Over the last week or so I have been engaging in some great conversation on Google+. Unlike most social networks, the more time I spend on Google+ the more I learn. This is the opposite affect of Twitter and Facebook which make me feel a little dumber by the second; Google+ actually provokes thought and interesting conversation. I have had valuable conversations about finance, smartphones, SEO, blogging, sports, YouTube, and finding a stolen MacBook (all within a few days). This is something that would never happen on other social networks which happen to be full of individuals with the “look at me” mentality.
Some of the more followed users on Google+ also happen to be the ones that will talk to you the most. On Twitter and Facebook the most popular and followed users will almost never talk to you. I have received comments from Vic Gundotra (Mr. Google+ himself), Guy Kawasaki (over 1.5 million followers), Mark Traphagen (a small time Google+ legend) and many others. In fact, it is quite common that these individuals will ask questions themselves! Once again, this would never happen on the other social networks. This should allow anyone to find answers to Google/Apple/tech related questions.
I will admit that I would have considered myself a blogger and “SEO” guy before this past week but I think that has changed since I started my full on Google+ experience. The main reason I started poking around on Google+ in March 2012 was to get answers about some of my websites that have dropped in the search rankings. For those who may not know, there was another Google algorithm update in February and one of my sites got hit. I signed up for Google+ in July of 2011 but really didn’t get involved until recently. By simply asking a few questions and doing research I clearly found out my problem was the websites linking back to me. I must admit that this has been a problem I have had in the past as we always read that links matter. Well, until Google+ and social search.
After watching a few videos by Matt Cutts and talking to some bloggers I realized that Google+ is going to be the new blog. Rather than going on an individual and writing article after article it will be the case that bloggers use their Google+ profile to provide great content that encourages people to carry on a conversation. I have been getting much better at this as some of my more interesting “posts” are getting about 15 to 20 comments and several +1s. The best part about blogging through Google+ is that users do not have to worry about SEO at all! In fact, it would almost be impossible to get knocked in the rankings because you are using a Google product! I will admit that some will go on there and use keyword after keyword after keyword but they will get no comments, shares or +1s. I truly believe this is how Google is going to start making their search better.
AuthorRank has become a hot topic lately as Google+ is encouraging authors to use the rel = author tag on all their websites. Basically, this puts a picture of you beside your work in the Google search. It also helps Google better understand your expertise. If I have many great articles (or Google+ posts) about UNC basketball on the front page then Google knows that I probably have some authority in this industry. How do you get AuthorRank you ask. Well, just like I stated earlier, you use your Google+ profile!
If you write a post on the UNC basketball game and do a live blog that gets 45 comments, 25 reshares and 140 +1s then guess what Google sees – a great author! Many will wonder how much they should put on a specific website versus Google+. Right now I would make the argument that Google+ is only hitting on a few niches. I have posted several times that sports has not carved a niche in Google+. Even the most popular basketball teams are not getting a ton of action on Google+. This does not mean that it will be this way forever. In time, I would imagine that more and more sports fans will start to engage in conversation on Google+. Other niches that seem to be sparse include shopping/retail, auto industry, radio, and hell, basically anything that is not techie. If it is not on Mashable, TechCrunch, BGR, TUAW or other related blogs then it will likely not receive tons of engagement on Google+. So, to answer your question, I would post on Google+ if it gets some action meaning +1s, shares and comments. If there is no action then you need to adjust your way of broadcasting information.
Once again, I will say that this will not continue forever. If you want to seek engaging conversation on Google+ you must carve out the correct niche. Some of the popular topics include blogging, SEO, Apple products, photography, social search, YouTube, politics, investing, and Android. Use a little bit of creativity and start talking about some of these things in any way and you will likely get some conversation going.
Another great thing about Google+ is that honesty is accepted. I have seen many people agree to disagree but never truly get mad. This is quite unusual for social networks. It is something that makes me feel right at home. I am a little bit too honest some times but Google+ users can happily make their point and move on without name calling or thinking that I am an idiot.
Back to my point, Google+ is going to change SEO forever because there will no longer be such a thing as SEO. Matt Cutts has stated multiple times that over SEO’d sites are going to get hit in the near future. What this tells me is that any unnatural link building tactic or scheme is going to be recognized and penalized. By simply doing some research online you will find many websites that are already getting crushed. Instead of going out and building links engage in some great conversation on Google+ and write for a specific audience.
If you can successfully write for the Google+ audience then you can write for any audience. I have some tips and tricks for hitting a specific niche without spamming but that will come at a later time. I think 1000 words of me rambling on is enough for one sitting! Join Google+ and follow some interesting people; I promise you will enjoy yourself!