In June of 2011 many things changed drastically in the SEO and social media world as Google+ was introduced. Most people think of Google as that amazing search engine that helps them find anything and everything they need. What some people may not realise is that Google also owns YouTube, GMail, Google Maps and Android. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the Google products that are being influenced by social interactions. When Twitter and Facebook decided they were not going allow Google to crawl and index every single post Google made the decision to create the Google social layer known as Google+.
Google+ is More of a Layer Than a Social Network
For quite some time +Vic Gundotra has pointed out that Google+ is not a social network similar to Facebook and Twitter. Google+ is more of a social layer for all Google products. Over the last two years we have seen Google slowly weave Google+ into their bigger products. In time, Google+ will be part of every Google product from Waze all the way to Google Docs and Drive. This will come sooner rather than later. Google employees mention that Google+ is not necessarily a social network because it can be used in any capacity. Users can take advantage of a social YouTube. They can log in to Google+ just to use it as a calendar. Some will want to have a Google+ profile only to enhance their search experience.
Therein lies the true meaning of Google+. In everything Google does they have the desire to enhance search. By following people you know and people you respect you will get better search results through “Search Plus Your World”. Even when turning off this feature, many searchers are finding some Google+ integration into search. There is a good chance users have seen a Google+ post, a Google+ community or a Google+ event showing up in search if it has caught the interest of an audience. It is important to note that not every Google+ post, community or event will be indexed and ranked in search. It often takes some interaction or a submission by an influential user. This is not an exact science but it is what I have seen from personal experience.
Google+ Being Indexed in Search
When I first hopped on Google+ in March of 2012 I noticed that +Mark Traphagen was getting individual Google+ posts indexed in search in a matter of minutes. At the time, he had approximately 15,000 Google+ followers and he was one of the most engaging users on the platform. I digested everything he was doing, sat down for lunch with him and started the emulation process. About six months later I noticed that my Google+ posts were getting indexed in search about once or twice a day. After accumulating about 10,000 followers the crawl rate started to increase. By late October 2012 my Google+ posts were getting crawled and indexed in Google incognito (signed out) search in a matter of minutes.
I fully recognize that Google will not anyone manipulate the system. I had no desire to do so myself. I tried to create quality content that my followers wanted to read. I continue to do that to this day and I feel as if I do a pretty good job. My following is now over 325,000 and I am one of the most engaging users on a platform of over 500,000,000. The moral of the story is that Google+ posts can and will be indexed in search if you are willing to provide information your followers want to consume. If you are trying to manipulate the system to rank for specific keywords in a Google+ post there is a very high likelihood that will not work.
Something else many experienced users are noticing is that Google+ communities and Google+ events are indexed in search. Once again, this type of content must be engaging to users. Just because a Google+ user creates the Android Smartphone community it does not mean it will get indexed and ranked in Google search. If the Android Smartphone community has tens of thousands of members that are actively engaging in conversation there is a high likelihood that it will rank for some keywords related to the topic.
Engagement is Key
In the long run it takes engagement and interaction to gain any type of influence on Google+. From personal experience, I have noticed that my more highly engaging posts get indexed and ranked better in Google search. This is not a scientific study I have complete but it is something I have monitored over the course of the last six to nine months. I would be interested to hear about other case studies related to Google+ posts, communities or events getting indexed in Google search. Please feel free to comment below