Five Reasons Why Google+ Matters
While Google+ has gotten a bit more attention from search marketers lately, my experience is that it is thought of by brands (at best) as a secondary priority behind social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. This is largely because those networks’ referral traffic and user engagement are better than what’s delivered by Google+. However, brands would be wise to not neglect Google+, by valuing the platform as a SEM and SEO investment as much as a social network. Google+ can enhance a brand’s search presence in five ways:
- Studies (1) and (2) show that the number of Google +1s correlate to organic search ranking success more than any other social media factor (such as Facebook Likes, shares or comments). This makes sense when we note that Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has said “The social signal, the people you ‘hang with’ is actually a ranking signal”.
- Participation in Google+ allows brands to take advantage of Authorship and Authorship’s little headshots next to your organic ranking gets it noticed more than those without – resulting in as much as 150% improvement in click through.
- Google+ brand profiles and posts show up in the right column for brand searches. Think of these Google+ placements like a free paid ad and the value of Google+ becomes more obvious.
- Personalized natural search results mean friends’ Google+ posts, and markup for how many friends have +1ed an item alter natural search results. Think about Google+ as a layer on organic/natural search instead of thinking of it as a social network alone.
- Through Google AdWords Social Extensions, Google +1 annotations appear next to paid advertisements and lift click through rates by 5-10%. Searchers are more likely to trust a product or service others have vouched for through Google+.
There are other “non-social” reasons to value Google+ (like posts’ ability to pass page rank through links) but our overall position is that the value of Google+ is that it functions as a cross-channel data “layer” Google uses within paid and organic results. Those looking to fund Google+ projects should track cross-channel KPIs like improved Google organic rankings, increased Google organic traffic and improved SEM/SEO click through rates as a complement to metrics like G+ network engagement and referral revenue.