Elements of Google Plus – Part One: Circles

Over the years, Google has made multiple attempts at creating a flourishing social media platform, with limited success. Now they have finally found a way to integrate user behaviour, search results and social into one cohesive platform – Google Plus. Available to anyone with a Google account, the G+ platform has many superior elements compared to other social networks. More importantly, it has the power of Google search engine results pages (SERPs) filtering through it. As a Google property, expect that it will become more essential in 2013 as Google incorporates it more blatantly into search results.

In this series, we’ll explore elements of the G+ system that set it apart from other social platforms, explain how they work and why they matter to both the general public and the search industry.


Circles are one of the best and most essential elements of the G+ platform. Essentially, it’s a filter you apply to your friends and posts. Break it down into work, friends, family, whatever you’d like – you can ensure that the appropriate information goes to the right people. And yes, that means your grandma or your boss can be a part of your online life while shielding them from those embarrassing photos from that trip to Vegas.

Where to find it:

In the left hand navigation bar, either in the initial list or under the ‘more’ section (because it’s all personalized).

How to use it:

For people: Click the circles button in the navigation bar. At the bottom of the screen, there will be several circles, like Friends or Family. You can create custom circles for your needs, which is a first in most social platforms. All you need to do is drag and drop names from above this list into the circles you’d like – and people can be in more than one circle at a time.

For posts: When you add a post, link or comment, there should be a section on the bottom of the window to specify which circles can see it. The default is usually Public, but that can be removed easily and replaced with specific circles.

Bria Jordan

Bria Jordan is a Toronto-based Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Consultant. A published writer for the last 14 years, she began her career as a music journalist before moving into marketing and communications. She has recently written a series about Google Plus. Follow Bria on twitter @InfiniteSass.

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