SEO for your Google+ Cover Photo

SEO for your Google+ Cover Photo

Take your Google Plus marketing up a notch with the Google+ Pro Tips ebooks series.

Take your Google Plus marketing up a notch with the Google+ Pro Tips ebooks series.

Your Google Plus profile is an incredibly important part of your footprint across Google Plus. Parts of it appear in your hovercard as you travel across Google Plus with comments, posts and +1’s. The different sections of your About page give users information about who you are, and why they should follow you. And your cover image acts like a digital billboard to showcase you or your business.

But your profile extends beyond just your discoverability within Google Plus. Your hovercard, for example, appears within Gmail, Drive, and even websites that have Google Sign-in enabled. And your cover photo is indexed in Google Image Search with a link to your profile, which means there are ways to add some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to it. We’re going to talk about that more below…

SEO for your Google Plus Cover

Your current Google Plus cover links to your profile

Your current Google+ cover links to your profile

Every time you share an image on Google Plus (Public shares), the post is indexed by Google. The fact that the post is a “Photo” type of post means it will be indexed as an image, and appear in Image search results.

So, applying basic SEO principles to your cover image will work just like they do on blog posts and websites. You can do this in three easy steps:

First, use keywords in your cover image’s filename (example: google-plus-cover-template.jpg).

Second, when you upload the cover photo itself, give your cover photo a description/caption, and be sure to include keywords as well as a link to your website. When someone clicks onto your cover photo from your profile, this is what they will see. Here’s a video on how to do this:

(Watch on YouTube)

Google+ Cover Photo SEO

A photo post will link to the post in the Image search results

Third, share the image as a photo post on Google Plus. This creates a second instance of your cover photo; the first one is linked to your Google+ Profile (see above). By creating a photo post of your cover photo, you add another instance of the cover to the index, and have the ability to add more keywords and a URL to your website. More importantly, if this image is clicked on from the Image search results in Google, the visitor will go to your post, not your profile, where they then have no idea what to do next.


More ideas to boost the discoverability of your Google Plus Cover

Use your cover photo as a photo post when you’re promoting your blog or other branded content. Photo posts can be eye-catching, shareable and spark engagement, just like on any social network. The link you add in your post won’t pass PageRank, however, in this case your goal is to add another “link” to your cover photo. And like I said above, photo posts will link to your post, not your Google Plus profile.

Use your cover photo as a marketing and promotional tool: change it up periodically, which will automatically update your hovercard. Then share your cover image as a Photo post, since there is no activity feed like on other social networks to say “So-and-so changed their cover image”. I have a client who does this all the time on Facebook…he runs a local bar, with a huge mural of legendary singers on one wall. He’ll update his cover every day as a photo post, using a part of the mural, and tell everybody who the local band is for that night.

Auto Awesome and Google Plus Covers

Google+ Cover autoawesome

Michlin Metals Auto Awesome Google Plus Cover

One really unique way to showcase your brand is by creating an Auto Awesome cover photo. Auto Awesome is a feature that Google introduced in May, 2013, that will automatically animate a set of images (5 minimum) uploaded to Google Plus at the same time.

You can see lots of examples, and get help with the feature, in the autoawesome Google+ Community.

Once you have an image set that has been Auto Awesome’d, simply make it your cover photo like you would any other photo. The image will be linked to your Google+ profile.

This example from Michlin Metals adds some real visual appeal to their hovercard and their profile. (click the photo to see the animated version on Google+).

But more importantly, it is a series of 9 images (8 original, plus 1 animated) that can each be optimized for their key search phrases.

An Auto Awesome image represents a huge opportunity for businesses and their discoverability efforts in Image search.

How much “SEO Juice” does a Google+ Cover give you?

The answer to this question is the same as any other Google+ post. What’s most important to realize is that your cover is a part of your profile, and therefore will only ever link to your profile. Sharing the cover as an image is akin to sharing any other image on Google Plus…the post itself is indexed.

Also, in researching how quickly images from Google Plus are indexed in search, I’ve found the answer to vary greatly, from a couple of days to 2-4 weeks. By contrast, blog post images seem to appear much more quickly. So look at this strategy as something more long-term than short-term.

Lastly, accept that these techniques provide a very similar benefit to posting content about your business on any other social network…the primary difference being that these posts are on a network that is owned by the same company that ‘owns’ Search on the Internet.

About Stephan Hovnanian

I own Shovi Websites, a website design and email marketing company located outside Boston. I spend my days managing websites and staying up to speed with all the latest trends across the web so you don't have to.

NOTE: If you're commenting on the Google Plus Comments, please add +Stephan Hovnanian so I can follow up.

Google Plus Feed for this post

Powered by Google+ Comments

  • Zee Mee

    hi sir

    can you tell me that how my posts on g pulse profile or pages get indexed in Google search?and also my author profile is not showing in g search as it is OK on rich sipping tool please check it thanks

    • Stephan Hovnanian

      If the rich snippet tool ( is showing your profile, then authorship is set up correctly. Google decides whether or not to display it, we don’t have much control over the matter. As to the question about how your page or profile gets indexed in search, you could simply share a link to your profile or page on Google+ and the link will be crawled by Google. Ranking, of course, is a totally different story, but keep in mind that every post on Google+ is its own web page, which means the keywords, links, images, etc. displayed on it are important if you’re targeting a particular keyword with your post…just like any other web page on-site SEO. Hope that helps!

  • tony greene

    @Stepan Hovnanian do these same actions convert well for businesspages?

    • Stephan Hovnanian

      Hi Tony, yes you can use them for business pages. The only major differences would be that the Google+ posts wouldn’t have an authorship thumbnail in the search results, because those are reserved for profiles at this time.

      • tony greene

        Gotcha..thanks, by the way, are you using a custom script for the layout of your disqus and G+ comments?

        • Stephan Hovnanian

          no, but I put the G+ comments plugin into an “after post” widget as a shortcode instead of letting it override the comments section of the page. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • tony greene

            Had an issue with trying to add in the “after post” widget. Have it displaying above the disqus box but now I’m getting the error – Sorry your info cant be saved at this time. Try again later..

          • Stephan Hovnanian

            ah bummer. I wonder if there are hosting or theme constraints, or possibly some scripting conflicts. I’d have to look “under the hood” to see or could recommend someone if you want. let me know.