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Mar, 2014

Why We Love Google Plus (And You Should, Too!)

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Allow me to presume Twitter and Facebook define your social comfort zone, and  Google Plus perhaps pushes your social boundaries, something that possibly doesn’t tickle your fancy. This piece, written when I’m most sober – on a Saturday afternoon, aims to weigh for you the alternatives and through a process of rationalization, convince you that Google Plus is indeed a good decision. Shall we?

1. Higher Google Search Ranking

Social signals such as Facebook shares, Tweets, Pins and Google +1’s  are today a significant influence in who ranks above who. It matters because users are strongly perceived to prefer what their friends/social circles may have recommended in +1’ing, RTing, pinning and/or sharing on Facebook.  According to studies carried out by Moz, Search Metrics, among other industry leaders, there is a strong relationship between Google +1’s and search ranking.

Google +1's and SEO

Google +1’s influence on Search Ranking

SEO has changed, it is obviously not dead. What this means is that if you have more +1’s on your blog/website than your competitor then you are likely to rank higher than them. Depending on who you ask, Google is either playing a carrot and stick game with this, or Google is increasing working to effectively deliver on their promise to give users relevant and useful information every time they search.

2. Instant Content Indexing and Extended Audience Reach (Search, Plus Your World)

With Google+, Google aims to discover and serve its users with real time information by instantly crawling and indexing content as shared on the platform. As such, Google will most definitely index content on your Google+ profile or page faster than it will on your blog. This doesn’t mean you abandon your blog, but rather you cross publish. This is possible because a Google+ post is more like your traditional blog post; posts can be longer and complex to explore a subject extensively, the post’s title is converted to anchor text in SEO language, and the links shared pass link equity.

Worth noting is that content shared publicly on Google+ is indexed and ranked on Google Search as well. And because it involves social signals like comments, shares and +1’s it will most likely be ranked significantly higher.

Google+ influence on search results

Google+ and Content Marketing

As illustrated in the screenshot, 3 out of the 4 results above have a Google+ influence either in Google+ Authorship (which allows linking of a contributor’s profile to their articles) and Google+ connections, in this case, Sarah Hill, on result 3 above.

This means that content publicly shared on Google+ gets extensive reach as Google shows it to a wider audience across its other dominant web properties. A video, comment published on YouTube will display on Google+, get indexed and subsequently show on Google Search. Same applies to a public post on Google+.

This is not possible on Facebook and Twitter, because the former has built a Berlin wall around their data preventing access for Google to index content on the network and the latter instructs Google not to follow most of its links. This means your popularity on these networks may not spill over and reflect on  where it really matters – Google search.

Because Google+ is the social spine that binds together all these other Google products, it is all well interlinked to deliver value. This offers a big opportunity for content creators and content publishers. Always remember, Content is King, and Google is the King-maker.

3. A Mention on Google+ Drives More Sales Than a Referral from Facebook, Twitter

Retailers, do I have your attention? According to an analysis of $5 million worth of online purchases that came through the social commerce platform Addshoppers.com, Google+ was found to be more valuable compared to Facebook and Twitter. Quoting the report: “While Facebook claims the highest percentage of social revenue overall (38.76 percent), a referral from Google+ is worth an average of $10.78, compared to a Facebook referral at $2.35 and a Twitter referral at $1.62.”

Google+ User Value

Worth of a Google+ User

That aside, with Hangout on Air, a retailer can create a unique live shopping  experience. Viewers of such hangouts get a chance to browse or buy exclusive pieces as they are showcased. This has been demonstrated in recent partnerships between Google and various fashion designers like Rebecca Minkoff and Diane von Furstenberg. You may explore that and more at #ShopTheHangout and in this promo video – Shop the Hangout with DVF.

Locally and in this regard, you may have noted the presence of retailers like +Jumia Kenya, and +Bata Shoes Kenya on Google+. However, it remains an underutilized channel to connect with customers and convey expertise through one-on-one engagement.

I would like to go on and on, but I will keep it to three, just three reasons to love Google Plus. And this is not just a guide but more like a supplement prescription  to boost your social and content strategy.

You may read: 3 Reasons Why You Should Be On Google+ and 5 More Reasons You Should Be On Google+.

What are your thoughts on Google+? Do you think Google+ brings added value to the social landscape? We would like to hear from you.

What do you think?