Having landed and created huge ripples in the social networking sphere, Google+ has continue to grow at a particularly rapid pace, increasing by over 10 million users in the space of a week, having now reached 20 million. There’s been a great deal written about it in comparison with Facebook and to some extent Twitter, but I’d like to draw on one of the key ways that it differs from the two; SEO. 

Having done some digging with the rest of the team at PR company Punch to find out a bit more about how it works, we found that Google+ is a great source of links that can be used for SEO benefit. It’s interesting to see that Google has opted to allow links that pass page rank in contrast to the other major networks such as Facebook and Twitter which only allow links that Google’s spiders can’t follow, and I think it’s likely that this could be part of the Google+ project strategy to grow as big as the two social media giants.

With Google co-founder Larry Page confirming the popularity of the network last week, it can be assumed that the Google+ proposition to users is strong, and generating links from the network for SEO benefit could become all the more important for the future.

At present, there are a number of potential areas for the placement of links that pass on SEO benefit to the destination webpage:

  • Google+ posts - The area that is likely to be used most frequently by users is the posting feature; links found here are valuable links for SEO. This is also likely to be the place where the most dynamic links are found, so it’s probable that Google may only assign short-term weight to these links.
  • The “About Me” section - In addition, the ‘About Me’ section of each user’s profile can include SEO beneficial links too. This may be of great advantage to users with their own blogs, and indeed brands and businesses who have subscribed for the opportunity to set up business pages on Google+ akin to brand pages on Facebook. Depending on the authority of the user or brand, these static links may be of more value than those in Google+ posts.

As a result of the above we may start to see some of the more search-minded brands encouraging their consumers to engage with their content through Google+, as a means of directing valuable links back towards whatever social object they have created. This may be difficult at present given that brands can’t yet establish themselves on the network, but it’s certainly a possibility for the future, since allowing brands to engage with fans is likely to be a key source of revenue for Google.  In addition, the integration of the +1 button earlier this year shows up within users’ Google+ profiles, adding yet another incentive for brands to implement the +1 button too.

From my perspective working at a social media agency, this is certainly another change on the horizon that it’s imperative to keep on top of and an opportunity to be taken.