Why Google+ is good for SEO (Google+ Part1)

The barrier between search and social is gone. The two, in fact, have joined forces becoming a must use tool for every business. Recently Google+ has taken a lot of heat in the form of some saying they “copied” Facebook. Google has come out and said they didn’t copy them and in fact have created something better. Did they copy the idea, or simply take an idea and make it better?

Throughout the year of 2011, we saw the rise of small to large businesses joining Facebook. In the middle of it all, Google decided to join the party with Google+ and for the most part, they were just pushed under the rug as businesses already had their hands full with Facebook. Now that they have finally learned how to integrate Facebook into their plans, why should they take the time to learn Google+?

Google+ gives businesses more content to be found on search engines. A businesses Facebook page will show up in search results, but the content (likes, shares, and comments) will not. Following all that information might be easy, just go to the Facebook page to follow and the content is there for everyone to see.

The difference with Google+ is that all material posted and shared adds to the content that the search engine must crawl through in pulling up results. For those that understand SEO that is a good thing, for those who are a little-confused let’s look at it in a different way.

For example, purposes only let’s use Toyota to break this down. Toyota has just fewer than 700,000 followers on Facebook with just over 10,000 people talking about it (comments, shares, and likes). Now those 10,000 comments and shares can only be found on Facebook by their followers. So when you search Toyota on a search engine those comments and shares are not crawled through making the only result from the page being the page itself. In other words, their 10,000 comments are equal to one in the eyes of a search engine.

Now if they had that much traffic on their Google+ page, that 10,000 would equal 10,000, giving search engines more content to crawl through and increasing the chance to be found and ranked higher in a search.

With that, all said, Toyota doesn’t really need to worry about being found as much as your small business. Continue to use Facebook as it is still very valuable for your small business to grow, but the time has come to also focus on Google+. It will take time to learn and monitor but is very essential to use for growth and development for your business.

10 Reasons Small Businesses Need to Blog

Yes, 10 reasons your small business NEEDS to blog, with the emphasis on the word needs.

Now I’m not talking about your everyday “mommy blog,” as that is the impression most people get when hearing the word blog. The word blog should actually be used in your business vocabulary more than you think. Blogging is a very versatile tool, and can serve a bigger purpose in areas of your business that you already spend lots of time, energy and money in.

For those that already blog, I hope you’ll agree with these 10 reasons. For those who do not, my goal is for you to start up a blog for your small business within hours of reading this.

1. SEO

Blogging, when done correctly, can rank you higher on Google and other search engines. The secret is to use your businesses keywords strategically and consistently throughout posts. Not only does a blog give your business another platform to be found on, but also if done regularly, provides current and fresh content.

2. Social Media content

Most, if not all, businesses have adopted social media into their business plan. The issue that most of these businesses are facing is finding valuable content to share. In fact, most of these businesses are posting and sharing content from other businesses blogs driving traffic and clients away from themselves. Why not use content that drives those potential clients to your website?

3. Credibility

Every business out there believes they are worthy of the business they bring in. Blogs give you an opportunity to quickly establish yourself as an industry expert in their field. But be careful, this is a double-edged sword…if not careful you can lose credibility just as fast.

4. Visibility

Blogs can be a great source to remind consumers you are out there. So many small businesses are not visible online. The use of certain plugins can automatically attach a link to your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ account to remind your followers that you are still there.

5. Public Relations

Press releases are and will always be very important when communicating with the media and your targeted audience. Unfortunately, small businesses don’t attract the media very often. Blogs give you the opportunity to release information as well as receive feedback.

6. Customer Service

As stated above, blogs can give instant feedback on issues or services your business offers. If monitored correctly, businesses can address conflicts and concerns just as fast as they hear about them. At the same time use positive feedback to understand what your consumers like, and use that feedback to build stronger relationships.

7. Marketing

A blog can be your best friend when trying to establish your brand image. You control the content and voice of your business when you blog. Your blog will brand your business whether you are trying to or not. Just for fun check out the blogs of a few businesses and see if the first impression they give off matches the audience they are trying to reach.

8. “Free Sample”

You know what I, and 99% of people love about Costco and Sams Club…free samples! There is nothing that sells frozen egg rolls better than sampling one while it is hot, fresh and free. Your goods and services are no different than that little frozen egg roll. The Internet gives consumers the opportunity to research a business before they buy or invest in what they offer. What better way can you think of to showcase your knowledge and strengths than a blog that you control? Remember, no one ever buys nasty samples.

9. Education

I’ve already hit on the idea of educating your audience, but blogging is an educational tool for yourself. As you start to blog you are going to want to stand out in your field or areas of expertise. By putting your thoughts and ideas into words your knowledge will grow. This is not a new concept and will expand your mind as you research new ideas to blog about for your audience.

10. History 101

If we have learned one thing in the last few years, it would have to be that our economy can flip like a switch. One week business can be great and the very next week dead. Blogs are a great way to record and study your own business. Looking back how you adapted to a certain issue could help avoid certain bumps down the road. You can leave posts up on your blog longer than a lifetime if you choose. Who knows, just as we look back at history to solve problems today, others will be doing down the road…your blog might just be the answer to solve their issues.