Google + Leaps Forward By Integrating Most Used Social and Search Features
Google + has been growing, little by little. At first, it was a ghost town and, to be honest, a bit of a disappointment. Then word started getting around that Google + Your World was going to influence search results, so a good many SEO savvy individuals and agencies jumped on board. They created profiles which they posted to regularly for the first week or two, then occasionally for the next month, before dropping the whole thing. Some of the more creative, non-mac users out there continued to use it.
Next, Google rehashed the appearance (mainly the UI) of G+, a lot of previous users dropped by to check it out. It was a marked improvement which was discussed briefly by all the interactive and new media types. Then it was once again dropped. Now Google adds “Local” to the mix, effectively integrating the former Google Places into G+.
Do They Know What They Are Doing?
At first, Google seemed to only have a vague idea about how to execute G+. However, we saw the concept grow to its present state which includes Local. Local promises to be the thing that starts to tie it all together and will bring an influx of very desperately needed users.
Why Should We Care?
Isn’t this going to flop like the last couple of tries? Not likely. Google has brought in all of the features of Google Places, including reviews, links to websites, pictures of the company or business, links, and more. More importantly, the interface is something that Yelp and Urbanspoon wish they’d thought of. It’s clean, sharp, easy to navigate, and because it is now tied in with G+, is perfectly integrated into Google’s search. As business owners and individuals who will likely use these new profile pages, we care because Google is actually making something better.
For most of us, not much. It’s going to take a little time before Google Plus is widely adopted by the average user. However, the people who should be taking note are ad and marketing agencies. The implications this has for SEO, brand management, reputation management and more are not fully fleshed out and it’s going to be a race to see who can set the standards for utilizing this new feature to it’s fullest potential. As I tried to add users to my circles, I noticed that a lot of the larger agencies that are active on Twitter or LinkedIn don’t have profiles on G+, despite the fact that many of their employees do. It will be interesting to see which agencies come out on top and figure out how best to leverage G+ for the benefit of their customers. For now, I’d recommend hopping on G+, putting together a profile or page if you don’t already have one, and laying claim to your Google Local listing if you are a business. Pay close attention here, the social media landscape may be on the verge of a huge shift in Google’s favor, particularly from a marketing perspective.