As Google continues to enhance the functionality of Google+, their newest feature gives profiles and pages a way to curate content around a particular topic or interest. Google+ Communities are here, and the company says they are a “gathering place for your passions.” According to Google’s official Communities page, Google Plus Communities offer:
- A place to share your interests, and give each of your different groups a home base.
- An arena to post photos and videos, as well as hold discussions in a hangout.
- A forum to share news, ideas and passions around topics across public or private communities.
- The ability to post to a community from any +1 button on the web.
How to start a Google Plus Community
Step 1: Log in to Google+, and click on the "Communities" icon on the left.
Step 2: Click "Create community", and you can choose whether your new community will be public or private.
Step 3: Now you can name your community. In this example, I created a community called "Healthy Living".
Step 4: Add the communities information, including:
- Discussion categories
Step 5: Invite people to the community
Examples of other Google+ Communities
There are some great Google Plus communities out there, even though it's a relatively new feature. Check out these examples:
- SEO and Internet Marketing Professionals
- Chelsea FC Fans
- Ford Photo Community
- GoPro Community
Leveraging Google+ Communities for SEO
As you begin the process of cultivating relationships for the purpose of guest blogging outreach, you can create and maintain these relationships within the communities.
Communities may also be a factor that Google will use to determine your AuthorRank. With the development of Google Authorship markup and Google+ itself, building up your authority around specific topics through high quality content, and sharing that content with relevant communities will be crucial moving forward.
Since Google+ Communities are a new concept, it remains to be seen how or if they will positively affect an organic search campaign. However, there are a number of distinct advantages to joining and participating:
You can engage with your target market - People who join communities are passionate about those topics, and are willing to engage on posts here more so than on personal or business profiles. Answer their questions, participate in discussions and get to know the people in the community. What are their challenges or problems? What are their successes? By treating the community like a focus group, you'll be able to create better content for your blog and more focused calls-to-action on landing pages.
You can drive relevant traffic back to your website - Through insightful and helpful content, adding a link to your blog post now and then will benefit the community, as long as it doesn't come off as spammy.
In today's world of search engine optimization, relationship building is absolutely necessary. That's why Google Plus communities can be extremely beneficial for the outreach process of content marketing.