You probably remember hearing about this Google Plus that launched in June of 2011. You probably thought at the time, “oh great, another Google product getting rammed down our throats.” You probably remember it’s slow adoption, leading to several different memes.
So, your memories of Google+ aren’t all that great. Perhaps you’ve made up your mind about Google+, or you think it’s not for you, or you have nothing to gain from it. You’re not alone.
The problem is, you’re wrong about Google+, and we’re about to tell you why.
Google+ Is Not a Ghost Town
A common misconception about Google+ is that it’s a ghost town, and there is no one of importance that is actively using it. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Let’s first take a look at user data. Buried at the bottom of this post from the Official Google blog, Google+ has 300 million active monthly users in the Google+ stream. That’s more than Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, and only trails the social media giant Facebook.
On top of the massive user base, there are tons of influencers on Google+. Musicians such as +Lady Gaga and +Snoop Dogg, actors and actresses such as +Hugh Jackman and +Paris Hilton, athletes such as +David Beckham and LeBron James, industry authorities such as Larry Page, Richard Branson, and Arianna Huffington, and world figures such as the Dalai Lama, and +Barack Obama – all actively maintain Google+ profiles.
Google+ Will Help You Improve Search Engine Rankings
Several studies have been conducted that showed that Google+ +1s have a positive correlation on higher search rankings, but Google continues to deny any direct integration into their ranking algorithm. Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, responded to these findings by saying:
If you make compelling content, people will link to it, like it, share it on Facebook, +1 it, etc. But that doesn’t mean that Google is using those signals in our ranking. Rather than chasing +1s of content, your time is much better spent making great content.
So, if Google+ doesn’t have any direct impact on search results, why would it be worth our time?
Google+ shares and +1s do have an affect on search results, but it might not be in the way you would think. Google takes into account your Google+ connections, and uses their +1s and shares as “recommendations” and integrates those endorsements into your search results.
Rand Fishkin at Moz described this phenomenon beautifully in one of his recent Whiteboard Friday videos:
So, by leveraging Google+ in this way, you really are able to increase your search engine exposure for your extended network.
Google+ Is Actually Fun
Google+ still get’s a bad rap for being a boring social network, but we couldn’t disagree more. Google+ is a great place to meet new people and interact with others in your industry. It has everything that Facebook has, and then some.
One of the best features of Google+ is Communities. Through Communities, you’re able to collaborate with like-minded individuals, and keep up to date on industry news and insights. Communities are like forums for industry influencers.
Despite whatever opinions you may have of Google+, it’s a poor marketing decision to ignore it. Whether you like it or not, Google+ is here to stay. With Google search being an important source of traffic, it’s foolish to ignore Google’s own social network.
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