Google +1, Communities, and Hangouts Oh My

Don't Be Scared To Share Homie!
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With the success of sites like Facebook and Twitter, it seems like everyone has been trying to get in on the social media bandwagon. Google, of course, is no exception. Google+, however, was built by a search engine, for a search engine. The site holds plenty of hidden talents that are great for getting your name out there.  I firmly believe Google gives extra credit to sites that participate on Google +1 (see this case study).  Although the platform hasn’t had as much success as other social media sites, bloggers or those with personal websites can benefit from using Google+ and here’s how.

SEO and Google+

The practice of SEO can determine a huge portion of profits made off of a website. Companies can pay fees reaching up to $500/hour for a specialized SEO consultant to work on their website. For bloggers or personal websites that don’t have that kind of dough to spend, there are other ways to get your website ranking on Google. While all social media sites are useful tools, Google+ has a few tricks that put its profiles higher on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).


Google Communities
The biggest contribution Google+ has to a blogging site is its community capabilities. Communities can be set up for private groups, but there are also public communities that can be searched for and easily shared with friends. These public communities are organized by category, so if someone searches “photography” in Google+, a list of photography community pages will pop up. An SEO trick, however, is to use keywords that are less broad and more specific to your blog or website. Google+ offers multiple locations on the page to hide keywords that allow for specify, bringing the right people to your page.

The difference between having a group on Facebook and a community with Google+ is that much of the content on Facebook isn’t immediately available to search engines, putting their pages lower on the SERP. Since Google is already directly tied to Google+ and the information is more readily available, community pages rank higher.

Got to say I am loving Google communities (even better than Facebook groups).  For an example of a good one check out my friend’s community “Simple Blogging Network“, it’s ran by Beth Hewitt.  Join it if your a blogger!


Google +1Google+ makes it really easy to share and spread information. Because the site is connected to all other facets of Google, users are instantly linked to Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, etc. This allows users to expand the reaches of their blogs through multimedia, and keep tabs on their blog or website through Gmail and Google Documents. Plus, the popular site Blogger is a publishing tool from Google and already directly linked to Google+. Google+ also has a mobile app so users can easily follow when new posts are made.

Besides Google+’s big name connections, the site provides a lot of opportunities within a page to share information. Google+ allows uses to embed links throughout their profile page, making it simple for viewers to click and go straight to a relevant page on your blog or website. Not only that, but links can be embedded in comments too. Utilizing comments that are quality and centered around your content is another SEO trick that raises a page’s rank on the SERP.


Google Hangouts
Hangouts on Google+ work like face-to-face chat rooms, but they have a special feature that allows users to stream live broadcasts. If you want to stream a live video, hangouts have an option to “Enable Hangouts On Air,” which streams your video publicly on your Google+ page, YouTube channel and website. After the show, Google+ uploads the video to your YouTube channel and Google+ page for viewers to check out later. Use SEO key words in the description or comments on your video to bring it higher on a search list and increase traffic to your blog or website.

I can see Hangouts getting very big quickly!  Personally, I haven’t done any hangouts yet as I am camera shy, but it’s a great way to make things much more personal :)

Also, just a little tip for everyone out there if you want to reference someone on Google +1 use + and their name (example: +Garen Arnold).  It goes to their inbox when mentioned, provided they check it :)  But, don’t abuse it!

There are many facets of social media to promote your work, and Google+ is a great option because the site already has its hands in multiple areas of the Internet. Using SEO tricks on Google+ can help users find new audiences, increase traffic to their blog, and access multimedia.

Do you have a Google+ account? How has Google+ been effective for your blog or website? Don’t forget to Google +1 this post if you found it helpful!

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  • Lisa

    Hi Garen, Google plus has been good for my blog, not so much for a retail site I have yet. It’s a great way to connect with other bloggers and share info. I love how they have the circle set up too. I’ve been on one hangout and it’s tough with family around – if you can be alone it’s good!

    • Garen Arnold

      Hey Lisa,

      Yeah, I at first I have to admit I wasn’t a fan, but somewhere along the lines I said to myself, “this is pretty cool.”. With circles I put everyone as friends though…lol.

