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On June 28, 2011, Google launched a new social network called Google+ (Google Plus). At the time of this writing, it’s been entertaining humanity’s desire to add people to social “circles” for 21 days and has amassed over 10 million users (some estimates put Google+ at over 20 million users). Given that it took Facebook about two years to reacha similar user base, the growth rate of Google+ looks like an early indicator of success.

In order to achieve and maintain digital relevance, it is essential that web sites and brands make similar efforts to engage socially online with their visitors and clients. Considering Google+’s staggering growth rate and what that may mean for search, the CLASS practitioners here at Slingshot SEO have a few general observations and recommendations for clients.

    Google+ is just for individuals – for now

Observation: At the time of this writing, there is no official way for a business to create a Google+ page. And, for the time being, Google will even delete accounts it identifies as businesses. However, it plans to launch a business-oriented update to Google+ before the end of the year and it is currently in beta testing.

Google+ Takes Off

Recommendation: Join Google+ for individuals and familiarize yourself with the interface and Google+ specific features; e.g., circles, hangouts, etc. Be prepared to make a decision about whether or not to incorporate Google+ for business into your social marketing mix.

    Deploy the Google+ “plus 1” button strategically

Observation: Page load speed is a confirmed ranking factor and social buttons slow down web pages. Share, Retweet, Stumble, etc., and now Google “plus 1” buttons increase the load time of web pages.

Recommendation: Make every effort to speed up your web site before implementing social buttons; e.g, set cache dates, compress resources, etc. After optimizing your site for speed, the decrease in page speed brought on by social buttons is then a reasonable trade off for the potential increase in social conversions. Finally, deploy social buttons like Google “plus 1” strategically and on content that is subjectively “shareable” like blog posts, infographics, and press releases.

    Talk about Google+ in your marketing meetings

Observation: Deserving brands have content that can be shared socially. Google has direct access to the signals surrounding Google+ and the content contained within. Social signals like the ones found in and surrounding Google+ have been shown to contribute to the indexation and discovery of content by search engine spiders.

Recommendation: Future-proof your brand’s SEO strategy by keeping up with new digital signals. Talk about these signals with your marketing team and specifically make sure your team understands how to incorporate Google+ into your content promotion strategy. Start “plussin” your content on Google+.

Typically, Slingshot SEO remains platform agnostic when it comes to social; i.e., at this point, no platform is absolutely critical to obtaining digital relevance valued by search engines. However, with Google’s most recent entry into the social platform space, Google+, it is Slingshot SEO’s view that every digital marketing professional should understand the features and benefits of the platform in regard to achieving and maintaing digital relevance. In short term, continue to engage current and potential customers on social platforms were they are present and don’t be surprised if Google+ signals will one day impact search algorithms.

 

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Phil Golobish

Phil Golobish

Director of Search Media: Placement & Promotion at digitalrelevance
Phil Golobish is VP of Client Services at digitalrelevance and an avid adventure traveler.
Phil Golobish
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General SEO, Social Media | 3 Comments

3 thoughts on “Google+: What We’re Telling Clients

  1. Hiya, Phil! Great blog post! I’m positive that Google’s +1 will have an eventual impact on their algorithm, but only to a certain extent (for now). My guess is that the average Google Plus user (someone outside the wondrous world of SEO) isn’t going to +1 a retail outlet they casually visit from time to time. They’re going to treat that +1 like a facebook “LIKE.” Why would they waste their “like” or “+1″ on a business when they can share a funny LOLCat with their friends? They’re not thinking “Oh, I’m going to alter Google’s algorithm.” They’re thinking “I really want to share this because I like it!” Before I entered the arena of SEO, social networking was purely entertainment for me. I never used it to research people I link built for or for industry trends. I was a goofball. Still am, actually! =)

    Now, I have a question: How is “Plussing” going to incorporate itself into our industry? I would think that Google would catch on to us “plussing” a client’s site over and over again. It wouldn’t seem “natural” or “organic” — which happens to be Google’s thing and YOUR thing. =) So what do we do if we start to see changes in the algorithm? Will we start incorporating our links into blog articles that we then “+1″ or advertise for others to “+1?” The reason I ask is because content still appears to be THE prime factor in SEO. Whether it’s photos, videos, blog posts or forums, content and human interaction go hand-in-hand.

  2. So when will there be a backlash against the likes of Google and Facebook. People searching and posting on their platforms are just enabling both of these giants to become bigger. Is there likely to be a correction and movement away from Google and Facebook in the next 2-3 years?

  3. The growth rate of Google Plus compared to FB doesnt point to it being a success at all. The first 2 years FB was only open to .edu emails I would be curious what the stats are once FB was opened up. I agree with your platform agnostic approach though.

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