Google+ didn’t exactly share the same success as Facebook and Twitter, but it doesn’t mean it holds zero value. Around 22% of online users visit Google+ at least once a month so this could be a good opportunity for your website. We take a look at whether Google+ is dead, what’s in store for the platform, and learn more about their next steps.
What is Google Plus?
Google Plus, also referred to as Google+, is a social networking platform from the giants at Google. Open to everyone who wants to sign up for a Google or Gmail account, Google+ allows users to ‘stream’ updates, hold online conversations and to share content. It also allows the user to assign followers to one or more ‘circles’, easily categorising work, professional and social acquaintance groups at the touch of a button. Google Plus sets itself apart from other social networking sites by bringing people together within the context of Google’s many other services for connecting business and personal users alike.
Is Google+ Dead or Alive?
Many deem Google+ dead since after three and a half years, the platform has not quite lived up to what we thought it would be. But with Facebook and Twitter as competitors, did it ever stand a chance? Not really. It may be the odd design, or the fact that no one really ever used Circles and Sparks. Or it might just be because people thought there would be more.
Either way, Google+ as we know it is no longer the same.
Google has since repackaged the products and sources confirm that they are not looking at dropping the Google+ name just yet. Bradley Horowitz, Google VP, was put in charge of Google’s Photos and Streams product. Google+ is set to dramatically change and it appears that the new suite of products will have some elements of the old Google+ that we know, with a bunch of new features and tools.
Sources say it will become two products under Horowitz, but Google have not yet confirmed the details.
Google will feature a brand new product that will mainly focus on two features – Collections and Communities. Google says that Communities gets around 1.2 million new joins every day. Collections will allow a user to group posts according to topics and then curate their own lists. A community serves as a gathering for Google+ users who are interested in a specific idea or topic.
Google’s director of streams, Eddie Kessler, said: “Today, we’re starting to introduce a fully redesigned Google+ that puts Communities and Collections front and center. Now focused around interests, the new Google+ is much simpler. And it’s more mobile-friendly—we’ve rebuilt it across web, Android and iOS so that you’ll have a fast and consistent experience whether you are on a big screen or small one. You’ll need to opt-in to this new version of Google+ on the web to see the changes—check out our Google+ post for more on how to give it a try.”
Competing with social media giants
Technology companies that feel threatened often try – and fail – to innovate. Google+ is one such example. It feared it would be overwhelmed by Facebook in terms of taking users away from Google.
Facebook is now larger than ever, with more than 1.4 billion users.
It seems like other social media platforms like Twitter are also slowly starting to take over the web, especially when it comes to display ads. It seems like Google+ is slowly starting to move into the backseat when it comes to social media growth. This has lead businesses to ask whether Google+ is dead and even relevant to businesses. The short answer to this is yes.
But let’s take a look at why you should not yet throw away Google+ altogether.
According to Statistic Brain, Google+ has around 27 million unique monthly visits. Around 22% of online users visit Google+ at least once a month. Around 74% of Google’s users are male, while 55% of users are located in the United States. This means that although it’s not as popular as other networks, it is still somewhat relevant and should not be completely ignored.
Especially not if you want to use social media as part of your SEO strategy.
Quality over quantity
Keep in mind that it’s about quality, not quantity. It might not be the biggest social media network, but it’s definitely not true that Google+ is dead, with millions of people still engaging on this platform. This still gives you an advantage over competitors who are not using Google+ at all.
Google started rolling out a new design for Google+. It gave the platform a new look and feel, and Communities and Collections are now at the centre of everything. These two features are being used the most, according to Google.
Google Communities are designed to create a thriving community around your products or services. These communities are created around a specific interest. It’s a great way to engage customers in a direct conversation and communities can be made private or public.
Here are a few reasons why you should still consider Google+ for your business:
- There are still more than 300 million active users
- You can put your brand in front of qualified leads
- Everything you publish on Google+ for Business is immediately indexed by Google
- There are many resources: Search, Maps, Communities, Hangouts, Gmail and more
- Google may use the number of +s you have as a ranking factor in local search results
While some people still think Google+ is dead, it may not be the end of this platform. Google is actively busy revamping the product and will hopefully surprise us very soon. That being said, remember that it can’t hurt your SEO to use Google+. Google will index content faster for some aspects (business, for example) and that’s always a good thing.
Even if you deem Google+ dead, you can still use the platform to build backlinks to your website. It’s a great source of content for many users, and you can put your brand in front of millions of potential customers.
But if you want to focus your SEO budget on the big fish, stick to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – at least for now. They continue to grow and at the moment outrank Google+ by far. With social media rapidly evolving, only time will tell what the future holds for Google+
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