great article. I also strongly believe AR (Author Rank) will be integrated into Google search soon. The AR will enable Google to rank high-quality content more accurately. Check out Tom Anthony’s Author Crawler which allows you to find authors who have a higher AuthorRank than you.

  70. Thank you so much. I to was over overwhelmed by the whole thing. I need to learn more abut finding people for circles

  71. Great post and sums up well how to achieve a better “author ranking” – something to highlight more would be that what you produce, be that in comments, posts, shares or articles should be great quality – if you produce crap google will know and your AR may suffer

  72. This is easily the best post on Author Rank and Google+ that I’ve read – makes it so much easier to understand. I’m spending a lot more time on Google+ now. :-) Thanks so much!

  73. I’m new to google+ so I found this very useful. Thanks.

  74. Thanks for your insight and balance! So many posts on this topic swallow the bait “sink, line and hooker” as my grandpappy might say. This is by far the sanest treatment I’ve seen.

  75. After begrudgingly paying to promote a post on Facebook to find it didn’t even reach the timeline of followers who engage on my FB page I decided I’d had enough so here I am at the head scratching phase of working out Google+. I am also harnessing my clients to come along and learn with me to benefit all our businesses. Wish us luck!

  76. Thanks for this very useful post, Demian. This comes in really handy for me. I tend to shy away from social media and Google + is still pretty much a riddle wrapped up in an enigma. Some people add me all the time but so far, I haven’t had the “courage” or envy of looking into it. Your article is perfect and I’ll start using Google + from now on!

    Thanks for the expertise.

    Yoan

  77. I have to admit to being guilty of ignoring Google + for too long. The more I analyze Twitter the more I see how short lived it’s traffic spikes can be.

    LinkedIn has begun working for me in a better way than I had hoped, so I’ll be putting the same efforts into Google + from now on.

    Thanks for a very interesting article

  78. After begrudgingly paying to promote a post on Facebook to find it didn’t even reach the timeline of followers who engage on my FB page I decided I’d had enough so here I am at the head scratching phase of working out Google+.

  79. I almost feel late to the Google+ party but I’ve finally taken the plunge and can only it’s a refreshing experience. Like your post says the level of interaction, and quality of interaction, is a lot higher than you’d get on other social networks.. I’m looking forward to getting into it fully and seeing where it goes..

  80. I have received development jobs form using google + as my #1 social media tool.It works , don’t give up..Post interesting stuff and trends that are going on now in the seo and development world.

  81. I tried Google + but with no avail. Most of my social circles are not on it so I’m not as motivated to get on too. I signed up for Google author on my blog though so I am going to give that a try again and use some of the methods from the article and hopefully I can take off, just a little bit at least.

  82. Great set of tips! Always mean to do this and somehow never do which leads to doing one or more of these steps super sporadically, which really gets me nowhere. Goal for this week, to start getting into the habit!

  83. My Google page has been in dire need of activity. It’s time to step it up. I appreciate the guidelines you have provided here.

  84. Man looks like you eat, sleep and breath Google+. Just visited you profile; you make me look like someone from the stone ages ! I’ve tried and tried, but in vain.

    At least i can agree to the fact that post go viral much more faster than any other social platform.

  85. I’m very glad to see this – it’s the kick in the pants that I need to get going with Google +. Thanks for the kick!

  86. Thank you very much!

    To be honest, I haven’t been paying too much attention to Google+

    I guess it is time to do it!

    Thanks again,

    Nelson Portugal

  87. I just got into Google + and so far I like it a lot. Some great business groups on there, especially in the communities section. I’m also loving the events feature. It’s so streamlined and easy to get people together.

    One thing I hope it finds a way to evolve past is all the spam. In a lot of the communities, too many people do is post their own stuff. It really gets in the way of the genuine conversations going on, and all the people trying to make themselves useful, which are a lot!

    -Jake

  88. I switched recently to Google+ and decided to start a dedicated blog on content creation. But the main reason is the fact that I cater content to clients in different languages.

    Google+ makes it possible for me to create an audience, through different circles, in different languages. All in one place!

    Great post, thx for the inspiration.

    -Ivan

  89. I’m not a social media fan. I’ve never used Twitter and though I do have a personal Facebook page, I’ve pretty much abandoned it because of all the meaningless drivel I read there.

    I appreciate this article about Google +. I created a page there when it was first released, but it’s been stagnant ever since. I can see now that I should update it a.s.a.p!

    I would like to say one thing about ‘author authority’ and ‘author rank’ (which still confuse me). Lately I’ve noticed, while doing Google searches, that a lot of Google + results show up on the first page. This doesn’t bother me except for the fact that when I visit the sites themselves, there is A LOT of duplicate content.

    I don’t mean content duplicated from the same author’s blog and Google + page, I mean that people are stealing content from another’s person’s blog or website and posting it on their own site. Sometimes word-for-word! And yet they are all getting ‘Page 1′ ranking. I’m sorry, but isn’t plagiarism still a big no-no?

    These highly ranked sites usually have their Google + info showing on the search results page.

    So my question is this: Why isn’t Google’s spiders catching this duplicate content that is obviously copying from someone else? And could it have anything to do with the Google + / google rank combination that was discussed in this article?

    I’m left wondering…is Google’s algorithms (or whatever the correct term may be) ignoring blatant plagiarism simply because the site author is in hundreds of Google + circles?

    Please forgive me if this comment is inappropriate to the article content. I’m just hesitant about using Google + because of the reasons stated above. Makes it kind of feel like favoritism, and reduces the quality of search results (in my mind).

    Best…