Social Media Marketing August 1st, 2013
In the world of social media, it’s no secret who the big three are: Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Facebook alone has more users than Twitter and Google+ combined. Although it currently ranks third with over 300 million users, Google+ is quickly gaining ground and may quite possibly catch up with Twitter soon. If this proves to be the case, it is my assertion that Google’s most visible product – the Google search engine – will have had something to do with that.
Stated differently, the biggest advantage to opening and maintaining a Google+ profile is right in front of you: increased visibility in a Google search.
Although their users share information with each other through status updates, posts and Tweets, Facebook and Twitter themselves largely restrict the amount and type of information they share with Google regarding their users. This is great if personal privacy is a high priority for you, but not so great if you are a business or a blogger trying to get the word out about you and your product.
Because Google+ is part of the Google empire, Google has unfettered access to every bit of data you input into your Google+ profile. The more information it has about you, the more it can let others know about you; when Google knows your interests and concerns, it can more easily connect you to users when they conduct relevant and related searches. In this way, Google+ allows you to become a more effective presence in the search engine.
For better or worse, a common thread among people is that they stick with what they know. Translated into a searching context, users click on the links from companies, websites and people with whom they are familiar. Google+ allows searchers an additional way to get to know you through an author picture accompanying your web link.
Google Authorship is a status you attain when you properly connect your Google+ profile to your blog or website. It automatically inserts a thumbnail pic with your link whenever you come up in a search. This means that every time you contribute content to your site, your smiling mug shows up in related searches. Even if you are not ranked on page one, when users scroll through the pages, you and your photo will stand out every time.
In the online world of the internet, one drawback is the impersonal feel to all of the data. This is especially detrimental when you are a small business or a blogger trying to place your own stamp of individuality in a competitive market. Including your picture via Google+ is an excellent way to create that human element when users find you in the search and can be the difference between getting that click and letting it pass you by.
Google+ also offers a distinct advantage over Facebook and Twitter by allowing you full control over your posts from start to finish. This complete editing power is not present in the other two sites: limited edits are possible with Facebook and only Tweet deletes are offered by Twitter.
The significance of this feature is most certainly not lost on a generation of social networkers whose trends, tastes and interests are subject to change in an instant. With the editorial control allowed by Google+, you can perform updates and edits, as well as link new and emerging related content/media, to your posts in a flash. Of course, you can always include additional comments to your Facebook posts, but you must do so in the general “Comments” section below the original post and the likelihood that your additions will be missed increases dramatically.
This editing feature also plays a role in the search optimization because you can reshape and mold your posts to fit the current search of the moment. With this instantaneous editing, you can insert relevant content and links, thereby including yourself and your brand in related searches.
A final benefit offered by Google+ over the other social networking sites is the availability of your content for SEO purposes. When you fill out your Google+ profile, there are many places to insert keywords and phrases, such as on the “About” page, that will let others know your interests and how relevant you are to them. Since Google has access to your Google+ information, the rankers take that information and plug it into the search engine. Not only that, but Google also indexes information from Google+ much faster than from other sources, so your content shows up almost immediately.
In one fell swoop, you have not only let other Google+ users know a little about you, but you have also informed the general public utilizing a Google search about what you have to offer. And the more you can get the word out about you and your product, whatever it may be, the better.