PR Tips on How to Leverage Google+

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Google Catalog. Google Wave. Google Answers. They’re all part of the Google graveyard, online platforms that the Web giant rolled out in the last several years but ultimately shut down. Google+, which launched to much fanfare in 2011, may not be perceived as a Facebook or Twitter killer, but it does rank as the second-largest social networking site in the world after Facebook. So how can PR pros leverage Google+?

Following some early hiccups, Google+ continues to accelerate at a rapid clip. The network now has 500 million-plus users, with more than 343 millionactive users, according to Digital Insights. It caters to small or local businesses, but brands of all sizes ignore the network at their own peril.

The network is able to distinguish itself from its online rivals by having a robust SEO (search engine optimization) component, which, of course, plays into Google’s dominance when it comes to search.

With that in mind, here are a few tips for Google+ SEO strategies, with a hat tip to Albe Zakes, global VP of communications for TerraCycle.

 > Get Google+ linked to your website and vice versa to help get Google+ Direct Connect status.

> Use hashtags relevant to your company in every post; these should be your standard SEO keywords.

> Reach out to the Google+ team and get your site verified.

> Establish a Google+ community to engage people around relevant topics and keywords for your business.

> Grow this community by connecting with and inviting influencers in your local area or industry to join.

Learn more about Google+ at PR News’ Webinar, “All Things Google: What You Need to Know Now as a Communicators,” which takes place Dec. 18 starting at 1:30 ET.

Follow Matthew Schwartz: @mpsjourno1