“Google it.” It’s a brand’s ultimate dream to have their name synonymous with an action. Google has revolutionized the Internet with its search capabilities, changing the way marketers advertise to their target audience online. So what’s next for this search giant?
Google is moving into the social networking market with Google+. Basically, it’s a direct comparison to Facebook: a social networking site that allows you to connect with your friends, family, and favorite brands. Of course, there are some key differences that make Google+ more than a direct copy of Facebook, such as “Google Hangouts,” which allow live video stream chats with people in your circles. However, the most important aspect of Google+ is its impact on SEO.
The Social Impact
While Google already uses social signals from other sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, Google+ provides data that Google can actually trust. Other social sites don’t give access to the majority of their data for Google to use when providing search results; Google+ fixes that problem, which means it has more of an impact on what comes up in search. Google places more trust in the data it collects, meaning that its search results will be strongly influenced by the data it collects in its own social platform.
The graph below from Searchmetrics shows exactly how much impact each social component has on Google’s search results. As you can see, Google+ is at the top.
The Personalized Results Impact
Since 2009, Google has used social data to rank results tailored for you higher on your search results page. So if someone in your network has relevant content, it will be placed higher on the results page since you know the author. Now with Google+, Google has trustworthy data that it collects itself, so people within your Circles will be more likely to show up on the results page than those who are not.
From a brand standpoint, this is incredibly valuable. Let’s say a doctor is looking for EHR software. If he’s connected to an EHR software vendor in Google+, that vendor is more likely to show up in the buyer’s search results, reminding them of the connection, and potentially creating a lead. However, this only occurs if the buyer is searching while logged in to their Google+ page.
Managing a Successful Google+ Page
Even though it’s often compared to Facebook, the management of a Google+ page for your business is different than that of a Facebook page. Yes, you can share articles, photos, and links similarly to Facebook, but Google+ is meant for high quality content, not spam. The better your content, the higher you’ll rank in search results.
Facebook has “Likes,” Twitter has “Follow,” and Google+ has “+1” and “Circles.” The +1 button is similar to a Like: it allows users to show their appreciation for your content. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re following you. To follow a certain business, users must place them in their Circles, which allow them to organize who they follow in an easy way. Examples include “Friends,” “Family,” and “Work, but you can create any type of Circle you’d like.
Even though Google+ is still relatively new and doesn’t seem to be extremely active, it’s still important for businesses to have a presence. People that are active on the network could be potential customers! Also, since it is still early, take advantage of the low activity and build the brand presence you want. That way, when the activity increases, you’ll be ready with the content they want.
Do you have a Google+ page for your business? How has it impacted your SEO efforts?