In this social media expedition, we are exploring the benefits, how to’s and strategies of using Google Plus as an affiliate.
We start by telling you about Google Plus. What is it? Why should you use it? We take you through the process of setting up a Google Plus Profile, including what elements are most important to focus on.
When we’ve got you all up and running, it’s time to explore what you can do on this social media platform that will benefit you as an affiliate, and how best to use these elements.
Finally, we delve a little deeper into the strategies that really make Google Plus worthwhile as an affiliate marketing tool.
Google Plus has a very close correlation with good search engine rankings. Facebook hides data from Google, and Twitter directs Google not to follow most of its links, but Google crawls new links posted on Google Plus almost instantly.
It’s a time-sensitive, up-to-date, social media SEO machine!
So how tricky is it to get your own Google Plus profile set up? Not tricky at all. Here’s how it’s done.
If you don’t already have a Google account, which includes Gmail accounts, then make sure to create a personal account to get started with.
Likewise, if your Gmail address has nothing to do with your name, like “I_love_my_cat@gmail.com”, create one that reflects your name to add authenticity to the account.
Head to the Plus section of Google to get started. Sign yourself in if you aren’t signed in already. You’ll see a main page, but to edit your profile you need to click on the blue circle with a darker blue person symbol inside in the top right corner.
This drops down a small box, on which you can click “View profile” to get to your profile page.You’ll see a page like this:
The first thing you want to do is click on the blue circle symbol, like the one on the previous page. It’ll now be located to the left. A menu will pop up for choosing your profile picture:
Choose a nice picture of you from your computer using the options in the center or any of the options from the tabs at the top. Unlike other social media platforms, where you would use a brand image to match your affiliate site, you want to use a good picture of your face.
Once your profile photo is set up, feel free to also personalize your cover photo, keeping in mind that you are still using this for your affiliate marketing and your choice has to be tasteful to your target audience.
Other than your profile picture, the most important thing to get set up is your “about” details. Making sure you have the “About” tab selected beneath your cover picture, you will be able to see the “Story” box on the right. Click on “edit” at the bottom of this box.
This will bring up the “Story” menu for adding more information about yourself. Add a brief but positive tagline about yourself, and then fill in the introduction box with details about you and your affiliate brand.
It is important to add a link back to your affiliate website in this description because of the search rankings associated with Google Plus.
So you’ve got a picture and a description in your profile. The question now is how do you use Google Plus? The main thing to understand about using Google+ is the circles system it uses to connect people.
Having more people in your circles, and consequently being in more of other people’s circles, increases your presence on Google Plus. Let’s go into how you can add to your circles.
Hover your mouse over “Home” at the top left of your screen to show the main menu, then go down it to click on “People.”
It will come up with a page for you to find suggested people associated with your Google account.
Add as many people as you can from these options. If you know of any names, particularly influential people within your niche, you can search for them in the search bar. Once you’ve added people to your circles, you can view them in the “your circles” tab. I’m hovering by the “Following” circle in this example, but you can personalize your circles to be called whatever you want.
You can add the same person to multiple circles, or have separate circles for different niches, as an example. This is an easy way for you to categorize your contacts so that when you post from the home page, it’s a lot easier to control who sees what, whether it be separating contacts for different niches, or separating your personal posts from your affiliate posts.
You can also look at relevant pages to do with a variety of topics under the Discover tab. The categories sit along the left.
Try to find pages that could relate to your niche and comment on their posts to get yourself out there.
When your circles are set up, you should be posting your content on Google Plus and linking back to new content on your affiliate website whenever you can, to get more Google-friendly exposure.
A neat feature of posting with Google Plus is that, unlike Facebook and Twitter, you can edit your content at any time -- it’s not set in stone. This means that if something goes viral, you can still fix any problems with it if anyone has an issue.
So what strategies can help you get ahead with Google plus? Ultimately, the goal of Google Plus is to get plus ones for any URLs you post via your social empire.
Plus ones are the rating other Google Plus users give to anything you post that they like. These plus ones are Google Plus’s wild card. A study by Moz shows that a URL's number of Plus Ones is more highly correlated with search rankings than any other factor, page authority being the only exception.
These power-packing plus ones beat out other well-known metrics, including linking root domains, Facebook shares, and even keyword usage.
The URLs you would ideally aim to get plus ones for would be for pages that develop leads. This could be your latest blog post or relevant, quality content on your affiliate site that your audience would be genuinely interested in.
More sparingly, promote URLs to squeeze pages or enticing special offers. You don’t want to come across as hard selling here.
I can see how this might make you want to post as many links as possible to your affiliate site, but remember not to spam on social media! It’s like the other social media platforms in this respect: focus on quality content, top-notch lead hooks, and a content-to-promotion ratio that doesn’t put people off.
More plus ones on fewer URLs is better than fewer plus ones on more URLs -- or worse, no plus ones at all.
When you do post links, especially to your own affiliate site or offers, you need to make sure they are optimized for SEO.
Underneath the box where you type the post itself, there are options to attach elements such as photos and links. Click on “Link” to attach any “shared” links to your posts that you want to be followed.
This is important because any links that are only added within the post body itself are no-follow, and therefore don't offer any link equity.
Posting lengthier content is much more doable on Google Plus than other forms of social media. In fact, longer pages have even shown to have higher rankings, so if you have any quality content that’s a bit longer, this is your platform.
Basically, while Facebook and Twitter are the fast food chains of social media, Google Plus is a restaurant fit for dining in.
Posts on Google Plus have their own URLs, and just like a blog, posts can be more in depth, allowing for more information-rich content.
This longer content can be anything that would be of value to customers in your niche, including sample blog posts, reviews, or lists of information such as frequently asked questions.
To wrap up, in this lesson we have covered what Google Plus is about, how to use it, and the strategies that will make Google Plus worthwhile from an affiliate marketing standpoint. In the process we developed your circles which advances the SEO of your personal brand and Google Plus presence.
If you haven’t already set up your Google Plus profile, do so now. Optimize it with a link to your affiliate site in your about section and, if you haven’t already, feel free to check out our lessons on other social media affiliate marketing strategies for Facebook and Twitter.