Semantic web marketingIn my book on Google Semantic Search I stressed how Google+, Google’s “social layer” is key to succeeding in semantic search and the emerging semantic web.

In the months since I first wrote those words evidence is piling up on just how important this key is. If you’re still sitting on the fence wondering whether you should join “yet another social network” I have this to say: the semantic web and semantic search are a real paradigm shift. If you’re not adjusting your mindset as a marketer or as a business owner to meet it, five years from now you will no longer be in business.

With that in mind here are three reasons that Google+ should be the main online web strategy you should be spending any time on:

1. Engagement is the only metric that really matters. Whether you’re a brand, or a person, the ultimate metric of the success of your “social signal” is the engagement you generate in your Google+ posts. An original study carried out by Dustin Stout shows conclusively that Google aggregates all interaction from its social network, including what happens on a website through the Google+ social media sharing button into its social signal metrics. So the days when automatically blasting out a post on all social media platforms was enough to get the attention of search engines, are now behind us.

2. Google+ is key to organic link building. Those who think “link building is never going to go away” are half-right. In the semantic web Google looks at organic links. Successive Penguin search algorithm updates killed the value of almost every link building effort that looked unnatural, paid-for, or reciprocal and cleaned out Google’s index with a focus on quality. A Moz study on the impact of social sharing activity of posts shared in Google+ found that amongst other direct SEO benefits posts that had been reshared in the social network were ranking higher in search than posts that hadn’t.

3. Google+ profiles are important in the semantic web. Google uses a Google+ profile’s activity to determine the activity, authority, power and trust an individual commands. It then uses the interaction to determine the validity of content and its contextual value. In that respect it is forcing those who are on its platform to interact like real people rather than marketing automatons, form real relationships and develop reputation the same way they would offline: slowly and through delivering real value. If you do need a little help optimizing your profile there you can do no better than Stephan Hovnanian’s handy guide.

Is it difficult and time consuming to do all of this? Yes it is. Is it yet another energy-draining layer of social media activity that you now have to find the time for? Absolutely. There is little point in trying to automate your G+ activity, it will not work. But the semantic web is here, now. If you want to be around five years from now you really have no choice but to adapt.

The Ten Most Common Questions on Semantic Search Answered.