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Twelve Things You Should Do on Your Personal Google+ Account Right Now

Like it or not, Google+ is becoming more important in the digital marketing landscape. Google+ is not just a Facebook redux. Instead, it comprises a huge part of the social milieu of your online existence. Google+ has subtly creeped into your emailing, browsing, article writing, creating Google+ business pages, and a variety of other activities across the web.

I think it’s more important than ever before for digital marketers to embrace the potential of Google+, and use it to its full advantage. Google+ at 540 million users now trails Facebook (1 billion users) as the second-largest social network, but its impact extends far beyond social sharing and interaction.

If you’ve been delaying, skeptical, or plain disgruntled with Google+, don’t worry. I’m going to share 12 tactical things that you can do to bring your Google+ existence to a new level. Even if you’re an early adopter with frequent posting habits, I think you’ll find this article helpful.

I’ll start off with a few of the basics, and then get into some more advanced tips.

1. Use a headshot for your profile picture.

Don’t use anything other than a headshot in your profile pic. I realize the appeal of placing a picture of your child, dog, or a cartoon image, but it’s not your best choice for Google+.

Google uses a circular shape to crop the image, so keep this in mind when you select your photo. Your headshot along with basic information about you will appear all over the place in Google+.

Please note, as of June 25, 2014, Google states that they are dropping author pics from search results.

We’ve been doing lots of work to clean up the visual design of our search results, in particular creating a better mobile experience and a more consistent design across devices. As a part of this, we’re simplifying the way authorship is shown in mobile and desktop search results, removing the profile photo and circle count.

2. Add a high-res cover photo.

The cover photo on your Google+ profile is important, because it covers a lot of real estate. I recommend that you create a custom Google+ cover photo, rather than simply load a scenic photo from your recent vacation.

Whatever the case, please don’t continue using the stock cover photo provided by default. Here are some specific tips for creating a good Google+ cover photo:

  • Use keywords in your cover image filename.
  • Make the image 2120 x 1192.
  • Add a caption to the cover photo.
  • Share the image as a photo post on Google+. When you do this, the cover photo will be directly linked to your personal profile.

3. Get a vanity URL.

A Google+ vanity URL is a short and easy-to-remember URL. Here’s the difference between a vanity URL and the standard one:

Standard: https://plus.google.com/115229808208707341778

Vanity: https://plus.google.com/+NeilPatelmarketer/

Read these detailed instructions on how to claim your custom URL.

4. Add more people to your circles.

The more people you have in your circles, the more likely it is that people will follow you back.

Your number of your followers is public data. The number of people you follow is not public data (unlike Twitter). A higher follower number tends to increase your trustworthiness and reputation.

google plus arnold

To add people to your circles, just click the “Add People” icon in the top right of your Google+ account.

5. Become more accessible.

If you’re using Google+ as a marketing tool, and not just to update your family members, then you need to improve your accessibility.

Go to your profile, then “settings.” Here, you can turn on following visibility and sharing options:

google plus profile

6. Completely fill out your story.

The “story” section of your profile is a rich opportunity for keywords, links, and information about you. Yes, Google indexes this content. Yes, it’s important to have everything completely filled out.

3 google plus story

The more filled out your information, the better you’ll be found and accessed in Google+ search and general online searches. Obviously, you don’t want to keyword stuff your profile, but you do want to have plenty of relevant search terms and information.

  • Brief tagline – Nothing more than one line about who you are and what you do
  • Full introduction – This is where to add the most text. Include plenty of information about where you’ve been and what you’ve done. You should include hyperlinked text, even though the links are nofollowed. Add links to your company, your personal website, and other places where you are active. Use headings and other formatting features where appropriate.
  • Bragging rights – A line or two about anything awesome you’ve done. Your real accomplishments should be in your “Introduction” section.

7. Share content to get it indexed.

Google indexes shared Google+ content very quickly. According to rumor and some anecdotal evidence, any new URL shared on Google+ is crawled right away. When you share your new content as a post — pages, products, articles, etc. — Google will index it faster.

8. Fill out all your contributor information.

I’ve written elsewhere about how authorship is a big deal. Make it even bigger. Make sure you’ve completely filled out all the websites to which you’ve contributed content.

