I will be the first to admit that Google+ is not the easiest site to use — at least until you get the hang of it. I didn’t get it at first and thought it was clunky and not very useful. A lot has changed since Google+ first rolled out and I’m really glad I stuck with it. There have been vast improvements to the UI and it’s now much easier to use and understand.
There also happen to be around 540 million Google+ users now, not an insignificant number. This is Google we’re talking about here so it’s pretty safe to assume that number is not going to stop growing any time soon!
Besides booming membership growth here are 4 reasons marketers are totally nuts not to be using Google+ in 2014.
1. Google Authorship – When you see an author’s face next to an article in Google search results it’s because of Google Authorship. Anyone can do this it just requires a Google+ account and that you link your profile to the content you write. Besides inflating your ego every time you see your mug next to something you wrote, there is real value to it. It helps establish your personal brand and builds your authority. Research has also shown that having the authorship markup increases click through rates. So why not do it?
2. SEO – I don’t care if Matt Cutts says Google doesn’t use +1′s in their search algorithm. He also says social signals in general don’t count but there is so much evidence to the contrary that it’s not really believable. Regardless, there are other benefits we know about for a fact. If one of your followers on Google+ does a search while logged into their account they will see your Google Plus posts in their search results. A post that doesn’t rank normally may be in your followers first page search results. That means the more followers you have on Google+ the more potential exposure you have both on the network itself and in search results.
3. High Post Engagement – I consistently get higher post engagement on Google Plus than on Facebook. That is even more so the case now given Facebook’s recent News Feed algorithm changes. Only a tiny percentage of your Facebook audience sees your posts now. Facebook wants you to pay money through Promoted Posts to reach a wider audience. Google+ does not do that. Also, Google Plus allows post formatting so you can style your posts to gain even more attention!
4. Communities – If I had to pick just one feature of Google+ as the most valuable it would hands down be Communities. Become an active participant in groups related to your field. The fastest way to gain new followers and get exposure to your content is through Communities. Comment on and +1 other people’s articles you find interesting and contribute your own posts. There is a huge amount of engagement going on in Communities and there is no reason you should not be part of the conversation.
At the end of the day the more exposure you have the better. I’m not arguing that you should stop using Facebook or any other network, but you should definitely take Google Plus seriously and make it a real part of your marketing strategy.
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