Google + Optimization and Link Building Strategies
:: By Travis Bliffen, Stellar SEO ::
Many Internet professionals, me included, aren't Google Plus's biggest fans and if it had failed, many of us wouldn't have lost a bit of sleep over it. The fact of the matter is, however, Google Plus is here to stay and failing to take advantage of it would be a big mistake.
Getting Started with Google Plus
Google Plus as you know is a social media platform built by Google. You can create a personal profile and you can also create pages for local or non-location specific businesses. The local business listings are now known as Google + Local and are a great addition to any local SEO strategy. Setting up your page only takes a few minutes and the process is very simple. Taking the time to fill in all the details is worthwhile, so be sure to do so.
Those of you who lack experience with Google Plus may want to start by reading a recent interview about Google + that I did with marketing vet Crystal Childs and then come back to this article.
Below we look at how to build the authority of your Google Plus page, and even outrank the original author for long tail keywords they targeted by sharing their content, it's important to understand how this can be accomplished through "Barnacle SEO" and page rank funneling.
Barnacle SEO and Google Plus
Last week, I covered Barnacle SEO and how it can be used to rank quickly for keywords, especially long tail terms. As I mentioned before, several sites can be used for Barnacle SEO and Google Plus is one of them. In case you missed it, Barnacle SEO is when you piggyback on the authority of a trusted site to gain rankings for your keywords rapidly.
What is Page Rank Funneling?
In case you are not familiar, Page Rank funneling is when you create a profile, blog, or other content on a page and then build internal do-follow links to gain authority and Page Rank. For example, a local news site called the St Louis Egotist allows you to create a profile page. The page contains a do-follow external link to your website and one other external link to a social profile. In order to increase the Page Rank and authority of your profile on this site, you can comment on stories on the site. As you will see below, a comment will allow you to get a do-follow link pointed to your profile, thereby increasing its authority. Repeat the process over a few months and you could have a powerful profile page without much work. This process can be completed on numerous other sites as well.
(“Stellarseo” on the image above is the anchor for a do-follow link pointing to my profile on the site.)
Getting Internal Do-Follow Links on G+
As with many sites, internal link building is an effective method of gaining authority and page rank to your profile. The primary difference between Google Plus and other sites is that you cannot build your own internal links directly anymore. As you can see below, there are still ways to get do-follow internal links to your profile page, but it requires others to link to you. While there used to be several ways to get internal do-follow links, the two methods below are the only ones still active.
(In the first example, you can see I +Website Magazine - highlighted in yellow - in a post. I shared and this built a do-follow link to their profile.)
(In example two, we are looking at the +1 page on my Google Plus profile. As you can see, when I gave the Website Magazine a +1 it built a do-follow internal link to their profile. This page also creates do-follow links to external pages you gave a +1 to as well.)
How Do I Get Those Links Though?
This is the difficult part of the equation. Remember all those posts that tell you to create great content? This must be the reason why. Writing and sharing the content is a good start, but you need a little more strategy to rock this method.
The first thing you should focus on is building an active following on Google Plus. While numbers do not hurt, the more authority your followers have the more benefit a share from them would bring. This argument means that getting 10 power users to share your content could be more beneficial than 50 shares from low-authority profiles.
You should try to connect with and interact with authority users in your niche. Sharing, commenting and interacting with them on G+ is a good way to get noticed. You could take it a step further and contact them on other social profiles, ask to interview them or just about any other method you can think of to get them to follow you. Sometimes you can even share something they have created with a comment of your own about how awesome they are and they will share your post, just be sure to tag yourself in it.
A shortcut to getting power followers is getting guest posts on authority sites in which you mention them and link out to their content. Drop them a line and let them know you liked their content so much you linked out to it in a featured post on xyz.com. This also plays on the Rule of Reciprocity, which is when someone feels obligated to do something for you since you have done something nice for them first.
Are you learning anything yet? I sure hope so!
Building External Inbound Links
Unlike building internal Google Plus links, you can control these links. Building links to your profile can be done is several ways and one of the easiest is by including a link to your profile in your author bio for guest posts. You should also include your G+ profile link when setting up profiles on other sites, leaving comments on related pages, and when possible, link out to it in the body of a guest post.
In case you are wondering how to slip a link to your G+ page in the article body, try this. Your +1s page makes a nice little list of resources that you find useful. Why not +1 5-10 post, pages or tools that are niche relevant and really useful? By doing so, you have created a resources list and you can link to that from almost any post, plus you will be one of the first using the +1 page to curate linkable assets.
Blasting Your Google Plus Page
If you are looking for a more risqué and less wholesome method of gaining authority and Page Rank to your Google Plus assets, you can build links directly to it using a variety of methods.
As I mentioned last week, the beauty of Barnacle SEO is that you can build a ton of average links and not worry much about getting penalized because of the insane authority of host pages.
Warning -Do not use software to build links directly to your main site or any asset you could not stand to have penalized. The paragraph above is for educational purposes only and should be used carefully. If you are not sure what to do, do not use any tools. Automated link building does violate Google’s best practices and is considered a black hat tactic.
If you want to play around with this method, you could outsource some link building to your G+ page or even try using automated link building software to get the job done. If you do not have experience with this, set up a page just for testing purposes, so you do not damage your brand name.
If you are going to use software, I recommend GSA Search Engine Ranker. It is the cheapest (about $99) and most diverse link building tool available. I am in no way affiliated with GSA.
Ranking Your G+ Page for Long Tail Keywords
Mark Traphagen was one of the first to realize that you could rank for long tail keywords by sharing the posts of other people. He realized that when sharing posts, he would often rank higher for the keywords in the post title than the original author. His initial theory had to do with the number of followers or plus ones being the deciding factor. Upon further review, he discovered that the page with the highest authority and Page Rank was the one most likely to rank highest.
Above we discussed ways to build your Google Plus Page Rank by acquiring both internal and external links. All you have to do is build an authoritative page and you too will be able to share posts with long tail keywords and appear first in the SERPs for those terms. Good looking out Mark Traphagen!
If you have any questions, comments, or have used this method successfully, we would love to hear more below!
Author Bio: Travis Bliffen is the founder of Stellar SEO, a search marketing and design agency located near St. Louis Mo. Travis loves researching and writing about SEO strategies and implementing innovative strategies for his clients. Connect on Twitter @theseoproz.