on 16th March 2012
Google+ and Why You Need A Google+ Brand Page
With the slow but sure adoption of Google+ you may be saying to yourself: “Not another social network, I already do Facebook and Twitter, do I really need to do Google+?”
I hate to break it to you, but yes, you do. If you are already creating content for the other two, great! You can use that on Google+.
Google+ Key Facts
Not really sure what Google+ is? Here are some key facts to get you started:
- Launched in June 2011 (open release to all over 18s in September 2011 and to absolutely everyone as of January 2012)
- 90 million registered users (these are very different from active users)
- The fastest growing social network
While these top-line stats look great they are not really the full story. According to a comScore report users only spent an average of 3.3 minutes on Google+ in January, compared to spending six hours on Facebook.
If people only spend 3.3 minutes then why should you use Google+?
Three Good Reasons Why Your Brand Must Be On Google+
1. Google+ Affects Organic Results.
There are a couple of main ways in which Google+ influences the natural listings. One is that Google indexes Google+ posts (see this example) which may affect your SEO efforts.
Secondly, Google is using Google+ to fulfil its goal of delivering highly relevant search results to users. Following or circling Google+ Pages, whether it is a friend’s Google+ Page or a brand’s Google+ Page, will enable Google to make your search results even more relevant. This means that not only will users potentially see results that better suit their needs, but it also gives businesses a chance to appear high in organic results where normally they’d be out of sight.
Here is an example of the above in action:
I love looking for holidays, I have become somewhat of an expert on finding nice hotels, so when I search ‘Spain’, I am probably looking for a hotel. The search query ‘Spain’ is very broad, different people are going to be looking for different things. The most relevant results for the majority of people would be a list of sites with general information on Spain, like Wikipedia or Lonely Planet. When I log in to my Google account and search ‘Spain’ a Google+ result appears at the bottom of the first page of results. This Google+ listing is Mr & Mrs Smith’s blog. Mr & Mrs Smith is an online travel agent offering luxury, boutique hotels who are in one of my circles on Google+. If I am logged out of my account their listing is nowhere to be seen.
The presence of the Mr & Mrs Smith listing is a perfect example of Google using Google+ to make search results relevant to searchers. Google refers to this as “Search, Plus Your World” it aims to bridge the gap between searcher intent is and the keywords searched on.
As a business, you could find yourself leapfrogging other results by virtue of being in the circle of a searcher. Good content on your website and blog is still very important, so do not think that this is a quick way around SEO.
2. Sharing Interests
Google+ Pages are all about sharing interests and following people who share your interests.
As well as suggesting people from your Gmail contact list, Google+ also suggests additional, already created circles such as Entertainment, Technology, Art and Photography etc. You can choose to add multiple people and/or businesses to these circles. Straight away Google+ is encouraging you to circle people you do not know in real life but people you share interests with or people you are interested in.
As a brand this is potentially great. Google is building in from the start the expectation of seeing brands and experts in your stream. People are connecting through interest. As a brand you potentially have a huge engaged audience ready and waiting, providing that you post great content that people want to share and engage with.
3. Great Search
Google’s business is search, so we can expect the search facility on Google+ to be pretty good.
- At the top of the search results are people and brands. Typically Google shows one to seven people or Pages above the other results - as a brand you want to own this space when you’re relevant to the search. Remember to verify your Google+ Page to add authenticity.
- Every time your posts on Google+ are shared you are cited. This is a marked difference from Twitter where you’re almost encouraged to lose the original brand account name due to the limited length of a tweet.
- With search on Google+ you get to see the use of your brand off your own page and in other’s circles. Recent public shares, posts and links to articles about your brand are easily searchable in Google+. This gives you a great idea of your brand’s reputation off page and off site, a perfect tool for managing brand reputation.
- Google+ allows brands to verify who they are. This helps when searching for brands. Facebook often seems to be overloaded with fan pages, which sometimes makes it difficult to find the “real” page you actually want.
Google launching a social network is a big deal, not just because of the reasons given above; but because whether you like it or not, Google has reach.
In the future you won’t have to be on Google+ to be affected by Google+. We’re already seeing the effects of Plus on search.
As Google is adding new features to Google+ every day you don’t know how you may be affected. Right now might not seem like a great time to dip your toe in the water but with social media it’s often best to take the plunge!