Is Google+ done and dusted? News from the past couple of weeks indicates Google+ is on its way out. With the latest news that Google Places API drops Google+ URLS from their business listings, all signs point towards one tragic fate: Google+ is on its last legs.
How did it come to this?
If you remember the launch, you’ll know Google+ was initially forecasted to be the social media channel to take over the world, but why? Essentially it was down to the brand name and Google’s domination over the Internet. Google+ made no solid attempt to communicate to any of the general public. Without the masses, brands had no one to talk to. For a while, Google forced Google+ onto all of its users, but this short-cut attempt at building an audience offered no value and subsequently built no relationship with the community.
This failure can act as a lesson to all marketers - you will need much more than a strong brand name to succeed in the world of social media.
What about SEO?
One of the reasons Google+ has endured for this long is because of the benefits a Google+ profile held for search engine results. Long after anyone was hoping to get any kind of valuable engagement on the channel, brands hung around. The analogy we have been using for Google+ is “The King has a special project”. We’ve advised clients to humour King Google by supporting his new hobby and reaping the incentives he posts for reward.
Google+ was once essential to successful SEO rankings but now SEO experts all over the world say this is no longer the case. In Brand Newsroom episode 59, the Brand Newsroom team interviewed James Dillon, content manager from Gorilla 360. When asked about his take on Google+, his opinions were clear:
“Over the last 12 to 24 months, Google has been slowly reducing the impact of Google+ content in terms of their search results and rankings. So now, more than ever, Google+ is less relevant in terms of Google’s Search algorithm… You don’t need to be on Google+ to be getting search engine results”
James Dillon isn’t the only SEO expert who believes this is the case. Every two years one of the most respected authority sources on search engine opitimisation, Moz, surveys dozens of the most brilliant search marketers all over the world and runs correlation studies to better understand the operation of search engine algorithms. The most recent of these studies was published in August. It showed that although social signals used to be the second most influential factor in search engine rankings, they now rank ninth in the line-up.
Is there any hope?
According to Dillon, Google+ shouldn’t completely be off the cards for every business.
“There’s a lot of warrant for a Google+ page in terms of local business results. So if you have a bricks-and-mortar store, or a restaurant, or a shop, a lot of times it’s still important to have a Google+ page because that can help with your local search results”.
Additionally, many marketers are speculating Google may have more in store for the platform before it officially becomes extinct. Much of this speculation is purely related to the Google name, as consumers expect a level of innovation and strategic direction from the firm.
For now, most brands can afford to lay off their Google+ posting. As always, businesses need to keep an eye on the ever-changing social media climate to stay ahead of the game with their online presence. If your brand needs help keeping up to date with the latest digital trends, contact Lush Digital Media. We help brands of all shapes and sizes create a strategic online presence.