9. Be active.

The best way to maintain a strong Google+ presence is to regularly post content. But beyond just content posting, it’s helpful to do the following:

  • Add photos. Keeping a running photo album on Google+ increases your visibility and engagement on your profile.
  • YouTube videos. One of your public profile tabs is your YouTube account. This is an excellent way to improve your personal marketing.
  • +1s. Anything that you +1 on the web can be viewed by others, provided your settings have been adjusted accordingly.
  • Create reviews. Any establishment that you review on Google+ can be seen by others. Consistently reviewing places shows that you are engaged and active.

10. Get noticed by others.

Anyone who is logged into Google has a notification center. They will get notifications from time to time. If you want to get noticed by other people, specifically those whom you have in your circles, you can make their notification center light up. How?

Cyrus Shepard shares the seventeen known ways to trigger notifications:

  1. Mention them in a post
  2. Share a post with them directly
  3. Share a post and you’re in a circle they subscribe to
  4. Comment on a post they created
  5. Comment on a post after they comment on it
  6. Add them to a circle
  7. Suggest new people to add to their circles
  8. Tag them in a photo
  9. Tag one of their photos
  10. Suggest a profile photo for them
  11. Comment on a photo after they comment on it
  12. Comment on a photo they are tagged in
  13. Comment on a photo they tagged
  14. Start a conversation with them
  15. Send them an invitation or update an event
  16. Remind them about events
  17. Any activity on events they created

Google+ is a networking tool (not a stalking tool), but if you want to reach out to influencers, get on the radar of someone you respect, or simply connect with other industry experts, you can do so with a few tactful touches using notifications.

11. Look at your profile the way that other people do.

Finally, when you’ve made all the necessary tweaks, adjustments, changes, and improvements, it’s time to step back and admire your work.

But how can you see your profile the way the world does?

Just click on your Profile. Beside the profile icon, you’ll see a tab that says “View profile as.” You can toggle between “Public” and “Yourself.”

google plus view

Check out your Google+ profile in all its glory, just as your friends, fans, and critics will see it.

12. View Ripples.

Google+ Ripples is a relatively unknown feature of Google+. Ripples shows an interactive graph of the public shares of posts or shares. What you see is a visual perspective on how a post is “rippling” through the Google+ community. Ripples only displays collected public data, so you’re not going to see any of the share metrics from people who have shared it among private circles.

A post is public if it says “Shared publicly” at the top, underneath the profile name, and in front of the date.

google plus ripples

To view Ripples, click the arrow button at the top right of the post, then “View Ripples.”

You’ll see something like this:

google plus ripples details

The Ripples feature is helpful if you want to analyze how your posts are being spread across the Google+ social landscape.

You can read more about Ripples from Google Support.


Google+ is a huge tool for marketing today, and I predict that it’s going to grow in importance down the road as well. Just as you’re active on Facebook and Twitter, you should maintain a steady presence on Google+ as well.

What have you found to be helpful in using your Google+ profile?

How KISSmetrics Can Help

roi of social media

About the Author: is the Chief Evangelist of KISSmetrics and blogs at Quick Sprout.

  1. Stephen Norton Jul 18, 2014 at 8:26 am

    I recently created a Google plus page- this is very useful!

  2. Cody Stevenson Jul 18, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    4. Add more people to your circles…

    How are you able to get your profile not to show how many people you are connected to? Because by default it does show the number of people in your circles…

    – Cody

  3. Mitch Mitchell Jul 18, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    I’m doing or have done all of these but one of the recommendations you mentioned is somewhat controversial. The 2nd point of #10, sharing posts directly with people, when used too often irritates people to the point that they’ll not only mute you but probably drop you from their circles. Unless people are savvy enough to turn off their email notifications they don’t like being bombarded by posts from someone all the time, no matter who they are. So if people are using that one I hope they use it perspicaciously.

  4. Just what i have been looking for since i list our organic listing on google. Thsnk you +Neil Patel.

  5. Sandeep Sharma Jul 18, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Hey Neil,

    This is really awesome. Thanks for sharing with us.

