If anyone doubts the value of a Google + account for brands, take a look at what Google’s social extensions can do for web traffic. Social extensions connect all the +1 recommendations your customers have given you – whether that was on your website, your Google+ page or your ads – and display them in your search results.
This means that when someone searches on your keyword, they can see how many people have recommended your page, including who within their own social circles have done so. Google recognises that your site is directly relevant to the person searching if their friends have endorsed it. And it makes sense that we’re all much more likely to click on a link that our friends have recommended, and so it’s not surprising that your site will see an uplift in traffic (and more highly qualified traffic).
You also get a more prominent feature on the search results, so even if users aren’t logged in to Google (or if nobody they know has +1’d the ad, site or page), the ad will still stand out much more than those that haven’t added the extension.
Of course, you need to produce content that people will recommend, so making sure your website and Google+ page are stocked full of compelling (and regularly updated) content that people want to share is critical for all this to work. When it does, the results are fantastic: Google estimates that search results improve by 5-10 per cent, but for BeatsbyDre, we saw click through rates increase by 20 per cent just by adding Social Extensions.
It’s all free, though of course you still pay for the click to your website in the usual way (you don’t pay if someone clicks through to your Google+ page) and simple to do. If you’re not already using Social Extensions, it’s quick to set up:
1. Activate and use your Google+ page, so that people start giving your content +1s
2. If you haven’t already done so, verify your page (you can use a Google+ page verification form to do this, or talk to your Google representative / agency)
3. Add the +1 button to your website (your Adwords will already have a +1 button by default)
4. Select the ‘Social Extensions’ option in the ‘Ad Extensions’ page of your AdWords account, and follow the instructions to add the URL of your Google+ page. This will only start working once your Google+ page has been verified
There really is no reason not to do this – it’s easy, and you’ll start seeing an uplift in traffic straight away.
Marc Warren is co-founder and director of PPC specialist agency, Periscopix.