I have a confession. I don’t use personally Google+. Yes, I have an account – I was forced to create one when I signed up for my gmail address – but I don’t actively use it as a social network. I don’t know many people who do. That being said, I still find value in this social platform for businesses. Before you call me out on failing to “walk the walk,” consider the difference in the goals of a Google+ profile vs a page. While traditionally, the goals of businesses and individuals on social media were fairly similar – to connect with others and foster relationships – we must look at the goal of Google+ for businesses from a different perspective. Yes, it is nice to have the ability to directly speak to interested groups via communities and invite users to add you to their circles, but the factor that makes Google+ a necessary evil for businesses is its role in SEM.
The Plus Side of Google+
Local Listings & Reviews:
Maintaining a Google+ page gives you greater control over how your business appears in the Google search results. By providing your address and business hours, writing a brief description, and uploading photos, you’ll be able to take up more real estate in the search results by appearing on the map. Furthermore, you’re Google Reviews will have a place to live and you’ll have greater control over them, allowing you to promptly respond to new reviews.
Authorship & Author Rank:
Linking content you post both on your website and other places around the web to your Google+ page via Google Authorship is an emerging SEO tactic, as it not only makes your content more eye catching in search results by placing your photo with the title and description, it can actually boost your search rankings with Author Rank. This factor focuses on the author him or herself, rather than the quality of the site, when determining page rank, giving more weight to authors who are +1’d and followed on Google+, especially to those who have interacted with (+1’d) your content and followers of those users.
Google+ in Search Results:
Google+ is the only social platform for which individual posts can appear in the search results. Thus, increasing your reach and chances of being seen. In addition, giving users a peak at the types of content you post and share right in the search results can give you a leg up on companies that aren’t using this platform.
Google has worked tirelessly to integrate its offerings, including their social platform and search results, leading us to believe that the impact Google+ has on your search rankings is only going to get stronger. That being said, given the platform’s recent change in leadership, there has been speculation of changes in the Google+ team and the infamous mandatory integration with other platforms, such as YouTube. Under new leadership, Google+ can take the opportunity to strengthen the platform as a social network, thus increasing its value for business owners even further. Either way, Google+ will continue to be necessary. Whether it we can drop the “evil” remains to be seen.