  • Glenn

    Agreed. I also think that google search will favour a google plus over a retweet or Facebook like and google hang outs is going to big real soon.
    Blessings, Glenn

    • Garen Arnold

      Hey Glenn,

      Yeah, I see it one the rise, but only time will tell. Will Facebook come out with a hangout too?

  • Jon R. Patrick

    nice, thanks and you helped verify what I believe that G+ is tied more closely with Google’s SERP than FB’s

    • Garen Arnold

      Hey Jon,

      Google might deny the fact that it favors +1 but then again over the years they have said one thing and done another. I am shaking my head and saying yes.

  • Dr. Erica Goodstone


    Thank you for sharing an image of my Google+ community in your post.
    I don’t understand this: “Google+ offers multiple locations on the page to hide keywords that allow for specify, bringing the right people to your page.”
    Can you explain further?

    Although i still struggle with some aspect of Google+, I love the hangouts and communities and I have become increasingly disenchanted with Facebook. FB only shows your posts to some of your friends in their news feed – so I don’t know who is seeing my posts and who is missing them – very confusing.

    • Garen Arnold

      Hey Erica,

      Haha, I thought you would like that. Seeing how your post was at the top of the Simple Blogging Network :). Basically, what I mean is say you run a travel site or something in Florida and you can specify communities, pages, ect that you can join. Therefore, you are geo targeting the right audience for your niche. Yeah, with Facebook it has to do with Edgerank. People were spamming the living crap out of FB and they had to do something so junk wouldn’t show up in the feeds. So lets say you liked my fanpage and visit it often, but there is a fanpage you liked but don’t really check in much the Edgerank would automagically factor in that you don’t see stuff you don’t check in with anymore. I think it’s a good idea.

  • Kim Stanbrook

    Hi Garen,
    Great information about Google+ and in particular Google Hangouts – think these are great. At least you see people on google hangouts and get to know them much quicker than by facebook.
    I think now I need to publish my blog on google + too – so thanks.

    • Garen Arnold

      Hey Kim,

      Yes it’s much more personal which builds a lot of trust. It’s just one of the many ways the internet is changing.

  • Kerris Torkington

    Hi Garen
    Enjoyed this post, I was not a fan of Google+ until recently when I joined the Simple Blogging Community, I suppose we all like what we are used to and shy away from anything new.
    I love the fact that I can talk to people face to face on hangouts and that you can live stream a broadcast.
    Google+ is offering so much more now and like you say, because it is primarily a search engine it likes when you use it’s tools.
    Thanks for sharing

    • Garen Arnold

      Hey Kerris,

      Yeah, I don’t like change sometimes either. I am sure people are going to try to figure out ways to game it (the blackhatters). Funny, because the hangout things started just for families to see each other and then bloggers, marketers, ect. got ahold of it. Hopefully, we don’t see a lot of people abusing it.

  • Beth Hewitt

    Hey Garen,

    I am fast becoming a raving Google fan. I love the communities and I love the hangouts and, the forms, and the spreadsheets and plus 1′s and the drive etc. Social proof is king right now as is being big in the land of social media so joining some great communities in your niche is a great way to network and build up that social proof.

    And what have you not been in a hangout yet!! Come join the fun. Every Tuesday we have a blast. :)

    Beth :)

    • Garen Arnold

      Hey Beth,

      Do you wear I love Google hangouts shirt while on there? Yeah, social proof is likely to be here for quite awhile. Bad news for the unethical affiliate marketers, but good news for the whitehatters.

      Camera shy is why I haven’t done a hangout yet. I might have a headset or have to get something. Kind of interested in podcasting, but not sure yet. What do you do every Tuesday?

  • Robin J Emdon

    Interesting! Google Plus is something I really must explore more!

    My only reservation is that Google now has its fingers in so many pies that if they arbitarily decide they don’t like you, you can be in real trouble, real quick.

    For instance the infamous Penguin and Panda slaps have not just hurt the black hat marketers i.e. the people not really adding any value to the web experience, but it’s also hurt a lot of legitimate business’s that for various reasons fell foul of the algorithms. So when you start spreading your message (and links) all over Googles many products, if you’re doing well with them, fine. But if you’re not the flavour of the month with them – you could be in real trouble when they decide to lock you out.

    I’ve put my Google plus account on a seperate email account to my regular activity. Is that a good thing? Sometimes it’s a real pain (having more than one gmail a/c) – and yet I still think it’s a prudent cautionary measure.


