Google+, many know of it, few actually utilize it. G+ has been around for quite some time, with a majority of users being businesses. In light of a recent data exposure/security breach, Google decided it was time to close the doors on their social platform. Over the next 10-months, Google will be shutting down the consumer version of G+. After the 10-months, Google+ will cease to exist.
There are mixed feelings surrounding the shutdown of Google+, however, most people do not seem phased. Whilst Google is a powerhouse and a huge staple in the digital world, their social platform did not live up to their standards. The site’s usage and engagement were steadily low and 90% of user sessions did not last over 5 seconds. The platform was already on it’s way out and the security breach only pushed out that process sooner. There are those, however, who are worried about the shutdown of Google+. Although it was not a great social platform, it did have a few benefits in terms of good old SEO.
Why is Google+ a useful tool?
I’ll admit, Google+ is not something I utilize in my social media strategies. The engagement rate is extremely low, bounce rates are extremely high, and it’s saturated with businesses, leaving a small portion of actual consumers on the site. With such a limited number of consumers, branding proved difficult on this site and ultimately, useless. Whilst I neglected it in my social strategies, I figured, it had to have some relevant use.
Google+ is an excellent tool when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization). How so? Content put on Google+ indexes almost immediately, ergo, helping to increase rankings at a faster rate. This helps with a plethora of things:
- relevant keyword ranking
- lead generation
- driving traffic to your G+ profile which in turn, leads to site traffic
Whilst SEO is one of those proponents of marketing that many are on the fence about, it is effective and Google+ is a driving factor in keyword rankings. Imagine you owned a pizza shop in Toronto and you wanted people to know that you are, in fact, the best pizza shop in Toronto. Pushing content utilizing relevant and strong keywords onto Google+ about how awesome your pizza is can help you faster rank for those keywords. For example, if you wrote blog posts all about the best pepperoni pizza and someone typed in, “best pepperoni pizza in Toronto”, your Google+ can heighten your rankings and we all know, we usually trust the first few results!
Why is Google+ so neglected in the marketing world?
“Ah yes, Google+ will definitely help us build up the brand, we need to post socials there daily!”
How many times have you heard a marketer say that? I am going to go with next to never. Google+ is something that many marketers stay clear of and ignore completely. Whilst it does show success in the digital world of marketing, it lacks in the social media aspect. In SMM, branding and engagement are two key components. You want to ensure you are building your brand where the people are and where they will talk and Google+ just isn’t the place. So rarely will you hear someone go, “hey, check out this awesome video from this brand I found on Google+.”
Google+ has simply become a content hub- somewhere you can post and store all your content with little to no engagement in return. With the lack of consumers and engagement, it is understandable that so many social media strategists and marketers, alike, shy away from the platform. If you are looking to build your brand and increase engagement, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are some of the best places to do so (sorry, Google!)
I have a Google+ profile, am I affected by this data exposure?
Since the news of the data exposure came out, many people have been worried, and for appropriate reason. What information was leaked exactly?
- Email address
Even those whose profiles were set to private were targeted. The bug affected the sites API and was active between 2015 and 2018; hence, why so many have lost trust in Google or grew anxious in regards to how long their information was out there and who had access to it. Google assured it’s users that there is no evidence suggesting that any third-party developers were made aware of the bug, nor have they abused it in any way (i.e., utilizing information to track down people, utilizing information for monetary gain, etc.)
The bug was closed in March of this year and Google continues to reiterate the fact that no one’s personal information was utilized in any malicious form. As with any breach in security, reviewing your information and resetting your password should always be the initial step you take.
If you are a keen user of Google+, you have the next 10-months to utilize it and its features and for those not utilizing it, you can use this time to perhaps boost some rankings and test the SEO/Google+ waters.