Google+ burst on to the scene last year as the latest social network and was met with much sceptism. However, since its launch, its potential impact on search has become more apparent and encouraged people and brands to join and participate. It’s clear that in the coming weeks and months Google+ is going to become an increasingly influential factor in SEO and travel marketing, reinforced further by Google’s launch of Search Plus Your World.
So what should travel companies be doing to make sure they don’t miss the boat on Google+?
Currently, brand ‘Pages’ don’t seem to be as influential as ‘People’ profiles. However, brand pages do appear for branded terms, so it’s worth having a page if only from a reputation management stand point. You can use it as method to populate the search results when people search for your brand, pushing down any potential bad reviews on third party sites.
From an SEO perspective, there is less you can do on a page than a personal profile, though there are still some key points to follow to ensure you gain maximum SEO value from your page:
- Use your proper business name. Don’t spam the name with keywords if they aren’t legitimately part of your business name.
- Complete your profile as fully as possible. Fill in all the possible fields and add photos and videos if you have them.
- Use keywords in the tagline and other fields as much as is appropriate without appearing spammy.
- Link your page and your website together using the rel=publisher tag
Engagement is key
Once everything on your page is populated, the next stage is to get people following it. This can be done in a number of ways, but engagement within your community is key to making your page a success. Below are some methods to kick start the engagement on your page in order to garner a strong following:
- Post to the Public – don’t limit your content to particular circles unless it is especially sensitive. Get it to reach as far as possible.
- Create Conversation – go to other people’s statuses and add thoughtful comments. This will raise people’s awareness of your page and make them more likely to follow you.
- Encourage Employees to promote you – personal pages can follow people, pages can’t, so leverage people in your company to promote your page and help get it off the ground.
- Talk Directly to People – use the @ function to talk specifically to people or to highlight content they may be interested in. Don’t overdo it though so they get annoyed!
- Respond to Others – if people go to the effort to +1 your posts or comment on them, go and say thanks and respond. They’ll be grateful and likely continue to share you content in the future.
Google+ is certainly in its early days, but there’s no doubt that it is going to play a big role in SEO and the online marketing sphere as a whole in the future. The key is to hop on board early and build a strong core following so as its influence grows you are in pole position to take advantage.