    • Garen Arnold

      Hey Robin,

      That is why we shouldn’t count so much with Google. This is a mistake I made with my hosting review site. I went from 700 hits a day to 50-70. However, I am getting 140 or so a day now. It’s a blow I am still trying to recover from. Just have to learn from my mistakes, but it’s taught me some invaluable lessons with my business.

      That is probably a good idea to have a separate email. Who knows Google can sometimes axe stuff for no clear reasons.

  • marquita herald

    For some time now I’ve found myself in this subtle shift from Facebook to Google+ and – as far as I’m concerned – their new communities feature has it all over Facebook. In fact, not that long ago I set up a new FB page for a new area of business I’m expending into and now I’m thinking about just deleting it and going with a community on Google because it’s just so much more dynamic.

    • Garen Arnold

      Hey Marquita,

      I agree I love Google+ so much more than FB. I just setup my first community and got to say it’s so easy to do. Going to be starting 28 day blogging challenge for Feb.

  • Raena Lynn

    Hi Garen,

    For the last few months, I’ve been focusing on Google+ more than Facebook for the reasons you listed in this post. I am in one community at the present time and I am a fan. I’ve also participated in many Google hangouts and I love them. They are a great way to connect with fellow marketers. I started participating in hangouts when Google introduced them. In the beginning there were some technical problems, but all of that has improved. I will continue hanging with the Google communities and hangouts! Your post is an excellent explanation of the platform and why it’s best to take a serious look at it for rankings and sharing content.

    Raena Lynn

    • Garen Arnold

      Hey Raena,

      Google Communities is quickly becoming my number 1 source of engagement. Love it!

  • Clint Butler

    To tell you the truth I absolutlely love Google+, have since the beginning. The interface takes a bit to get used to at first. But they are making it better everyday.

    Ever since it was launched I have been telling people that social media was going to take more important role in SEO. Some listened, some didn’t, those that ignored me are now playing catch up.

    And your absolutely correct about the new communities feature. WAYYYYY better than Facebook groups.

    • Garen Arnold

      Hey Clint,

      Yeah I agree Google +1 is in another league compared to Facebook groups. Not a huge fan of Facebook groups :)

  • Donna Merrill

    Hey Garen,

    Great explanation of how to benefit from Goole+ Communities and Hangouts.

    When Google announced their Community I pounced on that like a cat. I didn’t know exactly why, but I had a feeling that it would improve my presence on Google. And now you have explained why! I go on intuitive feelings lol

    Hangouts are great! I hangout with my peeps once a week and mastermind. Also, if I’m chatting on FB, I’ll tell the person to go over to a Google Hangout so we can see each other face to face and work on whatever issue it is we are talking about.

    I also like Google Hangouts for interviews. I have interviewed people and screen captured the Hangout – then I insert it in my blog. I do believe it increases rankings. Again, it is purely intuitive, but I’m sure there is an answer out there!

    Garen, you are so knowledgeable – I would love for you to do a Hangout and teach us something. Don’t be Camera Shy!!! You can always put on a mask on the hangout or make yourself a pirate he he he.

    Thanks again,
    Donna Merrill

    • Garen Arnold

      Hey Donna,

      Yes, intuitive feelings are the best to go on (pretty much made a career out of it). I actually, like interviewing people a lot. Should be doing much more of this in 2013. Not only does it build creditability to your blog it will often build a lot of natural backlinks.

  • David Merrill 101

    I like Google+ much more than Facebook, Garen.

    It seems to get far less spam, so far, and the communities seem to attract more serious people. Of course, as it grows, it will probably attract more and more people looking to capitalize on its SEO positioning, as you’ve described.

    I’m hoping G+ will have more effective ways than Facebook has used to keep the communities disentangled from spammers and hackers.

    And the G+ Hangout is unequaled by anything FB has to offer, although I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that FB will come out with an ap to rival this feature in the near future.

    • Garen Arnold

      Hey David,

      Yeah, people are already trying to game Google +1. Not to mention with giveaways you can no longer have people +1 them with Punchtab or Rafflecopter. It violates Google’s TOS. I recently did that with my giveaway and Google stripped out my +1′s. More than likely Facebook will roll out the same thing as people are widely complaining about groups. I am not a huge fan of them either.