Google’s Maile Ohye has published a new video (which has been designed for webmasters) on how to get started on Google+ for your business. There are a few standout features which I personally like about Google+, especially when compared with other social networks.
Now before we begin, let’s start with a brief overview of Google+ for those who might be new to it. Google+ essentially allows you to publically recommend and share businesses, websites and anything else you come across on the internet. You can share these things with your family, your friends and even your colleges. Once signed into Google, there are features in place which enable you to see the companies that your network has recommended.
I really love the Circles feature in Google+.
For example, when it comes to Facebook, I personally find that I like to keep it completely private by only really using it to keep in touch with friends and family. Now Twitter I use differently, I primarily use Twitter to follow people in my industry (SEO), mainly because I am genuinely interested in reading what they have to say.
With the Google+ circles feature, you are able to create different ‘levels of intimacy’ (as Maile aptly described them). What this means is that on a personal level, you have the control to share your information with specifically nominated groups of people. I absolutely love this feature, as to be 100% honest many of my friends are not interested in reading about SEO. Equally, the people I interact with in the SEO community, as well as my colleagues, do not want to constantly see pictures of my horses or hear about something irrelevant to them such as my friends getting married.
From a business perspective, Google+ is also an invaluable tool to utilise. The Google+ Circles feature allows you to tailor your information to target the most relevant people and market segments. For example, Google+ allows you to differentiate between your customers and your suppliers. You may then decide to segment these groups further if you only wanted to target a certain demographic.
I am a strong believer in less is more with social media. As I tend to follow a number of businesses I am interested in, I quite often notice that so many posts are so bland and uninteresting that more often than not I will either ignore them or get annoyed and stop following them completely. A feature such as Google+ allows you to be mindful when posting and prevent yourself from using a blanketed approach.
Research and Development
Ripples is a brilliant feature in Google+, one which is quite often underutilised. The Ripples feature essentially allows you to see a whole lot of interesting information AFTER you have made your post. While this may seem irrelevant to normal posters, this information is actually a goldmine to marketers and businesses owners.
By seeing pieces of information such as who has shared your posts, and what people are following them, you will soon be able to use this insightful tool to understand your market and realise the room for growth into potential new markets.
Demographics in Webmaster Tools
The Webmaster Tools feature in Google+ essentially works hand in hand with the Ripples feature, and is a godsend for many ecommerce websites. Your webmaster tools account will primarily show you all of the +1’s you have gained for your website.
The tools breaks down these +1’s into specific stats, which will be able to provide you with information on the age groups, genders, locations and which pages people have +1’d your page. This toll is absolutely fantastic for looking into your conversion rates, and seeing things like how one page is perhaps different to others (Maybe it is a product that you had not put enough emphasis on?). I think that is a blog post in itself and I will stop before I get carried away.
We know that Google+ was the fastest growing social network of all times. However, with Google continually rolling out their new features, such as the integration of maps into business profiles (which was a very clever and sneaky little trick), people are naturally going to be far more exposed to Google+.
From an SEO perspective, Maile has said in her video that you can ignore Google+ and it won’t affect your rankings; you should instead view it as an opportunity for your business. Personally I think it is going to rapidly become impossible to ignore.
I hope to hear what everyone else thinks!