Here’s one of my favorite current hobbies: I sit down with potential clients, throw out a reference to Google+ and pause for the inevitable response – that “it’s never going to take off” or “we don’t believe in it.”
Then I slowly shake my head, take a deep breath, and reveal what Google isn’t telling you about the significance of their social push.
1. Google+ is Not Another Social Networking Site
Google+ has many of the same features as a social networking site like Facebook. Both have newsfeeds, photo sharing, and groups. However, Google+ and Facebook are not direct competitors. Google Search has been a powerful marketing tool for over a decade. Unlike Likes on Facebook, every +1 on Google directly interfaces with all Google advertising products associated with the Google+ account. So every time that +1 Button is clicked, it feeds Google’s advertising engine, allowing them to match more targeted ads to you and everyone connected with you through your Google account.
2. The +1 Button Has Become an Integral Part of SEO
Adding the +1 button integration to a site will affect site rankings indirectly. This form of social endorsement is also used as data by other Google products, such as Google Search and Gmail. The +1 integration button can easily cause a cascading effect. Sites can get new visitors as searchers are more likely to visit a site that is endorsed by others; sites can boost conversion rates due to endorsement; and the site can finally receive a higher click-through rate, which is a factor that Google Search uses to determine rankings. The end result is essentially a “+1 ecosystem.”
3. Active Google+ Users Highly Influence Search Results
Different additions to Google+ circles can have an almost absurd impact on individual search results over time. Businesses can expect to see substantial gains in online visibility due to yet another cascade effect associated with Google+. This somewhat mediocre approach to social media can have a substantial impact on small businesses and large enterprises. Again, conceptualize Google+ as an “ecosystem” rather than a standalone social media network.
4. Reputation Management on Google+
Almost every company that has substantial visibility has a few negative reviews. Unlike on other social media sites, negative reviews on Google+ can be pushed further down the list on the search results page after a business has a comprehensive Google+ listing. Google+ gives businesses the opportunity to further gain leverage, control, and online visibility.
5. Acquisition of Online Real Estate on Google+
Google+ posts can be longer and more involved than Facebook or Twitter posts. Google+ can resemble a blog, especially when full-length posts are published. Gaining credibility on Google+ has become an integral part to gaining a foothold on the rest of Google’s highly integrated marketing platform.
6. Finally, Google+ Is Not Going Anywhere Soon
Google+ has added a key social element to other popular Google products. Its heavy influence on Google Search and Google Ad Words is substantial. Only a year ago, many were skeptical that Google+ would be another social media trend.
To reiterate, Google+ is not a fleeting social media trend, or even a social media network. Google+ is a crucial component of the new face of SEO as well as an entire “ecosystem” of online marketing features by Google.
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