Emerging Media

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Google Plus: Ghost Town or the Place to Be?

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google_plus_2When a New York Times article declared Google Plus to be a ghost town, the reaction from Google+ fans was swift. Those who have taken the time to learn and use Google+ are passionate about its features. Google+ is not just another social media tool you have to maintain. It offers unique benefits that make it worth the effort.

Google+ and Search Engine Optimization

It stands to reason that Google+ posts would be treated favorably by the Google search engine. Posts are treated like other web pages and appear to gain ranking the more people share them or “like” them by using the “+1” feature. As people use Google+ and start posting and engaging with content, that information can then be stored in Google’s massive database to deliver more personalized search results. Businesses who want to ensure they’re getting favorable placement in Google searches should take note.

Google+ Numbers

Far from a ghost town, Google reports that Google+ has more than 540 million members. Of course, some of those are due to the fact that you need a Google+ account to access other Google products, including email or if you want to comment on a YouTube video. But, there are still 300 million active monthly users. And it seems to be catching on quickly, with a growth of 58% in a period between May and October 2013.

Who Uses Google+

A survey of Google Plus users found a high level of IT professionals, company owners, and self-described “senior decision makers”. Perhaps they see it as Facebook without the fluff and LinkedIn without the aura of a job hunter. If that’s the case, then there is certainly a market for that as Facebook gets more and more cluttered and the people who have Google+ accounts – but don’t use them – take the time to learn what it is about and what can be done to collaborate through it.

The Two Best Google+ Features

Aside from the SEO benefits, Google Plus offers some unique features that are sure to catch on with businesses, bloggers and others who want to interact with people who share their interests.

  • Hangouts – An excellent way to engage in video conferencing, live events and collaboration.
  • Shared Circles – Through the shared circles, you can set up your connections according to interests. These can be private – or not. Individuals or organizations can participate, leading to excellent opportunities to share ideas and really targeted information.

One thought on “Google Plus: Ghost Town or the Place to Be?

  1. This year I have noticed a major change in Google’s search results. The top results, which can often be the first 1-3 pages, are blog posts that have been promoted with the blogger’s Google+ account. I think this is Google’s way of promoting is social network. Google+ hasn’t drawn users from Facebook or Twitter, so the company and sought a unique audience niche.

    This is fairly new, and I’ve noticed how it has increased in recent months. Google has been my go-to search engine for years and years. Now, I find myself using Bing because Google doesn’t return the results I need anymore. It used to be that a search on a marketing topic would invariably produce articles on Mashable, AdWeek, and/or AdAge somewhere in the first page of results. Now, the results are all blog posts because bloggers know how best to manipulate keywords and have learned to leverage Google+.

    I don’t think Google+ is “the place to be” for most of the public, but apparently it is the place to be for SEM.

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