Here’s a warning to companies looking to bolster their SEO and social media footprint: Google+ is not ready for you… yet.
However, Google+’s lead spokesperson, Christian Oestlien, touted the acceleration of its Google+ for business platform yesterday:
“A few weeks ago we mentioned we would be doing a test of business profiles and asked people interested to apply. Believe it or not we actually had tens of thousands of businesses, charities, and other organizations apply … Your enthusiasm obligates us to do more to get businesses involved in Google+ … As a result, we have refocused a few priorities and we expect to have an initial version of businesses profiles up and running for EVERYONE in the next few months.”
In the interim, Google will continue to disable company profiles that were established using regular (consumer) Google+ profiles.
Google+’s meteoric growth over the last three weeks has astonished pundits and the tech-savvy alike, leaving businesses anxious to ride a possible new tidal wave of search and social media opportunity. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google+ has reached 20 million+ users in three weeks, further validating Google’s biggest attempt at social networking to date and the Blue Ocean Strategy used to reduce the market share of their competitors.
As we await the official launch of the Google+ business platform, here are five ways Google+ could impact search and social marketing:
1. Unknown: Okay, this might be cheating, but we are certain that there are a lot of uncertainties with Google+ because it’s so dynamic. There is no magic crystal ball for Google+. Foremost, businesses should recognize that new Google+ features are arising almost every day, and we do not yet know what is coming next or its ultimate impact on the search and social world. Recent Google+ changes have ranged from bug fixes to enhanced features for Circles and Huddles, and we’ve been promised that more are soon to come.
Given Google+ imminent launch of its business profile platform, and its anticipated connection to features such as Google Analytics and AdWords, the only sure thing is that the possibilities are endless.
2) Better SERP Quality: A clear benefit of Google+ is that it will improve search results quality and further discourage black hat SEO and spam. Google will now be able to monitor more closely who has an authentic profile or who may be a spammer, and then watch how these individuals attempt to influence search results. If they observe a profile only sharing and voting for things off one site and nothing else, they will know who to counter the influence of.
3) Enhanced Google Operating Intelligence: Google will now have an even clearer view of how individual users share and discuss things on the web, as they mine and review a seemingly never-ending stream of data to make search work better. Expect the world of search to change more radically and less incrementally, as Google won’t be afraid to shift their ranking algorithms more dramatically in the future – away from their old back links analysis – because they’re no longer impressed by their own sunk costs.
Google’s stock and revenues continue to skyrocket, and in Google+ itself, Google has a huge new sunk cost that they expect to pay off. Not only will Google be able to observe trends and what people are interested faster than ever before, but now they can see which of your contacts are most important to you, and how they affect your behavior.
4) The + 1 Button – Changing How You Receive Your Traffic: Google’s recent launch of the +1 button, which is a concept similar to a Share button, Facebook “Like” or Tweet.
The +1 buttons appear in Google SERPs, your Google+ stream and can also be embedded on other websites, as well.
Just like a Tweet, +1s are tied to a destination page address, and the +1 count that is displayed in each location is based on the address of this page, which could affect how you design your site.
If you’re creating landing pages for PPC campaigns, and your pages have several iterations, all of the +1 votes that your business receives will be broken down separately for each page address. Thus, every time you relocate a page or change the address of something, you will be resettling the +1 count for that page.
5) Better Click-Through Rates: Another key measure of SEO success stories are click-through rates, or how often people who see you on their results page actually click on your page in the results. The impetus behind +1 votes is that if you can see the distinguished popularity of certain results, or you observe that a page is particularly good, you can have that information available to you without even clicking into the site.
For example, you will be able to automatically see that hundreds of people have already reviewed and found a particular page useful before you even click onto that page. By immediately observing that a page has already been found useful and favorable by others (vis-à-vis its high +1 count), it will encourage other searchers to click on this “good” page and disregard others that are not as popular. (And marketers will be able to track the influence of +1 on traffic to their content pages thanks to new social metrics in Google Analytics.)
As Google+ presents new opportunities for consumer engagement and content distribution, marketers should get on board sooner rather than later. Even as the full effects of Google+ on the search and social markets remain to be seen, it’s clear that the consumer interest is there and the potential is strong. Early adopters stand to gain.