Google+ may help brands with SEO; but not if customers aren’t using it
A while back I wrote a piece on whether clients should be worried about Facebook pages having a future as fans left the good ship Facebook and rushed to Google +.
Twelve months later and I think it’s safe to conclude that Google + is not presenting a threat to Facebook.
Moreover when a ‘social media’ force runs a mainstream media advert there’s something that just makes you wonder whether they’ve got their strategy right, and whether their product is sticking. All the other social media tools I use have relied solely on word of mouth. Anyone ever seen a Twitter ad?
I rarely use Google + at all. A quick look shows that a lot of my friends and contacts aren’t using it either. We all rushed there as we thought that the Google experience would be awesome. We were promised big things and with Facebook becoming a little dull and introducing more updates than a Windows 7 PC, we were eager to try something different and cool. We arrived at Google+ and added friends and saw that we could do some of things and more that Facebook already did. But then we questioned how we could update both simultaneously and it was all a bit clunky, and a mobile version wasn’t available. They launched too early, we got confused, and their nemesis responded with the result that, to date, most of us haven’t deserted Facebook.
That aside, there are many advocates of Google + who argue that, for businesses and brands, it’s the ultimate place to be. For marketers it plays an important factor in search results, and with further integration with other Google products, we can see how this is already starting to show a significant difference in search rankings.
While as a brand you can’t afford not to be using Google +, particularly if you are using an SEM program to boost keyword search results, I still argue that the majority of us are not using Google + as our personal social media platform, and this where social search results and recommendations fail. Unless you are signed in to your Google + account, you’re not going to see those results that have a social signal influence.
And this is my point – Google + in the UK represents about 4% of the global accounts, approximately 6.5 million users in the UK. How many of these are active, no one knows although I suspect there aren’t that many. While Facebook has now reached over 40 million users in the UK, a staggering 65% of the population, Google + has dwindled in 2012 clearly indicating that most are reluctant to sign-up or spend any time on it.
My advice to brands would be to have a Google + page and see if it grows organically. However, if you want to reach your existing audience then be aware that they’re ‘Liking’ and sharing content elsewhere already.
Jon Ruffell is Digital Innovations Planner, Spinnaker.