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Over the course of the last 36 hours I have seen engagement levels skyrocket after the release of Google Plus 2.0. In fact, it is all I can do to keep my notifications below ten and I check them constantly. Building a powerful network on Google Plus is very important to reap the benefits of the new features. I have seen that engagement matters to go full stream with a picture across multiple columns. I also know the SEO and search value of increased engagement. With that in mind, it would be smart to use related hashtags (another new feature) to build a following and increase engagement. Here is how.
Related Hashtags on Google Plus
When Vic Gundotra announced related hashtags at Google I/O 2013 I was in shock. This was a complete curveball to me. I would have never guessed that hashtags were even a concern for Google Plus. Remember that Google owns Google Plus so they see what people are searching through organic search. It is obviously the case that people are searching something like “what hashtag do I use for the NBA playoffs” or “what hashtag is correct for the Grammys”? If you have used Twitter for more than 15 seconds you know that everyone uses whatever hashtag they desire and it is hard to categorize all of this information.
Google is one step ahead of Twitter. The individual that created the hashtag for Twitter, Chris Messina, now works at Google Plus and I can assure you they are working diligently to index and rank these hashtags in Google Plus search (already happening) and, more importantly, Google organic search. The premise of related hashtags is that Google will use the content of a Google Plus post to suggest hashtags that are of a certain category. This means there is no variability as it will help new and experienced users create a topic or subject related to their post. It is like a tag cloud but one hundred times better. Let me give you an example.
If I am watching the 2013 Grammys I may think the hashtag is #grammys while others may use #2013grammys, #awards or #CBSGrammys. We all know that brands love to “brand” a hashtag with their name. We see #NBCGolf, #CBSNFL and #ESPNNBA all the time. I am a sports guy so this is what I notice. Brands in all industries are trying to get their name in the hashtag just for free advertising. This makes it very difficult for the common social media user to scour the best content. Some of the best Twitter users may use a unique hashtag or no hashtags at all. Google solved this problem.
Google Plus Related Hashtags Help You Meet People
Most of us can agree that Google Plus is about meeting new people that have similar interests. What better way to do this than related hashtags. Below is an image that shows you what it looks like. On the upper right of any Google Plus post of significant content you will see one hashtag but you can click the down arrow to see a few more. After clicking the hashtag of the Google Plus post the card will flip over and it will give you a different Google Plus post related to that topic. Notice there are arrows in the top column. This allows you to see up to five total posts related to this topic.
Once you have consumed all five Google Plus posts it will give you a list of suggested hasthags at the end as shown in the picture in the previous section. Having the ability to “explore related hashtags” is amazing. This will allow you to find those active Google Plus users that have a similar interest. I have already met several people that are interested in Audi cars. I know that communities is a great feature but users do not post all of their content in communities. In fact, I would say that over 80% of my following found me through public posts that were not in a community.
I hope that more people start to use the related hashtags as it will allow me to build amazing relationships with those of similar interests. This is still a very new product so it is going to take time to polish over the next few months. I have seen no flaws but there have been some Google Plus posts that have no hashtags. While this product is polished I would suggest using your own hashtags and seeing what Google “recommends” by flipping the card over and scrolling the the right.
Have you used Related Hashtags on Google Plus? Do you feel as if this will help you build a following and engagement?