  6. Supriya Dunham Jul 19, 2014 at 12:26 am

    Finally! A great tips and trick posting on getting the most out of Google+. Thanks!

  7. Timothy Cataldo Jul 19, 2014 at 6:33 am


    Great post; lots of useful info. A sidebar thought: how much of this applies to a company Google+ page? What would be different?

    Cheers –


  8. Heather McLane Jul 19, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Thanks for the tips — I really needed to see this post. My G+ profile was in sad shape. And why do I not have people in my circles?!

    This post really made me evaluate my profile. What’s the point in having one if you’re not going to make the most of it, right?

  9. Another gem and high quality content from KISS Team.

  10. Murlidhar Wadhwani Jul 19, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    This is very useful information. Contents are nice. Congrats

  11. thank you

  12. Well thats a good introduction for getting a full Googleplus experience and being able to express oneself, I am not sure that item 10 needs to much focus I as being bothersome is counter productive.

  13. Hi Neil – I notice you don’t mention anything about authorship and connecting my Google+ profile to my authority site – do you think that’s not going to be as important any longer? Thanks

  14. Great tips for us webmasters, thanks a bunch.

  15. Wow wonderful and very helpful tip, and I want to know one thing by which kind of things we can increase our follower.. Thank you so much.

  16. Rafael Montilla Jul 21, 2014 at 7:10 am

    All 12 tips are veru helpfull, did not know about #12


  17. waw!!! this is nice points. actually i’m new on google+ and it helps

  18. What are your thoughts on merging Google+ accounts (business account & personal)?

    • Jonathan, if your personal account is related to a brand then I think it can work real well. Personal branding can do wonders when linked to a business.

  19. Hey Neil,

    As usual awesome, I think this will encourage some people to engage regularly in Google +.

  20. thx Neil, great post again. I use google+ for some time, but even so i didn;t know about the Ripples function. Very helpful indeed!

    For myself it was very useful to join a community and i reckon i will start my own pretty soon as well which should also help to create a steady following
    thx again


  21. Partha Sarathi Dutta Oct 23, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    I’m using G+ as networking tool (to learn something, share something, contribute something, teach something – anything that is within my social responsibilities) but not a spamming tool; so again it’s now up to us whether we emulate this platform to money making machine instead.

  22. Also, let’s hope G+ will take their comment plug-in for blogs to be improved in design and feature. Design is a bit dated. Their commenting system is cool that whenever someone comments on your blog, it will appear in their profile too as a post in default.

    Only problem is, if you were to wander G+ communities and drop links to your post, it will appear as a comment on your blog as well.

    Now, imagine you are dropping 5 of the same links related to the subject you are discussing in different communities, your particular post will show the 5 comments that you’ve made making you look like a spammer to your own page.


  23. This is probably a stupid question, but I don’t know how to input my Twitter link into my Google plus profile page. I added my blog and my Facebook page but I’m doing something wrong with the Twitter info. I want to see the little blue Bird then my Twitter username. Could you please help this tech-challenged newbie?

  24. Can someone please explain why I would want to put my personal info all over the web? I mean this honestly; I can see its use if I was, say, a freelance something-or-other or actor or politician or something that relies on being in the public eye; but I am honestly baffled by the idea of sharing all this info about who I am and where I’ve worked and all the rest if I’m not some kind of public figure.

    It all seems to break down to “So you’ll get more followers!” but I really don’t see how having lots of followers does a single darned thing for me. I’m of the generation that was told, over and over, to keep your online life separate from your actual life, and to not share any personally-identifying information online, so all this stuff about sharing where one went to school, who one is friends with, etc etc just seems not only pointless, but actively dangerous to me. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it irritates me that Google keeps trying to tie my various online personas together and to my real name. If I wanted one account in my real name for everything, that’s how I would have set it up!

    So what is the point of all this for someone who isn’t trying to drum up work for themselves, in one way or another? Why should I care how many followers I have? Why the heck *should* I tell people who may be business contacts all about my private hobbies and travels? Why should I automatically share my work history and information with people I only know from online?

    I just don’t get this entire social media thing. I must be getting old.


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