I’ve been thinking a lot about Google+ recently, initially spurred by the excellent post from Cyrus Shepherd on SEOMoz about taking advantage of Google+ for SEO. It points out that all links within the Google+ network are follow links and some tips on how to use this to your advantage. So Google+ has become a very valuable linkbuilding resource, particularly given the reduction in options that SEOs have post-Penguin and post Google Guideline updates.
So I’ve been using Google+ a bit more recently. We’ve already established internally that it is a great method for connecting with influencers in the digital community, but it is a bit harder in industries where there is a lot less take up. The advantage of this of course is that, despite Google+ being around for almost a year and a half, there is still room to become a thought leader in your industry before anyone else catches on.
The general consensus is that Google+ is designed to give additional social signals to Google, to help them in their attempts to bring the most relevant content to the forefront for searchers. This is a win-win situation for SEOs and for Google, everyone wins. To be sure, Google+ hasn’t taken off as quickly as some social networks, and there are certainly not people flocking to it and dropping Facebook off their radar. However, this win-win for marketers and Google will ensure its long term success, and is why people are sticking with it so far.
The hardest part of launching a new product on the internet is getting a groundswell of interest to propel the product forward and get enough momentum to gain a reasonable userbase. Recent successes such as Twitter and Pinterest have made it look relatively easy, but there have been a lot of failed products along the way. And Pinterest’s roots were 4 years ago despite its recent success. However, one of the driving reasons I can see for both Twitter and Pinterest’s recent growth was that marketers got interested. Once marketers see that something can benefit their clients, they push that product to their clients, encourage them, teach them, and drive the product forward. Once brands are using the platform, the fans of those brands will follow, and you end up with a pretty good looking growth curve.
Google+ has the same advantage. There are clear benefits to using it, not just from a social networking point of view, but also from a rankings perspective. So marketers, especially search marketers, are out there pitching Google+ to their clients like crazy. Then Google adds features that people want to have (like author photos in SERPs) which encourage take up further (and encourage more evangelising on the products behalf). And the linkbuilding aspect is the icing on the cake from an SEOs point of view – items added get indexed lightning fast and get a backlink in the process.
Google+ won’t fail now, despite Google’s previous failures in the social media sector (anyone remember Wave? or even Google Buzz?). There are too many reasons to use it from a marketing point of view, although perhaps Google’s original genius step was to link the product with rankings, which ensures people interested in ranking higher will use it. We SEOs are ravenous users of platforms that help our clients rank better.
So now you know where I stand, I’ll be putting together some blogs on using Google+ in all of its different guises. But for now, if you have been inspired to dip a toe in the water have a look at some of our other blogs on Google+.