Growing Google Plus Circles For Local SEO – Part 1

By April

One of the most common questions I get asked by SEOs concerns how to use Google Plus for local SEO. While there are many ways that G+ can benefit any SEO campaign, one of the easiest and quickest to produce results is to build and grow your Circles. So what are Circles?

Google Circles give us the ability to segment our connections within Google Plus. With Circles, we can create targeted groups based on interest, profession, location, or any other criteria we choose.

This is important because, once we have developed a targeted Circle, we can share posts, updates, messages, offers, and promotions to a very specific audience; an audience that is most likely interested in what we’re sharing with them (so long as we have grouped them together properly).

So why would we do this for local SEO and how?

In Part 1 of this two-part post, we’ll talk about the why… Consider the following example:

You just landed a new SEO client. Let’s say it’s an HVAC repair contractor in Atlanta Georgia who has little to no online presence. Your job is to properly optimize the website, begin an SEO campaign, and get it to rank for the search terms that will provide leads for the business. Pretty standard stuff.

As part of your SEO campaign, you set up a Google My Business (formerly G+ Local) account properly, which ties their website to G+ and Google Maps.

The next step is to begin a content marketing campaign so you can begin building brand awareness and, let’s be honest, inbound links too. This content is generated using the client’s blog and typically consists of helpful information that ties back into what the business offer; posts such as “3 Steps to Reduce Your Cooling Bills This Summer”, “How Often Should You Change Your Air Filter?”, or “Proper Heat Pump Maintenance Will Reduce the Need for Air Conditioning Repair”.

As long as you have set up the proper content syndication channels, this content marketing strategy will begin to build links, generate some traffic to the site and, over time, improve the search rankings.

Sounds great, right? But it’s currently the Dog Days of Summer and your client wants to capitalize on all of those [poor] people who have air conditioning units that aren’t working and are searching for “air conditioning repair”, “hvac repair”, etc. The client wants results NOW (like yesterday!) and doesn’t want to wait 30 to 60 to 90 days to see the SEO results you promised to provide (sound familiar?).

So what’s an SEO to do?

Well, we all know we have other options like ranking YouTube videos, or para-sites and citations like FB pages and Yelp listings. But even those take a little bit of time to rank and some extra link building work.

And of course there is always Adwords (yuck!) But unless you figured that into your initial proposal, the client probably isn’t going to like it when you go back and ask for more money.

So that leads us to Google Plus. If done correctly, G+ can provide nearly instant results. I’ll repeat that:


If you have properly built up your client’s Circle base, you can literally hand deliver your clients posts, messages, specials, and offers right to potential clients, overnight.

You see, when you +1 or share a post or a web page with G+, you can choose which circles you want to share it with. When you select “Your Circles” it shares with everyone in every one of your circles.

When you select “Extended Circles”, it will share to the circle you chose, plus everyone in that circles’ circles. This can get a bit confusing, but I will clear this up in part 2 of this post.

When you select specific circles, the share will only post to those specific circles.

So in our hypothetical example of the HVAC Repair client, let’s say we had built an “Atlanta” circle that contained hundreds (perhaps even thousands) of G+ members that had “Atlanta” mentioned somewhere in their profile. More on HOW to do this in part 2…

So when you published the post mentioned above, titled “Proper Heat Pump Maintenance Will Reduce the Need for Air Conditioning Repair”, you chose to share that post with the “Atlanta” circle.

This INSTANTLY delivers this post to everyone in that entire circle! Each person and business in the “Atlanta” circle will now have a G+ notification about “Proper Heat Pump Maintenance Will Reduce the Need for Air Conditioning Repair”. So anyone that needs air conditioning service will have been notified of your client’s existence and the service he/she provides (and since we’re marketers we already know to include a clear call-to-action in the post, of course). Pretty powerful, huh?

I know, I know. I can hear some of you already saying “but that’ll only produce leads if the people that receive the notification actually need air conditioning service at that exact moment”. You would be correct. It is a “fleeting” notification that may very well generate a few leads but unless someone actually needed those services at that very moment, they would probably quickly dismiss the post and never think of it again.

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What if your share shows up in the search results the next time any of those people were searching? That would be incredibly useful, wouldn’t it? In fact, if you shared all of the client’s posts and had properly SEOed them, then any time anyone from within that “Atlanta” circle searched for any related HVAC term, your client’s posts would show up. Here is an example of a similar result:

Private results in Google search results

Search results example


Now this is assuming that the searcher hadn’t opted to “Hide private results”. But considering that probably about 95% of all Google users (that’s a statistic I just made up) don’t even know what “Private results” are, much less how to turn them off, you’re pretty safe to assume that they will see recommendations from people who have circled them.

