Customer experience, 3 Ways to Leverage Your Social Power to Boost SEO using Google+
What was unclear back in 2011 is certain now -- the direct influence Google Plus has on search rankings makes this network important to your business. Google+ finally answers your C-Suites’ never-ending question: what is the ROI of social networks? If a significant portion of your leads come from organic search, then there is no longer a debate as to whether investment in social is worthwhile.

A correlation analysis between search rankings and Google Plus showed that posting a URL on Google Plus (and getting the Plus 1s for this URL) is among the highest-correlated factors with search rankings. Not only does content shared on Google Plus seem to be favored, but it’s also instantly indexed -- appearing quicker on search engine results pages (SERP) than content not shared on Google Plus, as this has to wait for the crawler.

Furthermore, you can boost your authored content by having your author snippet shown in SERPs along with your number of Google followers, thereby increasing your click-through rate.


But the positive impact Google Plus has on search engine ranking alone makes a strong case for building an active community in Google Plus.

Why should the community be active? Look beyond follower numbers as your goal. Having relationships and partnerships with influential Google Plus users can be of great value, as their citations on your profile impact your Google Plus PageRank, and therefore your search rankings.

But let’s start at the beginning. The easiest and quickest way to gain traction with Google Plus is to get more followers. Facebook has had a 7-year head start and LinkedIn has had 8, so no doubt your profiles on these sites outweigh those on 2-year old Google Plus. But if your Google Plus account has sat somewhat abandoned, it’s high time to leverage your other networks to populate it.

So go on, help your SEO Manager with her KPI’s by consolidating the power of your social networks.

Here is the quickest way to increase your Google Plus follower base:

1. Microsoft Outlook

While Google Plus provides a connector to both Yahoo! and Hotmail accounts that allows easy importing of your contacts, data from other email clients has to be exported in a comma-separated-value (.csv) or vCard (.vcf) file format. Here is how to generate the CSV file listing of your contacts’ email addresses using the second most common email client today -- Microsoft Outlook:

  1. Go to: File tab -> Options -> Advanced
  2. Under Export, click Export -> Export to a file -> Next
  3. Choose Comma Separated Values (DOS or Windows) as the file type, and then click Next
  4. In the “Select folder to export from” dialog, either choose “Contacts” for all contacts, or if using Outlook 2010, “Suggested Contacts” for those you actually ever replied to.
  5. On the next dialog, choose a destination for the export file
  6. In the final step, map your custom fields by dragging and dropping the email address field from the left to the right column of the dialog

Sign in to your Google Plus account and navigate to Home -> People -> choose Connect Services -> select “Open Address Book” and import the previously generated file.

In my case, I found that 14 percent of my Outlook contacts were already using Google Plus, so I added them to appropriate circles in the hope that they would take reciprocal action.

2. Facebook

Though Facebook didn’t grow at the pace that Google Plus is currently growing, its 7-year head start made it the biggest network today. Exporting the email addresses of your Facebook friends is a little bit complicated and time-consuming; as you have to download all your data, including your photos, videos, posts, etc. and you need to process them in Excel prior to importing to Google Plus.

  1. Sign in to your Facebook account and go to -> Settings
  2. Under the General Tab find and click the link “Download a copy of your Facebook data.”
  3. Click the “Download Archive” button. The time you wait is based on the amount of data Facebook has associated with your account (200MB in my case). Once ready, a download link will be sent to your email.
  4. Decompress the downloaded zip file and open the HTML file “index.html”
  5. In the left menu, click on “Contact Info”
  6. Copy the content of the shown “Address Book” and paste it to Excel
  7. Filter the list to rows that don’t include “@” and delete them to get a clean list of email addresses

Sign in to your Google Plus account and navigate to Home -> People -> choose Connect Services -> select “Open Address Book” and import the previously generated file.

You won’t get email addresses for all your friends as some don’t allow the listing of them. Fifty-nine percent of my friends had provided their emails and 13 percent of those were already using Google Plus. So I was able to find 7 percent of all my Facebook friends on Google Plus. The number is quite low, probably as the majority of my friends are in countries with a lower Google Plus penetration -- the more US friends you have, the higher the percentage you can expect.

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn has the easiest and most straightforward approach to exporting contacts:

  1. Hover over the Network tab at the top of your homepage and select Contacts.
  2. Click the Settings icon near the top right-hand side of the page
  3. Under Advanced Settings on the right, click Export LinkedIn Connections.
  4. Export your connections to CSV or VCF file

Sign in to your Google Plus account and navigate to Home -> People -> choose Connect Services -> select “Open Address Book” and import the previously generated file.

I’m attributing the fact that a healthy 47 percent of my LinkedIn friends are on Google Plus to my professional network being mostly web/online professionals.

Have you tried any of these steps? What were your findings in terms of your social networks overlap? Tell me in the comments below! And if you like this article … well, follow me on Google Plus.

P.S. If you were hoping to find Twitter here, it’s not included because I couldn’t find any working solution for exporting the email addresses of my followers. SocialBro or BirdSong work great for exporting followers’ names, locations and descriptions, but doesn’t export email addresses -- it’s probably a Twitter policy.

Title image by Ahmad Faizal Yahya (Shutterstock).

Editor's Note: Read more from Petr in The 5 Most Common Lead Scoring Mistakes