By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
If you’ve been neglecting Google Plus (or G+) as a “Johnny-come-lately,” you should rethink your social media priorities. Surprise, Google+ is now Number Two and gaining ground.
In the digital world, Facebook (launched February, 2004), and Twitter (launched March, 2006) were well-established “old timers” when Google+ came along a couple years ago, in the summer of 2011. The rising tide of many social networking sites—and the evident success of Facebook—was a wave that many startups wanted to ride. Google included.
Initially, Google Plus attracted a few million users, but it was not the overwhelming Facebook-killer that some observers predicted. Facebook and Twitter continued to dominate, and they are the starting point for many social media marketing plans.
More than a few plans ignored Google Plus or relegated it to an after-though status. That was then.
This is now. Google Plus has become the second largest social platform globally, according to GlobalWebIndex, displacing Twitter. “Google+,” they report, “despite being branded a failure or ghost town by large portions of the media, grew in terms of active usage by 27 percent to 343 million users to become the number to social platform.” (500 million members by other reports.)
Why Google Plus belongs in your social media toolbox
Google+ is big and it has even bigger relatives. Being part of the integrated Google family leverages all the parts. In spite of several false starts in social networking, Google is the undisputed giant in online search. Not only did Google Plus push Twitter out of the number two rank, YouTube—also owned by Google—took the number three spot. (Twitter drops to fourth.)
As GlobalWebIndex puts it, “YouTube (not previously tracked by us as a social platform) comes in at number three, demonstrating the immense opportunity of linking Google’s services through the G+ social layer.”
Google Search favors its good friends and close relatives. Google’s Search Engine Optimization rules are not published, but it’s no secret that Google wants to deliver accurate, good quality results. Participation in Google+ is not only a social connection, it gives the search engine information about you/your company, interests, etc. “[Ranking two and three] is also a key indication of why Google+ integrated with the Google product set is so key to the future of search and the Internet.” Google+ influences—and helps—SEO and PageRank.
Google+ establishes authorship for online content. In SEO-speak, Google Search attributes information created for online publication to a reputable source that is knows. As Google Search ranks content, it associates quality content with regular contributions connected to a Google Plus Profile. (It’s the Google Family thing again.) Authorship can also enhance reputation, increase page views, and guard against plagiarism.
Google Plus is big with mobile users. Business Insider ranks the Google+ Mobile App as the fourth most used. Google Maps is first, YouTube (also Google) is third. Facebook Mobile App is second.
Will Google Plus overtake Facebook’s Number One standing? Presently, Facebook has about twice as many users as Google Plus; both are growing rapidly but at about the same pace.
Each of the major social media platforms has a purpose and an audience appeal. Some tools are more useful than others depending on your objectives. But you can’t afford to neglect Google Plus. Chances are, it has a useful place in your social media marketing after all.
For more about Google Plus for business, the best place to begin is to “ask Google.” The information page: Make your business social, across the web, is an invitation to get started and create a Google+ page.