Many companies spend much less time on Google+ as a marketing tool compared to other networks like Facebook and Pinterest. Now, many industry experts are saying that the future existence of Google+ is uncertain. However, Google insists Google+ is here to stay for a very long time. Here’s what you should know about Google+ amid the confusion.
Yes, You Should Care About Google+
Google+ is important to your website’s search engine optimization. Many Google+ posts rank higher than website content. Plus, acquiring reviews on your Google+ Local profile helps improve your local search engine rankings. The more reviews you have there, the more likely you are to rank high in local searches. If you are looking for a simple way to add an SEO boost to your strategy, this is a great addition that can be managed as easily as your other accounts using social publishing tools like HootSuite and HubSpot’s Social Media Tools. Because an active presence on Google+ can positively affect your website’s search engine exposure, the answer to “Should I care about Google+?” is a rousing “YES!”
Additionally, if your target audience consists of young males who are into technology, then Google+ is an important social network for you. Men ages 25 to 34 that are considered early adopters of technology are the most active group on Google+ and often prefer it over other social networks.
If you need hard evidence that Google+ can be beneficial, check out this article “Vacation Rental Marketing Like A Boss” by Allen Egan on LinkedIn. Allen provides hard data about the positive effect Google+ has had on search and social media exposure for ten vacation rental owners looking to attract more renters to their websites.
Why Is There Doubt Surrounding Google+?
The most pronounced reason for doubting the future of Google+ occurred when its creator, Vic Gundotra, the Google executive who oversaw Google+, left Google in April 2014. This stirred conversation among industry experts over whether Google was still dedicated to the project. Shortly after, Chris Messsina, one of the early designers of Google+, wrote in a blog post that he recognized signs that Google had abandoned Google+ altogether. He has since published a retraction to that statement and detailed why he now feels that is incorrect. (Messina uses strong language that is not suitable for work in that post. Therefore, we have chosen not to link to it here).
Still, Google’s updates to Google+ have slowed significantly recently and they completely pulled the plug on Google Authorship. The Google Authorship feature was basically code that people could place on their website that told Google to associate that website or web page’s content with a specific person on Google+. Due to low participation by users and many saying that authorship was distracting in searches, Google changed its algorithm and no longer tracks data from authorship tags.
Additionally, in September 2014, Google stopped requiring new Gmail users to set up a Google+ profile. Rumors now abound that the integration between YouTube comments and Google+ will also be short-lived due to the negative response it received from YouTube users.
The Bottom Line
There is still a lot of doubt surrounding the future of Google+, but the bottom line is this: as long as Google+ exists, it will have an effect on search engine optimization unless Google specifically states otherwise. Therefore, it’s important for marketers to place real effort into creating a strong Google+ presence.