9 January 2017

5 Key Mistakes to Avoid When Using Google Plus

Mistakes to avoid when using Google PlusAs a social media platform, Google Plus is still popular. This is largely because it is an excellent way to meet new people, connect with prospective customers and also to deepen relationships with existing customers. Whilst this can be achieved on other social media platforms, Google Plus provides a forum where this can be achieved on a deeper and more intimate basis.

Unfortunately, a lot of businesses still don’t seem to “get” Google Plus. This is partly because of the vast size of the site and the fact that it is constantly being updated and added to. A number of the features on the platform provide so much depth that often businesses do not have the time to learn them all, let alone use them.

Despite this, there are a number of mistakes which are being frequently made by businesses who use the platform. These mistakes are being made by all businesses by large and small, local and global. Collected below are the top ten mistakes which are frequently made by businesses on Google Plus.

Mistake 1: Keyword Stuffing on Profile Pages

Keyword Stuffing Mistakes to avoid when using Google PlusA number of businesses stuff their Google Plus profiles with keywords. They do this as they wrongly believe it will gain them better search rankings on Google. This is not the case. Keyword stuffing actually rewards pages with a lower Google ranking. There was a time when keyword stuffing genuinely worked. However, it simply does not cut it anymore with the semantic search which Google now uses.

Google’s semantic search is a long and complex process. However, in a nutshell the search engine is attempting to rank pages for its users based on the most relevant and best quality content. In order to avoid making this mistake, simply write for your customers using simple descriptions. Focus on the details which you provide and be sure to include a selection of product names and services. Not only will your customers appreciate this but so will Google.

Mistake 2: Not Completing Your Profile

Google Plus ProfileSimply put, if you are using Google Plus, the process is quite similar to setting up a business page on Facebook in that you do not need a personal Google Plus page to set up your business page. The similarities continue as you categorise your business and provide your location (which is incredibly important on Google Plus), amongst others.

Whilst it is ok to post as yourself on the platform, it is important to make sure your company is up on the site. Otherwise you miss an excellent opportunity to link back to it, reference it and a whole myriad of other opportunities to raise your business profile. Most importantly, it is an excellent way of increasing the SERP (search engine results page) ranking of your business.

When setting up your Google Plus business page, here are several factors to consider.

  • Don’t miss the chance to include key business keywords in your tagline and introduction.
  • Google Plus provides the opportunity to include all your other social media links. Ensure you take advantage of this option!
  • Include your business website and also your location.

Mistake 3: Posting Only About Your Product

This is simple social media etiquette. However you would be amazed how many businesses ignore this practice. Simply put social media is all about connecting with your customers, networks and clients. In this way it is similar to normal social interaction in that people don’t tend to spend time with people who only talk about themselves. This is also true with receiving updates from companies who only post about themselves.

When posting on any social media platform it is essential to remember the 80/20 golden rule. Basically 80% of your content should be about lifestyle, customers and things which are not associated with your business. Only 20% of your content on the platform should be about you and your products.

Mistake 4: Using a Bad Cover Image

Google Plus Cover ImageYou can’t upload a cover image which is less than the minimum 480 pixels wide by 270 pixels high. Despite this, it is advisable to use an image closer to the maximum allowance. The maximum pixel allowance is 2120 x 1192, however the ideal size for the image you upload is 1080 x 608. It is also worth ensuring that your image scales to the right dimensions, and also consider the location of your image on your home page.

There are some don’ts to consider when using a cover image:

  • Don’t make your cover image grainy.
  • Don’t use an image which is poorly proportioned.
  • Don’t use a badly placed image.
  • Don’t use a meme as your cover picture.

If you have either the in-house talent or the money to outsource then use these services. This allows you to create a cover image which is creative whilst also standing out.

Mistake 5: Not Using Circles

Google Plus CirclesThis feature enables you to segment the people you follow. From a business perspective it means you can send out targeted posts to specific circles on the platform. To demonstrate, you can establish Circles for in-store customers, online customers, partners, industry leaders, business friends, coworkers; etc. Make sure you take full advantage of this feature! A good way to do this is to write specific posts which are targeted to a specific group. Using Circles can help extend the lifetime of both your posts and also your blogs. You can also use Circles as a way to create deeper interactions with specific areas of your following.