Google recently announced it would be shutting down its social media platform, Google+, in response to the discovery of a data-exposing bug they hid from consumers. The bug allowed third-party developers to access the personal data of nearly half a million users dating back to 2015.
All of this comes on the heels of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica controversy, which led the internet giant’s decision to hide the data breach from its users because it feared a slew of regulations and damage to its reputation.
Many of you may be asking yourself “who cares?” and that’s a totally understandable question. Google+ launched in 2011 but, despite reaching 10 million users in its first two weeks, failed to reach the popularity of other social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.
Despite this, Google+ offered advantages to active users which reflected in Google’s search engine algorithm, making it a powerful tool for businesses and marketers.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a practice marketers use to increase their business’ rankings in search results in Google, Yahoo, or other search engines. Understandably, having a higher ranking results in more clicks to your website which leads to more sales.
How Google+ affects SEO
- Posting links from your website to Google+ led to faster indexing. This means Google was able to find your page more quickly allowing it to appear in searches faster than if you hadn’t posted it to Google+.
- Getting people to +1 your links improves search rankings. Much like how getting likes and shares on Facebook will increase your post’s reach across that platform, getting “likes” on Google+ increases the likeliness people will find your page searching with Google.
- The people in your circles directly affect your search results. Why does this matter? The more people who follow you, the more likely they are to find your website when searching on Google.
Why is Google+ important for self-publishing authors?
Many authors have probably never considered using Google+ to market their book. That’s understandable considering how few people actually use the program. However, with the millions of books published, getting your book to stand out among the sea of titles is hard and using every tool available to help get your work in front of people is a necessity.
Whether you’re trying to get people to your website to help improve your mailing lists or sending them directly to Amazon or Barnes and Noble to buy your book, using Google+ is a tool to help you achieve that goal. While I can understand Google’s decision, to help protect its users, this is a big blow to marketers.
I haven’t seen anything about Google’s plan for Google+ or a future social media platform after the shutdown. They obviously know the importance their product played for marketers, so I hope they’ll consider relaunching Google+ after they get the bugs worked out or launch a new, better, product. I suppose time will tell.
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