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Google Plus

What is Google+?

Google+ is Google's social networking website. In terms of functionality, it is very similar to Facebook in that individuals and companies alike can set up profiles. Like Facebook, individuals can choose to follow the updates of particular companies and people. While on Facebook, you become friends with someone or like a company's page, on Google+, you add the company or individual to one of your circles. Again, as with Facebook, companies can choose to set up local pages (Google+ Local) and/or geo-neutral corporate pages. At present, Google does not sell advertising on Google+.

Why did Google create Google+?

The fundamental motivation for Google to set up Google+ was to try to regain access to the "collective intelligence of the web." Heretofore, Google has relied and continues to rely primarily on links from one website to another in order to establish what is the best content on the Net. In an increasingly social world, links are less relevant quality indicators than they once were. Google's goal is to get people using the +1 button to indicate web-pages that they like. If web users started doing this en masse in the way they already use Facebook's like feature, Google could build a better search engine. As Google+ allows you to add people to circles (similar to being friends or following someone on Facebook), there is the prospect of social search whereby search results for users signed into Google+ are customised based on what they have +1'd in the past and what those in their circles have +1'd. The rationale is that if someone in your circle has +1'd a web page, this is a greater quality indicator to you than if someone you have never met before has linked to it. A +1 from someone in one of your circles can be considered similar to a referral from a friend.

social media marketing google plus

Why should your business care about Google+?

If people were to adopt Google+ en mass, then getting your website +1'd and/or shared by as many people as possible would be of great benefit as your site would be more likely to rank highly as Google customises search results for users based on what their friends have +1'd or shared. However, uptake has been weak to this point. In the immediate term though, there are a lot of benefits to businesses that are active on Google+.

Improved Organic Ranks:

Blog posts can be published on Google+ which in the process create links back to your website which Google can see and so improve your website's rank.

Google Authorship:

social media marketing google plus

Former Google CEO and current chairman, Eric Schmidt, said of anonymous content (content not attributed to any verifiable person):
"Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance."
So in order not to be irrelevant in search results, websites need to identify whom is the author and Google+ is required to do this. In order to set up Authorship, the author must have a personal Google+ page.

Google+ Local:

Google+ Local has replaced Google Places and as such is a vital part of any local SEO strategy. Businesses that migrate and verify their old Google Places listings to Google+ Local listings can post updates to their listing including blog posts, share content of interest and offer users the option of following the page. This is a far more dynamic offering to what Google Places was and one which businesses need to be aware of as part of their local SEO strategy.


Conclusion:

While widespread uptake has not as yet happened, with the might of Google behind this, it cannot be ruled out. As Facebook continues to push more advertising, some shelf space would appear to open up for Google+ as the "no advertising social network." Even if Google+ never "takes off" there are significant SEO benefits available from having a presence and as such we recommend Google+ to all of our clients.

In the above screenshot of our Google+ Local page, you can see highlighted in red that we can post updates to our page. In addition, users can choose to follow the page to get updates into their newsfeed.

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