February 9, 2012 Leave a comment
I’m not a big fan of Google+, the web search engine giant’s new Social Media tool. It tries to be an all-encompassing Social Media utility like Facebook while not offering anything unique that I find useful. And the numbers show that I’m not the only one who is reluctant to warm up to Google+: while a BrightEdge Survey in December found that while 61% of the top 100 brands in the United States had Google+ pages, none of those pages have more than the 65,000 fans of Google’s page. Contrast that with Facebook, where dozens of top brands have more than 1 million fans. Ford has 5 million fans on Facebook compared to only about 27,000 on Google +.
But businesses may have no choice to devote marketing resources to this still fledgling platform. And there are two key reasons why:
1. SEO and Google’s incorporation of Google+ results into its search results
Superior page rank in web search results is critical for businesses today. Consumers increasingly are turning to the web to obtain information, and the higher you are in search results, the better the chances of consumers finding you.
Google is using this fact to its advantage by, according to Huffington Post, incorporating Google+ pages into its search results. Its search algorithm will now recommend Google+ pages for you to look at based on your search and web browsing history.
This makes good business sense for Google – by making its social media platform appear more prominently in its own search results, it can drive people to Google+ pages. Even if they don’t adopt the tool themselves (and some will adopt it upon seeing the pages), they’re still going to view the pages. And the consequence for businesses is that they then have to use Google+ – and use it thoroughly – to maximize their SEO.
2. Google’s powerful brand
When we think of web search engines, we think of Google. It is the most popular web search engine; I personally rarely use any others. But the Google brand portfolio now includes email, document storage and writing, a financial information product, a now-defunct health product and, of course, the Google+ Social Media product.
Given the size and influence of the Google brand, it stands to reason that more consumers will look to Google+ as a source of information and that adoption will continue to increase even if Google does nothing to improve the product.
In a perfect world, Google would do more to improve Google+ and use a better product to drive more adoption by businesses and consumers. But for the reasons above, consumers will flock there regardless of the quality of the product. While businesses may not want to devote increasingly scarce resources to a Social Media tool they consider to be inferior to others, reality says they may not have a choice.