How Google+ Helps Bloggers Increase Reach, Readers and Ranking

Fifty years from now when the history of blogging is written by social media scholars (and it will be – think of how blogging has helped to change the landscape of writing and communicating), I sincerely hope that one of the great mysteries of the blogosphere will finally be answered:

Why did Facebook chase us away, and how did Google+ save our careers?

google+, google plus, bloggers, facebook, how to use google+, bloggers and google+, social media

Here’s the deal, bloggers. You can no longer rely on Facebook to get your posts seen by your readers, page fans and the like unless you either:

    1. Have an enormous following already

or

2. Spend money regularly to have Facebook promote your posts.

The fact is, any post on Facebook that takes you off of Facebook is less likely to be seen, image or not. That URL is like a big ol’ warning signal for Facebook to NOT LET ANYONE SEE IT.

But you love Facebook. We all do – Facebook is, after all, where we are – our virtual neighborhood. Facebook is fun! It’s like the lunchroom in junior high if you were one of the 10 people who was actually popular in 7th grade – only now everyone is popular! You can be friends with all the cool kids, because they want more friends, too!

If you want to keep posting on Facebook and bring traffic to your site, here’s what you have to do. You have to get your friends and fans to share your posts. And you have to get them to ask their friends to share your posts, too. Most people are fairly judicious about sharing on Facebook – we don’t want to annoy our friends by cluttering up their feeds.

But there are other ways to bring traffic to your site besides the huge, all-consuming thing that is Facebook. Lots of others. For now, let’s talk about the one that sends otherwise sane, rational bloggers screaming for wine and chocolate.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I know you don’t want to talk about this.

Google+ is the answer.

I’m not talking about Google+ as a social platform like Facebook – though certainly it has the potential to be like that (well, sort of). I’m talking about Google+ purely as a means of increasing your Google rank and visibility on Google searches – as a business tool. The higher you are on Google search, the more likely new readers are going to find you. Who among us, dear midlife bloggers, doesn’t want to be on Google’s page one for the search “marriage,” or “college kids” or, the holy grail for midlife moms, “empty nest”?

Google+ can help.

The first thing you need to do is get a Google+ profile. Personalize it like I did (well, not exactly like I did).

****Attention: THE CORRECT SIZE FOR THE GOOGLE HEADER IS 2120 x 1192.****

Then, you need to start following, joining, and connecting. Follow other people on Google+, join groups, and create circles.

(Are you a member of the Women of Midlife Google+ community? Come join us.)

Which leads me to how to use Google+, both for you and for your fellow bloggers. Supporting each other is

—-»» JUST AS IMPORTANT ««—–

as promoting ourselves. And yes, I was shouting. Generosity begets generosity.

One recent Friday when we did our weekly sharing in the Women of Midlife Google+ community, there were approximately 25 posts.

What ideally should have happened was that every one of those posts should have had at least 25 plusses. If you share a post in a community and you want recognition for your share, you need to give some plus love. You don’t even have to read every one of them, ok? I mean, you should read a few. And leave a few comments – and even, if you really like one, share it on Facebook! But plussing? It’s easy-peasy. And every plus on a post is good for Google juice. I promise this will take you, max, 15 minutes a day. Plus, people!

If you only share your own posts and don’t interact with others on Google+, you’ll get nothing back. Sort of like how Facebook works, too. And Twitter. And Pinterest. And every other social media platform that exists. Because the essence of social media is to give as well as receive. That’s why we spend so much time reading other people’s blogs, retweeting, liking things on Facebook and, yes, plussing and sharing on Google+.

If midlife isn’t your thing, then find a community that is. Communities on Google+ are the best way to get connected to others like you. Whether it’s photography, organic cooking, travel, toddlers…you name it. Just like on Facebook, there are groups for every interest.

The most difficult thing about Google+ for most of us is that it’s not Facebook. It’s a whole new world of sharing in a different way (See Dustin Stout’s post, listed below). Every like of a Facebook post is nice, but it doesn’t do anything for our blog’s visibility on Google. Every plus does.

As to the technical aspects of the nuts and bolts of using Google+, I will leave that to the experts. Below are some links to some of the most helpful and informative information I’ve come across in my quest to understand Google+. They’re all straightforward and easy to understand, I promise!

Before you do anything else, make sure you have claimed your Google Authorship!

Martin ShervingtonWhat is Google+?
- an overview of what it’s all about.

Dustin StoutThe Anatomy of a Perfect Google+ Post
A step-by-step guide to how to create a Google+ post that will attract attention and readers.

google plus, google+, g+, google+ for bloggers, how to use google plus, social media

Here is a great example of a well-executed Google+ post from Lisa Heffernan.

Peg FitzpatrickWhat Not to Share in Google+ Communities
Etiquette for Google+.

Mashable20 Reasons to Switch to Google+ (infographic)
Some things to consider.

GoogleHow to Share a Post on Google+
What you need to do to share a post effectively.

GoogleHow to Find People and Create Circles on Google+
Build your community.

Freesourcecode.comHow to Format Your Google+ Post
How to change the look of your post on Google+