How Google+ Has Become an Indispensible Part of Internet Marketing Plans
Since the beta-test version was first launched in June 20111, Google+ has aroused a lot of speculation about its place in the social networks. After the initial buzz generated good membership growth, it has slowed down considerably, and Facebook is still increasing its users at a faster pace than Google’s pet project. But there has always been more to Google+ than just a social network to compete with Facebook, and Google has always intended it to be the focal point for all of their increasingly integrated services. With only around 45 million users at the beginning of 2012, Google doubled their membership overnight by creating Google+ profiles for all of their Gmail users2, and began to integrate the data on Google+ in their personalized search results3. The integrations have continued on a regular basis with Google Places business listings becoming Google+ Local pages4, and YouTube becoming Google’s only video platform with the axing of Google Videos5.
The main result of integrating all of these services has been that Google is now able to produce more personalized search results for users that sign in using their Google+ profile6. The search results will include Google+ comments that are relevant to their search from their friends’ Google+ pages, as well as produce results based on previous personal preferences. While it is still possible to use Google’s search engine without signing in to your Google+ profile, more and more people will want to take advantage of the more integrated Internet services that Google is offering. This makes Google+ a much more important social network as it not only continues to grow its user numbers, but at the same time, expanding its reach. Even if they aren’t looking at their Google+ news feed many users will be signed into their Google+ accounts for most of their time online, making this network a vital part of every Internet marketing strategy.
The most significant integration for businesses is the creation of Google+ Local pages that has replaced its Google Places business listings. These pages now incorporate the Zagat restaurant review system that Google purchased in September 2011, which has been slated for expansion into other areas of business review. Because of the way that consumers are using search as a part of their purchasing process now, it is vital to be easy to find in Google’s SERPs, and Google ranks its own Google+ Local pages ahead of its competition, like Yellow Pages. In addition, a search user whose friends have commented on a business on Google+ will see those comments in his Knowledge Graph7, creating a personalized review for them to consider.
As Google continues to streamline its services, Google+ will grow in importance as it becomes the nexus of a large number of the most popular online activities. Having some sort of interaction with many of Google’s commercial services, like Google Shopping, will become indispensible to businesses that are engaged in search marketing. As users become more used to Google’s new Knowledge Graph feature and start to bypass the full list of search results, businesses that have the most complete Google+ profiles will be the ones that attract the most direct traffic from the SERPs. With 96% of Google’s $37.9 billion in revenue in 2011 coming from search advertising8, Google will continue to focus on improving marketing opportunities for its commercial customers. This will make it the most sensible base for many businesses to operate their Internet marketing strategies from. If you would like to take full advantage of the developing opportunities that are offered by Google’s integrated business services, contact Infintech Designs to get started using the most comprehensive online marketing platform available.