Monday, September 9, 2013

How You Can Use Google Plus To Boost Your Message: 10 Tips You Can Put To Use Now

Posted by: Sara Crocoll, Presidential Management Fellow on Sept 9, 2013
Photo of the author, Sara Crocoll
In today’s budget climate in the government, we need solutions to our problems that are quick and inexpensive. We need to be able to maximize our efforts to provide original, quality content while simultaneously amplifying our messages to reach audiences where they are online. These two needs are frequently at odds. With Google+, you can fulfill both of these needs.

Developing and laying the proper groundwork for a Google+ page for your agency can deliver significant benefits via search engine optimization.
Google+ logo

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website in a search engine. When you use a Google+ page, Google can pull from that page to feed into their search engine results page. If you maximize your usage of your Google+ page, you have the potential to boost the rank of your websites and make them show up higher when people search for related content. This is important because most people click on the first item, or the first few items, on the results page.

How can I do this? 10 Tips!

    Example of the Google plus one button
  1. +1: Add the ability to Google +1 to your agency’s websites, by adding a button. This is probably one of the most effective ways to improve your rankings, because it allows users who interact with your website to give direct feedback to Google that your page is credible and useful. (Send your developers here.)
  2. 508 Compliance and Visibility: Go to and check the following tabs:
    • Accessibility: Change the presentation of some pages to work better with screen readers and other assistive tools.
    • Profile: Help others discover my profile in search results.
    By checking these two options, you are allowing your Google+ page to be more accessible. Get familiar with the Google Settings page; it allows for more control over your page.
  3. Links: Include all your main web and social media sites in the links section of your Google+ profile. You’ll also want to include these on your YouTube profile, as YouTube is owned by Google. Don’t forget to add your Google+ website to your YouTube profile!
  4. Query Terms: Ensure your preferred query terms related to your organization are included in your Google+ (and YouTube!) Introductions. However your audience is searching for your content, you’ll want to include those terms.
  5. Photos & Video: Add appropriate existing content to Google+ photos and videos. No reason to re-create it! In fact, U.S. government privacy rules say that Google+ shouldn’t be your only method of communication for a piece of information. Be sure that equivalent info is available on a government website somewhere.
  6. Circles: Add partners, related government agencies and relevant stakeholders to your circles.
  7. Communities: Join and engage in communities. Pick reputable, active communities relevant to your organization. Consider the amount of members and the quality of the discussions occurring in the community. Think about what your organization can really add to the discussion. Post regularly in these communities and engage in meaningful dialogue.
  8. Posts: Remember, posts are editable, in case you have updates or corrections or wish to attach media that you did not do previously. Ensure that you are embedding links into posts.
  9. Title Tag: When creating a post, the first sentence becomes part of what is called the title tag. The title tag is highly correlated with Google search rankings. Select your first sentence carefully, including your desired query terms, and remember that the title tag will be the first sentence most people see. Create a bold title for each post and Google will use that as the browser title in Search+. You can bold a title by doing *Word*and you can italicize by _Word_.
  10. Sharing Content: You’ll want to +1 mention others when sharing others’ content.

Google+ Strategy for Maximizing SEO

Search engine optimization word cloud with magnifying class. The cloud includes the words "search," "engine," and "optimization," and the magnifying glass is over the acronym "SEO"
  • Invest in quality over quantity
  • Build G+ networks (via followers, circles, influencers, and communities)
  • Engage with active, relevant influencers and communities
  • Post original, shareable content that is likely to be linked to, re-shared, recommended, helps people and answers questions 

While you should carefully develop your Google+ strategy, hopefully these simple tips will help with maximizing your SEO while using your Google+ page. Many of these tips involve set up and minor maintenance. Consider using content you’ve already developed. You could be pleasantly surprised by the results!

This discussion is brought to you by the Federal Communicators Network. FCN members are government employees managing U.S. government communications. We've published lots more on this topic. Check out 5 Tips – How To Write For The Web and Measure Campaign Effectiveness with Link Shortening.

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