SEO will improve Google+ Engagement and Traffic
When I first encountered Google+, I ultimately tried to downplay the importance of Google’s new social network. I even became frustrated when I saw infographics and metrics stating its rapid growth in comparison to Facebook and Twitter. It’s not a new brand people!
I setup my Google+ profile and after 30 days of posting and playing around, I abandon my profile and the network, turning my focus back to Facebook (where my friends are engaged) and Twitter (where the content is.)
And then the long awaited (second?) announcement for Google+ for business came. Naturally, with my role of managing a social media and reputation management team I was asked for my input on its impact and role in a client strategy.
Utilizing my personal business (www.NorthCityAAU.com) I started a Google+ business page. It was very simple with few features to customize the look and feel. Yes, you can create a more customized look like Pepsi below, but it is still in its infancy stages compared to Facebook’s user experience.
However, it was my experience with the review industry that led me to believe that SEO will drive engagement and traffic for Google+ pages. Recently, Google made changes to include their Google Places reviews in the main search result for branded terms, stripping out third party companies from their review aggregate. For businesses that have a presence on Google Places, the SERP would look something like this; website, sitelinks, then their Google Places page.
With this change, they have effectively given their reviews more importance and visibility than any other review based site.
This leads us to my prediction of Google+ integration with branded searches and the increased visibility, and subsequent increase in traffic of a Google+ business page. Google controls the result and essentially nothing stopping them from showing ALL networks (Google Places, Google+, etc.) when someone searches for a branded term. Furthermore, even if they don’t place the Google+ page in the first result, they can find ways to bring attention to that result, similar to how they are currently treating Google+ profile pages for name searches.
You will notice below that Google has supplied an image to differentiate between Facebook and Twitter. My guess is that over time Google+ profiles will rank higher than Facebook/Twitter and generate more traffic.
Sure, they need to make sure the Google+ business page is valid and displaying relevant content but as you can see above with Pepsi (and their 15K followers) they are already well on their way.
Yes, people will continue to search for businesses and organizations on Facebook but let me break down the search impact on showing up at the top of a branded search result. According to Google’s Adwords tool that displays Global Monthly searches, the term “Pepsi” is searched on Google an estimated 3.5 million times per month! A few opportunities to capture eyeballs on their Google+ business page wouldn’t you say?
Now the catch is ensuring visitors from the searches are engaged and impressed by what they see on these Google+ business pages. This leads to a focus on content and user experience of Google’s social network. I anticipate that businesses will see the traffic impact and put more emphasis into their Google+ page, thus increasing quality of content and a better experience for Google+ users.
Will users abandon Facebook and Twitter? Probably not, but with first page visibility, the opportunity is there….ripe for the picking.