Google+: A Sign of the Social Times
Even Google has gone social. Have you?
When one of the Internet’s top innovators starts getting social the way Google has with Google+, it reinforces the fact that the growing social aspects of the web are important for brands and can’t be ignored.
While the chatter surrounding Google+ is mostly about whether or not it represents competition for Facebook, I think its potential effect on search is far more compelling.
Google is the world’s most powerful search engine, and Google+ will eventually affect click throughs and conversions for organic and paid search. And while the number of +1s a page or ad has doesn’t currently affect search engine results, Google says it could in the future. To find out how to take advantage of +1 for organic search, visit this Google blog post. For paid search, visit this Adwords blog post.
The Google+ social network is undergoing a limited launch, currently by invitation only. It promises to offer functionality similar to Facebook with a profile page that can connect to friends and contacts in what Google calls your Circle. It also has some other cool features like their Hangout video chat, Huddle group texting and superior media integration.
So, if your brand is currently succeeding on Facebook, it is probably a good time to put Google+ on your watch list. (It’s not yet open to business profiles, but certainly will be at some point if it wants to compete with Facebook.)
You’ll also want to stay up to date with Google+ developments in organic and paid search, even if you aren’t interested in using it as a social network. In the same way product recommendations shared on Facebook and consumer reviews have had huge effects on sales and brand loyalty, seeing a +100 next to one search result and a +2 beside another will certainly affect which link searchers click on, and may even have a residual effect on their desire to purchase from your brand.
So, add a quest for +1s to your pursuit of friends, fans, and followers. Google just became socially relevant.