Facebook’s Kid Brother Adds Value in Unexpected Ways
It’s certainly true that Google+ is a late-comer to the social media scene and that its users are fewer and less active than those on Facebook or Twitter. That said, Google+ is more than just Google+. It’s part of the powerful Google web.
That’s important for small businesses, particularly for Search Marketing reasons. If you’re trying to be relevant in Google’s results (which are 70% of all search traffic), a presence on Google+ will help get you there:
- “Google Places” is now “Google+ Local:” This past June, Google made the strategic move to integrate its powerful “Google Places” listings into its Google+ social network. We’re talking about all those red points on Google Maps that reveal relevant local listings for a given search. Try searching for something like “Pizza Albany, NY.”
- This truly is the 21st Century “Yellow Pages,” for people searching for local businesses often find them here.
- For a small business that wants to compete locally, having an attractive Google+ Local page (with complete and correct info and lots of glowing reviews) is the ticket to more business.
- Content Shared on Google+ Rises in the Rankings: A short while ago, Google started to “personalize” the search results one sees when logged into a Google+ account.
- If it was shared by folks in your Google+ “Circles,” it will appear higher in the search results. Google+ Circles are collections of friends, family, contacts, public figures you admire, etc. that you’ve “added” on Google+.
- So an active presence on Google+ will also help people find you on Google’s general search results.
- “Nice Headshot…Click:” Google is now putting author information into the general search results. It gives a small headshot, the name, and some Google+ info right in the result. Try Googling “SEO Blog” for an example.
- It’s just human nature to be drawn toward a “humanized” listing with the image & name of the author (vs. the usual “anonymous” Google listing).
- So if you’re a small business and you want to compete on the Google results page, a cheap and easy way to boost your “curb appeal” is by using these Google+ “authorship tags.”
- The catch is, though, that you have to be a Google+ user to activate them.
So the moral of the story is that Google+ may not be as effective as Facebook & Twitter are in spreading the word about a small business, but it’s very useful for getting to the top of Google’s natural search results. And not just to the top, but with value added: strong reviews, social recommendations from Google+, & appealing author info.
So small business owners shouldn’t look at their social media choices as “either / or” but “Google plus.”