Google Plus: Getting Top SEO Rankings Without Top SEO Metrics
Shown above is the bottom of Page 1 of my “personalized” Google Search Results for “mesothelioma”. For whatever reason, Google sees my “silly” post on Google Plus as worthy of Page 1 status.
A few spots above me is Ron Miller, an attorney, who I happen to follow on Google Plus. Ron’s socialization of a news article that doesn’t involve him or his firm in any way has also earned him a Page 1 listing.
Neither Ron nor I have any of the traditional SEO ranking factors in our favor that would make us worthy of Page 1. However, on a search term that’s routinely costs $50+ in paid search and is extraordinarily difficult to rank highly for naturally, we both achieved incredible visibility in the eyes of the thousands of people who follow us on Google Plus. In addition, with Google’s emphasis on “authorship”, both Ron and I have pictures next to our listing which gives us extra visibility compared to both the higher ranked natural results and the paid results…neither which contain pictures. For those who don’t know, mesothelioma cases pay attorneys extremely well and whether Ron intended his Google Plus page as a vehicle for attracting plaintiffs or not, it’s quite possible that his post could generate a huge revenue windfall for him.
Traditional SEO metrics continue to evolve and there will always be sites that evolve their SEO in lock step with Google’s algorithm and continue to keep their top natural search rankings. However, we can tell by Google’s emphasis on Google Plus that they’re not only going to do everything possible to make it a viable social network for its own sake but that they’re committed to using “worthy” Google Plus content as Page 1 material and, with the emphasis on rel=authorship and Google Plus profile pictures, they are committed to elevating “individuals” as subject matter experts in the eyes of their social media peers.
Many people use Twitter and Facebook to establish themselves as subject matter experts…all of which occurs outside the realm of Google monetization. Google Plus certainly doesn’t offer the same quality of socialization as Twitter or Facebook and that’s why it’s not been much of an “artistic” success. However, the folks at Google can offer something extremely valuable to its top contributors…top natural SERP listings visible to everyone within your Google Plus network. Perceptive marketers who take it upon themselves to not only strategically grow their Google Plus network with the right followers but contribute content in a very tactical way can generate prime visibility for high dollar search terms in the eyes of a large volume of targeted visitors.
When implementing a Google Plus strategy, make sure you don’t try to use it as a direct response sales vehicle. Be a resource for “your friends”. Show your knowledge. Social media is about sharing not selling. Your followers will draw their own conclusions about your professional capabilities by how you interact with the medium and if their perception of you is positive and if they think you can meet their needs, they’ll make contact.
Google is giving its top Plus contributors prime visibility…it’s up to them to make the best use of the opportunity. And if you’re actually a mesothelioma lawyer, the rewards for building and developing an effective Google Plus following could be extraordinary.