ImageOften forgotten for its social-media influence, Google+ might just be the most crucial social network for businesses and professionals who want to solidify their positive online reputation. Both a Google+ page and Google Authorship should be a critical aspect of your online reputation management.

Social-media sites like Facebook and Twitter are well-known forums for success, but Google+ has generally received short shrift. When you develop a Google+ page, people will be able to +1 your page. It’s the same as a Twitter follow or Facebook “Like.” Google determines the popularity of you or your business based on these +1’s.

Google+ Is a One-Stop Shop for Online Users

The social-networking site offers a central location for your online reputation management and professional branding efforts. It’s clear that Google wants to learn everything about you so that it can serve as an authoritative source about your online identity. Although some may be skeptical about privacy issues, Google+ offers the opportunity to control what others are seeing about you. Along with your website, Google+ should be a primary hub for your online identity. Link to your social-media account, sites where you post content, and other web pages of interest. Make your engaging content easy to share through Google+ by adding social sharing buttons. Your Google+ profile should be completely filled out with engaging and relevant information. This profile information will influence how you appear in Google+ search results, and plays a key role when Google suggests other users to follow.

Google+ Publicizes Your Fresh, Informative Content

Google+ is a premier social network where you can comment on posts, follow industry insiders and share relevant content that helps you to establish your authority and educate your audience.

When you share content through Google+, be sure to add any informative commentary that might influence your audience to pursue the subject further. Just a few sentences to provide context could make a major difference. It should go without saying that posts must be public. For the purposes of SEO, you want your posts to be shared as widely as possible.

Google+ Drives the Machine of Your Google Search Results

The connection between Google+ and Knowledge Graph, Google’s enhancement of its search engine results, is considerable. With Knowledge Graph, users are presented with a convenient sidebar of examples replete with rich graphics that will assist in their queries. Not only will this functionality provide users with relevant results, but it will present them in a way that is more informative at a short glance without the need to click deeper. Some of the information on Knowledge Graph can be manipulated through your own online reputation management efforts. Overall, the Knowledge Graph helps users to understand the relationship between things.

Google+ is just the right means for controlling your message. Here are a few other key aspects of Google+ and how they can influence your success in the marketplace.

Google+ Authorship

Google+ is a significant part of Google Authorship. Authorship allows the user to link content, indicating that the content originates from you. If you publish a significant amount of quality content, with that content regularly shared online, your Author Rank on Google will increase dramatically. Share all the positive content about you and your business through your Google+ profile.

Log into other sites, forums and blog commenting systems using your Google+ login to direct people to your profile as a primary source for information about you online. Once you’ve completed this task, link to your Google+ profile from every piece of content about you online. The more followers you have, the more +1s you have. Plus, more comments on your status updates will establish you as an authoritative figure to Google and to people viewing your content online.

Google+ Circles

Circles will allow users to organize followers based on interests or any other set of criteria. You may have circles for members of your family members, work acquaintances, interest groups and more. For your business or organization, examples include prospects, current customers and competitors. This capability means that you can group users to further target your messaging. Simply click the Circles button found in the navigation bar. At the bottom the screen, you will see several circles including Family and Friends. You can develop custom circles that will fit your needs. Just drag and drop names from your list into the circles of your choosing. More people adding you to their circles will result in an increased visibility through Google search results.

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts, Google’s free and easy-to-use video chat service, enables both group chats and one-on-one chats. Similar to Facebook Video Chat, FaceTime and Skype, Google Hangouts promotes “face-to-face-to-face” interaction among groups. Creating a Google Hangout will allow users to schedule online events. For example, multiple users can participate in your live Q&A session. You can access text chat, YouTube videos and special effects while chatting with other users. By checking "Enable Hangouts On Air," users can even broadcast their live hangout—from a YouTube channel, Google+ stream or website—to a global audience.

Google+ Communities

Google+ Communities allow you to participate in and even create focused groups of both companies and individuals. Participating in existing communities is a terrific way of maintaining brand awareness, developing trust and drawing feedback from clients and customers. Creating a group allows you to start a community that is closely aligned to your own brand values. This helps to improve your brand awareness, helps to position you as an authority, and helps you nurture relationships. Google+ Communities is easy to use: When you land on the main Communities page, simply go to the red button located in the top-right corner that says “CREATE A COMMUNITY.” You can select a name for the community and then decide if it will be open to the public or if you will moderate memberships.  

Google+ Events

Google+ Events is a similar function to Facebook Events. Events are an excellent way to promote things such as free webinars or on-site open days. However, the Google version encourages a more enhanced level of interactivity. Any user on Google Calendar or Gmail can add an event to their invitations and calendars that will automatically be sent to selected groups or individuals. Events are a particularly effective way to advertise deals like free or discounted products and services. You can promote a product launch party, charity fundraiser, customer appreciation day or any other event on Google+. To create an event, just click the event icon found in the share box when you create posts. Users can invite anyone they like, even if they aren’t members of Google+.

Google+ Business

Google+ Business performs much like Facebook Business pages. You must be a regular Google+ member before you can establish a business page. The Business Page is highly regarded by search engines and will conveniently showcase you and your business. You can post regular updates to your wall and link this page to any content that you’ve created.

Google Places

Google Places are business-listing pages that provide local businesses the opportunity to display photos, reviews and other important information such as contact details and store hours. Google Place also functions as a location map. This outlet offers users another page to enhance search results and educate the audience about their products or services.

Conclusion

As an added benefit, Google+ has rolled out analytical insights for users to see vital statistics on their dashboard. The statistics includes how many times a users has been viewed in local search, how many views obtained by your business listings, and how many people are engaging with you. Having full control of your Google+ profile – will help your positive content reach the top of your Google search results.