The time has come to embrace Google+ with open arms and while it takes a bit more effort than merely creating a profile to extend your influence, the payoff can be huge. Today, we look at five of the best techniques to boost your Google+ profile and improve SEO. A few smart moves and you’ll go straight to the top.

1. Quality and Quantity Matter

Fresh content means you go no more than three days without activity on your page, and even that’s pushing it time-wise. People sit at their desks all day, constantly browsing and checking sites, so if you want return visits and more interest, keep those updates coming as much as possible.

That said, putting any old item up could actually detract from your brand. Content should be relevant, visual and interesting, particularly if you want to encourage others to share it, an essential part of the mission. Think of yourself as a publisher; content becomes critical, so linking to good news stories and videos makes you the source.

Google also introduced “author markup” so websites can publicly link within their site from content to author pages. According to their blog, the markup enables search engines to identify works by the same author across the web.

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To further optimize the span of your material, make your posts public; respond when you receive comments; tag friends, business associates and others in the post to specifically grab their attention. Being visual also has particular benefits, so bolstering a profile with high-quality, large images draws eyes your way.

2. Be Cliquey

Also key -- getting into peoples’ circles. According to a recent article on Mashable.com, pulling people into your own circles helps as there’s really no way to join. It’s the whole idea of following people on Twitter in the hopes they’ll return the favor. Inviting your enemies can be a strategy too, as the article goes onto note, “It also helps if those people are in the same industry, so you should include your rivals (you could even make a “competitors” circle), industry gadflies and, if you have a storefront or rely on local customers, people in your community.” 

Publishing good material covering a variety of interests to attract a diverse audience will similarly lure people into your faction.

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3. Be Engaging

It’s not enough merely to post content and link to people, you must actively engage with your audience. That means responding to comments on your posts, creating conversations, bringing up issues for discussion, starting "hangouts," and paying attention to who’s most responsive.

If certain people tend to react highly to your enterprise, give them more to feed off. This will help build stronger relationships and encourage them to bring others into the alliance. All tricks from the elementary school playground apply.

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Secondly, you should be dishing out those +1s, as they all make a difference. Comparable to a “like” on Facebook, the +1 button pulls you up faster in searches. It's the stamp of approval, so pay it forward and “like” yourself as well. As one blogger notes, “Profiles/pages that get a lot of +1s on their posts tend to show up more often in the “Related People/Pages” results.”

In fact, the +1 function has specifically been controversial for its ability to drive those using Google+ above others in searches. We previously found much concern that the tool was “bordering on being anticompetitive,” prompting an FCC investigation even. Nevertheless, it’s still around so take advantage!

4. Play the Right Fields

Keywords are critical to picking up leverage on a search engine, however not every portion of your profile carries as great of weight as others. As noted by AJ Kohn in his Ultimate Google+ SEO Guide, focus on planting keywords in the following fields: Introduction, Employment, Education and Places.

Additionally, turning on the Search+ functionality will gear results around your own activities on Google+. This will pull you up more frequently when those most relevant to your base are online.

5. Join Forces with the Underdogs

Connecting with smaller, oft-ignored social communities such as StumbleUpon, SoundCloud, LinkedIn and Tumblr can help your mission.

SearchEngineJournal.com points out,

Identify the ones that would be relevant to your industry and then systematically add value. As you build up relationships with users of those sites you’ll eventually start to gain links and followers. Working these other social sites will also help you develop content for you blog posts. Watch to see what is gaining popularity in content and discussions and then create posts that address those issues.

And lastly, a little self-promotion never hurt anyone. Add links to your pages on your email tags, and connect one site to the next. No one will buy if you aren’t selling.