Google enjoys a vaster media empire than Forbes and TechCrunch combined, but those outlets have no fear declaring that the king’s social media network is dead.

From a purely social media networking standpoint, that makes sense.

What was the last post you shared on Facebook or LinkedIn? Did you also share it on Google+?

Have you ever shared anything on Google+?

Probably not, right?

So why should you make Google+ part of your social media strategy?

Three words: search engine optimization.

Most business owners want their web sites to rank on page one of Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). And the media giant’s latest algorithm reportedly weighs social media even more heavily when assigning a site’s SEO value.

Adding Google+ to other best practices such as programming backend SEO data and providing fresh, regular blog content could do great things for your business’s online visibility.

3 Ways to Boost SEO

1. Optimize your Google+ page

The first step in building your SEO is to set up your Google+ page correctly. Have you chosen the correct category and filled in all relevant information? Have you integrated industry-related keywords that have a high search volume and low competition? Have you added your company’s address to the page and connected it to local listings?

Make sure all information on your Google+ page is accurate and complete before making the page live.

2. Link to your web site from your Google+ page

There are two types of links on the Internet: no-follow links and do-follow links. Both types of links are beneficial, but do-follow links are more important.

When other web users link to your site through a do-follow link, they are essentially recommending your site as a source of expert knowledge in your industry. They’re also sharing some of their own site’s SEO potential with yours, which means that Google should pay even more attention to your site.

The more do-follow links you can build, the better. And while most other social networks’ links are no-follow, Google+ links are do-follow. Post engaging blog content on your web site regularly, and use the link function on Google+ to link to those blog posts at least weekly.

3. Increase your followers and +1s

Just as your web pages and blog posts can appear in the SERPs, so can individual Google+ posts. Google customizes search results to individual users, meaning that if someone is in one of your Google+ “circles” (known on other social networks as followers or connections), it’s likely that your Google+ posts will appear higher in the search results.

Also, the more +1s a post receives, the higher it will rank on the SERPs. (A “+1” is akin to a “like” on Facebook and LinkedIn, or a “favorite” on Twitter.) As you grow your followers and they engage with your posts, your Google+ page — and therefore your web site — likely will increase its SEO ranking.

Do your best to post original content that will generate +1s, and don’t hesitate to +1 other people’s content. Google+ is a social media site, after all.

The Once and Future King?

Google not only shares online news headlines, it also appears in news headlines almost every day. Clearly, the king is not dead, and neither is its social media site. So think twice before kicking Google+ to the curb.

With a painless page set up and a few quick clicks per week, you could be on your way to a high and mighty position on the first page of the Google SERPs.

Emily Crider and Chrissy Hoffmaster are social media & project manager and copywriter/project manager, respectively, at IMPACT Marketing and Public Relations in Columbia. They can be reached at 410-312-0081, or [email protected] or [email protected], respectively.