Is Google+ Obsolete?
UPDATE (10/18/2018): Google has shut down Google+ due to low user engagement. This follows a series of security lapses that briefly put the oft-forgotten social network in the spotlight. We will continue to bring you news about the remaining social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as other important digital marketing news.
When’s the last time you updated your Google+ page?
Google’s third wheel of a social network consistently fails to float to the top of your mind when you’re fingers are twitching to tap out a status update, but is there something Google can offer businesses versus individual contributors?
In short… yes. But there are some things you should know going in, and how you use Google+ matters more than ever.
SEO, SEO, SEO
The marketing acronym so important it’s worth mentioning three times. Anyone with a whisper of marketing knowledge knows that search engine optimization is a crucial piece of the “get my brand seen” pie. How you rank affects how many people know you exist. Typically, people tend to concentrate their resources on on-site SEO — keywords, metadata, etc. — but Google mines their own social platform incredibly quickly.
One blogger published an article on Google Plus and found that Google indexed it within just one hour. It also ranked highly, in second place behind TripAdvisor and ahead of an article from Wikipedia. While that test is hardly scientific, SEO-powerhouse company MOZ did its own research and found major correlations between Google+ links and mentions and Google search rankings.
The key takeaway: Google values the content posted on its social network, perhaps disproportionately so. Good or bad, that’s the reality, and businesses can take major advantage of this by incorporating regular Google+ posting into their overall content strategy.
Google Hasn’t Pulled Its Support
In early 2017, Google+ finalized its switch to a new site design that emphasizes photos over white space and adds other features, including:
- Hiding low-rated comments on posts
- Allowing users to zoom in on photos
- An integrated utility for creating and sharing events
In 2018, Leo Deegan, Google+’s engineering manager, shared that more updates are on the way. According to Deegan, “Though it very closely resembles the current app, this new version is the culmination of a complete rewrite of many core features using Google’s latest Android app infrastructure which will allow our Android team to build new features on a modern tech stack.”
While those features may not be anything to jump and down about — unless you’re uber-excited about zooming in on photos — it does signify that Google isn’t going to abandon their social presence. At least not yet. Even better, it’s an indication that Google is focusing on changes that appeal to their existing audience and, by all indications, improvements will be ongoing. If you’re posting on Google+ to reach a sector of the population that’s already active there, those users are being given lots of reasons to stay put.
Know Where Your Audience Goes
Google+ still a popular destination for some, well, very specific demographics. Bread enthusiasts, board game lovers, toy photographers — they’re all active on Google+, and they’re not alone. Part of creating and executing a brilliant social media strategy is understanding which platforms are best suited for your brand’s purpose. If you’re selling baking paraphernalia, board games, or vintage toys, you might find serious traction on Google+ whereas brand’s in other niches would essentially be shouting into the void.
While it’s hard to predict the future, especially when it comes to digital marketing, it seems that Google+ not only isn’t obsolete, it’s a necessary play if you care about SEO and social inclusivity (which you should).
- Post regularly
- Post content that’s of value
- Know who your target audience is
- Do your keyword research
- Include photos in your Google+ posts
- Watch for updates
It’s all part of implementing a comprehensive, strategic content plan that will get you the results you crave without wasting resources on the way.