3 Reasons Marketers Are Crazy to Be Happy About Google+'s Demise

sashattuck
Steven Shattuck VP of Marketing, Bloomerang

Posted on May 1st 2014

3 Reasons Marketers Are Crazy to Be Happy About Google+'s Demise

Image"Good riddance." "About time." "It wasn't dead already?"

The "Google+ is Walking Dead" rumor mill is in full force, and many social "pros" are celebrating the demise of Google's much-maligned social network. But are these feelings somewhat misguided?

Here are three reasons why you would have to be crazy to be happy about Google+ going away:

1. You were never using it correctly in the first place

As marketers, characterizing Google+ as a social network was the first step towards misappropriating the tool for what it truly was. Those who simply treated it as another news feed in which to passively post promotional updates and articles were often the ones characterizing it as a "ghost town" where engagement and referral traffic was impossible to generate.

Google+'s real value was always found in it's unique platform features: authorship attribution (personal profiles), Hangouts and GMail integration. Marketers could (and still can) use Google+ as a powerful authority engine, collaboration platform and content creation tool. They could even deliver content right to their followers inboxes, rather than relying solely on newsfeed visibility.

If you're bemoaning a lack of ROI on your efforts while treating Google+ as just another Facebook or Twitter, you failed the network. Not the other way around.

2. The SEO benefits were tremendous

The impact of Google +1s and their amazing correlation (not causation) with higher search rankings have been widely studied. 

As Cyrus Shepard at Moz has reported:

  • Posts are crawled and indexed almost immediately
  • Google+ posts pass link equity
  • Google+ is optimized for semantic relevance

I would seriously question the sanity of any marketer who happily waves goodbye to Google+ rather than lamenting the loss of an enourmous asset to SEO efforts.

While the death of Google+ wouldn't necesarily mean the death of the +1 button, it would impact the abilty to generate new +1s and shares.

Furthermore, Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, has implicitly stated that Twitter and Facebook social signals are not used to rank pages. Combine that with the fact that Facebook organic reach has diminished considerably over the past year, and it's quite curious as to why anyone would celebrate the death of Google+.

3. It's probably not going away

While articles declaring the death of Google+ are spreading like wildire, it's important to trace the (mostly unsubstantiated) rumors back to their source. At this point, every subsquent article published is simply referencing a previous rumor as fact.

Considering how ingrained Google+ is to the fabric of so many other Google products, it's importance to authorship attribution, and the fact that they are actively releasing new features (see +Post ads - 4/25/14), it's highly unlikely that Google would simply scrap the network altogether.

“Today’s news has no impact on our Google+ strategy — we have an incredibly talented team that will continue to build great user experiences across Google+, Hangouts and Photos.”

For Google to simply wave the white flag in Facebook's direction would be monumental in its scope and send unprecedented shockwaves throughout the industry.

Image

While Google+ definitely has some work to do on its UX, the platform in general is a nearly indispensable member of the digital marketer's toolkit. So why be happy to see it go?

What do you think? Is Google+ truly going away? Are you happy or sad? Let me know in the comments below!

img via

sashattuck

Steven Shattuck

VP of Marketing, Bloomerang

Steven Shattuck is VP of Marketing at Bloomerang, which helps nonprofit organizations to reach, engage and retain the advocates they depend on to achieve their vision for a better world.

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Comments

Eva Gantz
Posted on April 30th 2014 at 6:10AM

Agreed—Google+ isn't going anywhere, and besides, why would we want it to die? People are sometimes just slow to accept new things, and Google+ is no exception.

Neil Licht
Posted on May 1st 2014 at 5:57PM

I'm fairly savvy about online marketing tools and I could never really understand what Google + could do for the acquiring paying customers process. In fact, I have yet to figure out what it does at all.

From what I've read, I'm a majority opinion. Dead??? How about it never lived.

If all it did was up your search-being found-rankings, then why not simply say so. Other than that, after so long, Google+ is a mystery to many and therefore, can fail without a whimper of sorrow.

I'm astounded that Google never really tried to teach everyone what Google+ is and how best to use it to accomplish specific goals. Its far from intuitive re managing what you get as notices, emails, anything that relates to the specifics you want from participating.

Great idea? Not the way it was rolled out and not the way it assumes its own value will be perceived, understood and the difficulty of navigating it deemed worthwhile.  

MinterDial
Posted on May 2nd 2014 at 10:02AM

I've been and remain a big supporter of Google+. I wish there were a way to understand directly from the horse's mouth their direction. They seem to have been the masters of seeding their own doubt. The bevvy of recent rumor mills has certainly put greater doubt in the minds of marketers and executives. If people didn't get G+ before, it's become even murkier now.  

What's for sure is that some of the functionality within G+ is stellar (hangout, photos,...). The SEO overlay is undeniably interesting for user and marketer alike. 

Hopefully, Google will provide some strong sense of direction going forward!

Carver Koch
Posted on May 5th 2014 at 10:06PM

I don't think it's going anywhere either. I will say though, at least in my experience, I was often annoyed by signing up for it and signing clients up for it. Determining whether clients already had a gmail, or had to make one or already had a plus account but didn't remember. All that was never easy to deal with! I preferred pre-plus though.