Google+ has seen steady, yet conservative growth to create the second largest social network on the planet. While it isn’t yet poised to compete directly with Facebook, it’s hanging around and there are no sure bets in technology, even Facebook. Since Google+ has blatant and proven SEO benefits, using Google+ to it’s fullest extent is a smart move as more people begin to engage with this feature rich network.

Here are four suggestions to grow your brand using Google+.

1) Perfecting Your Profile

This might sound redundant, as I’m sure you’ve heard this before on just about every social media site, but it continues to come up because it matters. A full and complete profile is the starting point to successful usage of a social account. Social is based on people, personalities and brand — elements of all three of these things can be explained and expressed in the profile.

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Another important step which is unique to Google+, is setting up your links to sites you contribute to. In order to have Google recognize your authorship at your blog or site, you’ll need to include a link to your Google+profile over at your blog, as well as include a link to your blog as a site where you’re a contributor (there’s a specific designated area for this in Google+ profiles.)  

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2) Public Posts

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In order to get your content spread and read far and wide, you’ll want to publish your best stuff as public, so it can both get picked up for search and also read and shared by users. The SEO value of Google+ is contingent on your public content — content that is restricted will not provide an SEO boost, so keep what you can public.

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On this point, another measure to get found in different corners of Google+ is the use of hashtags. Use them regularly and your content will have a much greater likelihood of getting found by targeted users who have an interest in what you’re publishing.

3) Use Ripples

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If you haven’t checked out Google+ Ripples yet, you’ll want to see how it works. For any of your posts, select the dropdown menu of options and click “view Ripples.” Ripples will show you who interacted with your posts and what that did. If you have a post that goes viral, you would be able to see exactly how it was spread, showing the different users and how they interacted with your post. Leverage this by interacting with the users that are paying most attention to you, especially as you see an unfamiliar name there. This is an opportunity to build a powerful connection with someone who’s already responsive to your content.

4) Share Your Circles

Lastly, pay it forward and grow your following in a single swoop. By sharing your circles you can recommend people to follow to your audience, as well as the public. You’ll have an option to include yourself in the circles that you share, which is a great idea since it will just increase your exposure.