Google private results option


One caveat to this, however, is that for “recommended results” to show in the searchers’ results, they will have needed to have circled the sharer back. So there is a bit of a “catch” to this. But alas, there are ways to obtain a high “circle back” ratio that we will delve into in part two of this post.

And remember earlier when I mentioned “extended circles”? This sneaky little function allows us to “back door” our messages to even more people, even if we’re not directly connected/circled.

So for now, just think about how these concepts can be used for evil good and the potential it has. And by-the-way, I will also be sharing how you can do this sort of thing without having to build each and every one of your clients’ circles; a much more efficient and smarter way to do it, where you keep ALL of the power (“I giveth and I can taketh away”).

Until part two…

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How Can You Be Everywhere Online?

By April

When it comes to internet marketing, it all comes down to Awareness and Presence.

So How can you be everywhere at once?

You know that pretty much everyone that visits a website or surfs around the web is constantly being hammered with ads, banners, videos, etc. Hell! Even YouTube has become an ads-serving platform (and boy are those video ads annoying!).

How can you be everywhere at once

And you know that media companies and big conglomerates are pouring millions of dollars, month after month, to make their online campaigns work. So these questions come to mind:

  1. How can you compete with and outrank them?
  2. How can you, without spending millions in advertising, get to the same position and even win terrain over their marketing efforts?

It is not impossible or as difficult as you might think!

At Semantic Mastery, we are all about Awareness and Presence. In fact, we dedicate ourselves to creating a sort of “Omnipresence” to our clients. That being said, you can become the go-to authority in your niche if you follow some simple but vital strategies to position your brand, your name and create an immediate link between them, what you do and what you represent.

So let’s get to it:

Make Google Your Buddy

You must make Google your friend to be successful

Many might think that climbing to the top spots in Google has to do with magic and witchcraft. But since the latest Google algorithm updates, the playing field has been leveled, and Google has shown an enormous weakness for some websites, making these “types” of websites easier to rank and much faster than the average website (and I’ll show you how tap into this weakness and use it to your benefit).

Also, Google is showing an increasing Narcissism, since it will rank anything that belongs to Google’s kingdom (including, but not limited to: YouTube Videos, Google Plus Profiles, Blogger Blogs, Google Sites, etc.) on the first page.

Best of all, these platforms are completely free and ready for your to make use of them! But let’s continue on what you need to do before giving you more specific steps.

Use Social Media to Your Advantage.

You must use social media to your advantage

Not so long ago, having a website was more than enough to attract new clients and to be “The Cool Guy of the Block”. But with so many new sites being created each and every day, those days are long gone. Now, you need to approach your Online marketing efforts from a traffic point of view. No traffic = No sales. No Sales = Useless Webpage.

Social Media Platforms are a topic in and of themselves, but for the time being (and directly related to the step before), you must use social platforms to broaden your reach. If you haven’t registered your Google Plus Profile, Facebook Page, Twitter Profile and WordPress Blog, with your Brand and Niche on them, stop everything else you are doing and get those done!

This will also help with what I already mentioned, since all of the platforms have access to Google’s weak spots (also known as loopholes), and you can rank these and get traffic flowing from them to your website.

Have an “Omnipresent” Approach

Last but not least, the approach to your internet marketing efforts must be “Anything and Everything” instead of “Either / Or”. By this I mean that if you are given the choice of managing your webpage or your blog, why should you have to choose? Use them both!

That’s exactly what you learn in our IFTTT course: how to manage multiple properties (several dozens at a time in fact) that talk about you without you having to write the same article over and over but in a different way and shoot the same video multiple times – pretty powerful, and time saving, huh?

You want to draw traffic from all over the place, using as many platforms as possible. A huge mistake made by some internet marketing newbies or affiliate marketers is to think in terms of just one website, just one profile, just one post, etc. That usually means that whenever Google decides to rock the boat a little and take a closer look at your website, it could be catastrophic for your business. And any business that depends solely on Google to generate traffic and sales is not a business; it becomes an entirely different concept dependent on Google’s whims.

You Must Take Action to Succeed

Action Steps:

  • If you haven’t done so, have your website assessed and optimized by an SEO expert.
  • Get a Social Media profile on all of the following websites:
  1. Blogger
  2. Google Plus
  3. Facebook
  4. Twitter
  5. WordPress
  6. Tumblr
  8. Diigo
  9. Delicious
  10. StumbleUpon
  11. Storify
  13. Pinterest
  14. Instagram

Note* – The websites listed above are only a few of the ones used in our IFTTT training series.

  • Start making value added posts on your websites, using videos, pictures and other rich media.
  • Share them on all of your newly opened profiles.
  • Take a look at what your competition is doing and emulate them.
  • Track your visitors and ranking positions in Google (you can do this via Google Webmasters and Google Analytics).

But the best action step and the best investment for your business is to sign up for our exclusive training where we will show you how all of this is put together this for maximum effect, and much more!

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