Google+…What’s the Fuss?


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Google has attempted to dive into social media before with products such as Google Wave and Google Buzz – and neither managed to make a splash in the overly-competitive social media environment. But their experts sharpened their pencils and spent years developing what appears to be a winning platform…one that may affect your business more than you think.

Launched in June 2011, Google+ hit 10 million users after just 16 days, and recent estimates place total active users close to 235 million. Sure that’s a far cry from Facebook’s 600 million users, but still an enormously fast adoption rate. The fact remains, however, that Google+ may represent a legitimate long-term threat to Facebook’s dominance of the social media market. And, here’s why it matters to you.

What Google+ Means To You:

Individually

Like other social media sites, Google+ allows you to interact with other users by becoming friends with them and easily sharing information, pictures, and the like. But instead of characterizing all of your connections into one group, Google+ allows you to create “circles” for various categories of friends. For example, you may have a circle for family, co-workers, or even for your once-a-week biking club. These circles also increase your privacy, as your Google+ network grows and becomes partitioned. For instance, a picture shared in your “friends” circle, will only be seen by people in that circle.

For SEO

The most meaningful factor about Google+ is that search rankings are now heavily dependent on Google+ reviews. So, as more users positively recommend a certain business, that business will show up higher in search results. In other words, the more positive reviews your business receives, the higher you will rank organically.

Keep in mind, only Google+ users are able to leave reviews on Google+ Local, a feature that was presumably meant to keep the overall quality of reviews at a high level. But recently, Google began to automatically set up a Google+ page for anyone who creates an account on Gmail, You- Tube, or Zagat (all services managed by Google). So, you will definitely start seeing more reviews generated by Google influenced users.

For Local Search Results

In June 2012, Google revamped its local search results, rebranding the platform as “Google+ Local,” which is clearly an influential search tool. Previously known as “Places Pages” and “Local Listings,” Google+ Local integrates recommendations and ratings from Google users to provide accurate information about local businesses. Last summer, any existing business listings were automatically transitioned to the new format. That does not necessarily mean they were fully populated with data about the business. Most pages required some maintenance following the transition. Be sure to check yours!

For Paid Search Purposes

One important element about the evolution of Google+ is its relevance to Paid Search advertising (otherwise known as Pay-Per-Click or PPC). As it stands, Google is currently sitting on a mountain of data. By connecting a single user’s search tendencies with their personal information, Google can specifically steer targeted ads to appropriate audiences. The result? This year more than ever, when web users encounter your PPC listing, they will be more likely to click on it, driving up the value of Paid Search advertising to you.

Here’s our advice on what to do, whether you’re a beginner or an expert on Google+:

Advice 101 – Make sure you have claimed and fully filled out your Google+ Business Page. You’ll need a personal Google+ page in order to set up and manage your business page. However, there is no need to populate your personal page with information– focus on your business page for now. All indications are that Google aims to deeply integrate Google+ with its other features to create the best possible user experience, so don’t risk falling behind the curve.

Advice 201 – Ask your top clients or customers to provide a review on your Google+ Business Page. Make sure to monitor your page in order to respond to reviews – both positive and negative. If you don’t have time to manage both a Google+ and a Facebook Business Page, then focus on Facebook. Facebook is still king of the social media world and should continue to be one of your most effective web marketing tools for the near future. All other things being equal, we know that businesses, that use Facebook, Twitter, or blogs are certainly getting more business from the web.

If you aren’t active on social media yet, you are missing out on the best way to improve your word-of-mouth marketing. If you need help getting started on Facebook, Google+, or any other social media site,  check with a friendly web expert and see if they can help you set up or manage them for you.

Google has attempted to dive into social media before with products such as Google Wave and Google Buzz – and neither managed to make a splash in the overly-competitive social media environment. But their experts sharpened their pencils and spent years developing what appears to be a winning platform…one that may affect your business more than you think.

Launched in June 2011, Google+ hit 10 million users after just 16 days, and recent estimates place total active users close to 235 million. Sure that’s a far cry from Facebook’s 600 million users, but still an enormously fast adoption rate. The fact remains, however, that Google+ may represent a legitimate long-term threat to Facebook’s dominance of the social media market. And, here’s why it matters to you.

What Google+ Means To You:

Individually

Like other social media sites, Google+ allows you to interact with other users by becoming friends with them and easily sharing information, pictures, and the like. But instead of characterizing all of your connections into one group, Google+ allows you to create “circles” for various categories of friends. For example, you may have a circle for family, co-workers, or even for your once-a-week biking club. These circles also increase your privacy, as your Google+ network grows and becomes partitioned. For instance, a picture shared in your “friends” circle, will only be seen by people in that circle.

For SEO

The most meaningful factor about Google+ is that search rankings are now heavily dependent on Google+ reviews. So, as more users positively recommend a certain business, that business will show up higher in search results. In other words, the more positive reviews your business receives, the higher you will rank organically.

Keep in mind, only Google+ users are able to leave reviews on Google+ Local, a feature that was presumably meant to keep the overall quality of reviews at a high level. But recently, Google began to automatically set up a Google+ page for anyone who creates an account on Gmail, You- Tube, or Zagat (all services managed by Google). So, you will definitely start seeing more reviews generated by Google influenced users.

For Local Search Results

In June 2012, Google revamped its local search results, rebranding the platform as “Google+ Local,” which is clearly an influential search tool. Previously known as “Places Pages” and “Local Listings,” Google+ Local integrates recommendations and ratings from Google users to provide accurate information about local businesses. Last summer, any existing business listings were automatically transitioned to the new format. That does not necessarily mean they were fully populated with data about the business. Most pages required some maintenance following the transition. Be sure to check yours!

For Paid Search Purposes

One important element about the evolution of Google+ is its relevance to Paid Search advertising (otherwise known as Pay-Per-Click or PPC). As it stands, Google is currently sitting on a mountain of data. By connecting a single user’s search tendencies with their personal information, Google can specifically steer targeted ads to appropriate audiences. The result? This year more than ever, when web users encounter your PPC listing, they will be more likely to click on it, driving up the value of Paid Search advertising to you.

Here’s our advice on what to do, whether you’re a beginner or an expert on Google+:

Advice 101 – Make sure you have claimed and fully filled out your Google+ Business Page. You’ll need a personal Google+ page in order to set up and manage your business page. However, there is no need to populate your personal page with information– focus on your business page for now. All indications are that Google aims to deeply integrate Google+ with its other features to create the best possible user experience, so don’t risk falling behind the curve.

Advice 201 – Ask your top clients or customers to provide a review on your Google+ Business Page. Make sure to monitor your page in order to respond to reviews – both positive and negative. If you don’t have time to manage both a Google+ and a Facebook Business Page, then focus on Facebook. Facebook is still king of the social media world and should continue to be one of your most effective web marketing tools for the near future. All other things being equal, we know that businesses, that use Facebook, Twitter, or blogs are certainly getting more business from the web.

If you aren’t active on social media yet, you are missing out on the best way to improve your word-of-mouth marketing. If you need help getting started on Facebook, Google+, or any other social media site,  check with a friendly web expert and see if they can help you set up or manage them for you.

Brian Kraff

Posted In: Sales & Marketing, Technology

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