What Google+ will and won’t do for online publishers
It’s not exactly safe to say that using a Google network does anything for your SEO status. In fact, I’ve seen blogs on the Google-owned Blogger platform get completely ignored. Even worse, they were completely ignored once the blogger ditched their domain name and opted for the native blogger URL. Lots of traffic and AdSense income one day, and then completely dead the next day. True story.
In fact Google+ for businesses doesn’t seem to offer anything more significant SEO-wise either, other than one more search listing to claim when someone Google’s your brand name. Still, it would be shameful to ignore one of the most popular Google projects since Gmail, and since they just rolled out Google+ for Business, I hope you’ve gotten started.
Forty million users on Google+ compared to Facebook’s 800 million might not look like much, but if you’re in the business-to-business realm, you probably won’t be surprised that, like Twitter’s beginnings, it’s occupied by a very business and tech-friendly user-base. It’s also predominantly male, according to TechNewscast, which says:
“SocialStatistics and FindPeopleOnPlus, third-party sites that gather data from about select Google+ profiles, both report that about 68% of Google+ users are Male. In July, they estimated that the percentage of male users was 87% and 74% respectfully.”
So hey, let’s take out the white gloves and work on a little start-up strategy, shall we?
- Where: Go to http://www.google.com/+/business/ to start your profile.
- Who: Currently you can only have one administrator, so choose wisely, but remember that whomever you choose will be able to share the new page with their current network. So, someone with a booming Google+ profile would be ideal.
- What: As a publisher, you’re likely to fit the “Product or Brand” or the “Company, Institution or Organization” categories.
- What #2: From here you’ll be asked basic information like your website address, tagline, and to upload a photo. We opted to use the same one we use on Twitter. Some tips:
- For your tagline, you might consider throwing some keywords in for good measure.
- In your “About” section, you probably want to toss in a few inbound links.
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- Why: If you love analytics, raise your hand! I certainly do, and the promise of these analytics of Google+ might intrigue you:
- Google+ search allows you to “search keywords, names or anything else, and use your search results to understand better what people are saying about your brand, reward superfans with rebate coupons, or even jump in to help resolve customer service issues.”
- Ripples “let you see your posts spread across Google+, who’s sharing and resharing your content, and whose opinions matter. Use it to identify influencers and add them to a circle, or see how communities are formed around your content.”
- Social analytics “measures +1’s and how engagement on your site changes when personalized recommendations help your content stand out. Also see aggregate, anonymized demographic information about the Google users who have +1’d your site.”
- Analytics on a Page are coming soon and will give you “as much data as possible about your Google+ Page and +1 activity: who’s interacting with your page and how; your users’ demographics; and info about their social activities like +1’s, shares and comments.”
- API integrations include “read access to public data and a hangouts API” with much more to be expected in the future.
The big question still remains, though. Where’s your audience? Google is big, but is it big enough to convince 800 million socially savvy Facebook users to switch over? 40 million is a great start, but can Google+ really get them to use yet another social network independent of their current network?
As of right now, there are basically no ways to use Google+ as a marketing device. For the time being, until they find a way to let us monetize the site, it turns out to be a glorified RSS feed. Which means that for now, this is a placeholder for things to come. So fill out your profile, update it like you do your Facebook page and be sure to promote it to your existing users in case they decide to abandon you elsewhere.
By the way, Facebook didn’t miss a beat here and banged out Facebook for Business in the meantime which brings light to the things that Google+ is missing, like the ability to have contests and sell products. All in due time, I’m sure. While you’re waiting, follow Mequoda on Google+.