Google+ Ripples Explained

With all of the excitement over Google+ and all of the changes and updates being made to the network, it’s easy to miss a feature here and there. For me, this was Google+ Ripples, a feature that was launched October 26 of last year. So, it’s almost been one full year and I still hadn’t really delved into this new technology. As someone who has continuously been writing about social media and SEO for the entirety of this last year, I couldn’t help but ask myself: Did I miss something, or was there a reason Google+ Ripples was able to fly under an unwanted radar?

What Is Google+ Ripples?

For those of you who missed it like me, Google+ Ripples is an interactive way to visually show who has shared a specific post. The feature is built right into the Google+ network and it’s completely free, which is more than we can say for many of the cool Twitter and Facebook tools, so it’s something easy to use.

One thing to keep in mind is that the ripple will only show you posts that were sent out publicly and those who have shared the posts publicly. Other than that, you should be able to get a clear picture when it comes to the content that is going around on the network. Below is a screenshot of a ripple I found in my network:

As you can see, this ripple is a bit overwhelming! Nonetheless, Google+ makes it easy to break down all of this information by showing you who shared the post on the right hand side, as well as by making those who have shared the most with the most people appear in larger bubbles.

You also have the option to interact with the circles by zooming in or out, and you can put your cursor over the name of someone to see what he/she said about the post that was shared (if they said anything at all). Below is a screenshot that zooms in and illustrates these different features:

Finally, the ripple technology allows you to watch the post spread amongst those on the network, as well as give you statistics about influencers (people who have shared the post to many people), statistics about the post, and the languages of those who shared the posts. Below is the last and final screenshot:

You can find a Google Ripple by simply clicking on the little gray drop down arrow on the right hand side of every post and then clicking “View Ripples.”

How Marketers Can Take Advantage of Google+ Ripples

The technology looks fancy, but it can be quite practical for those really looking to analyze their Google+ presence. The biggest thing that you can do is try to discover influencers in your niche and those who have shared your content in the past, and get that person to share your content. In many cases an influencer in the industry isn’t directly connected with you, yet you still have great content that you’d like them to share. This is where the ripple effect comes into play.

According to SEOMoz, There are really three things you can do to grab the attention of an influencer, and it all involves looking at the ripples page.

  • First, you want to go to an influencer’s Google+ page and discover the content he/she is sharing. Once you see something that the person has shared, you’ll want to view the ripple and see where the post came from. Reach out to that person if he/she seems approachable (or has a small following).
  • Second, you want to form this relationship and ask him/her to share your content. In most cases this will work well, and then hopefully the influencer who can really reach a large audience will share your content because he/she sees that someone who is trusted shared it.
  • Third, keep checking to see the content that influencer is sharing, and continue to reach out to the person who shared that content first.

Have you ever used Google+ Ripples to help grow your brand and improve your online visibility? What are some strategies that have worked for you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda updatesand Penguin updates. She writes for Higher Visibility, a nationally recognized as a Top SEO Company that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country.