Google+: Social Epic Fail, SEO Epic Win

Nick R
Nick Renna Social Media Coordinator, Lessing's Inc.

Posted on May 15th 2012

Google+: Social Epic Fail, SEO Epic Win


            What an incredible journey, we’ll call it, when it comes to Google+.

            Before Google+ was released, it was noted to be the “Facebook Killer.” But, deep down inside we all knew that it was going to fail. Facebook is, and for a long time will be, the social media king.

           So Google+ was released and I made an account. I found it to be, well, rather confusing. Circles are interesting but I’d rather just have a big pile of friends and call it a day. Navigating between pages wasn’t exactly the easiest thing to do and it seemed as though it wasn’t as “smooth” as Facebook.

             It was almost like they rushed it out of production. As a community manager in an online marketing firm, I am responsible for posting on clients Google+ pages. Each post is designed to be engaging and to provoke feedback. However, even with a decent amount of fans we are still not seeing much of a response. Nobody uses it.

             As a social media platform, it is an epic fail.

             However, as far as SEO goes Google+ has greatly influenced the results of its searches. By logging into your Google+ account, any pages or anyone in your circles has a higher chance of popping up in the “related people/pages” bar when you search in Google. Google is ranking its pages and people higher when they create a Google+ account. Whether you’re searching for a wedding dress or an iPhone case, searches are influenced because of your Google+ account.

           So as far as SEO goes, it’s a great way for anyone to increase one’s online presence. As long you post, according to research, at least within 72 hours of each post you should rank higher in searches pertaining to you or your page. Make sure to optimize your page for increased exposure and higher SEO rankings.

           Regardless of whether or not Google+ was a success or a fail, we all know it will not take down the great Facebook goliath. It will only be a matter of time when Facebook implements a very advanced search engine into its own platform. My guess is that Bing will be the mastermind behind those rankings.

             Get ranking, get social, have fun!


Nick R

Nick Renna

Social Media Coordinator, Lessing's Inc.

Social Media Guru, Nick works for Lessing's Inc as the Social Media Cooridinator. Currently enrolled at St. Joseph's College for his MBA, Nick hopes to apply the skills he learns about business and marketing into the realm of social media marketing.

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Denise Gabbard
Posted on May 15th 2012 at 3:30PM

Absolutely, the "Face-Bing" search engine is coming, and Google will definitely have its hands full then. 

In the meantime, Google is still King, and the more we pander to their authority, the better we do in search rankings. I have noticed blog posts that I share on Google+ popping up on the top of searches for very competitive keywords, so we definitely get a little more leverage by sharing on G+! 

Nick R
Posted on May 16th 2012 at 9:50AM

Denise, I am greatly looking forward to the day when Face-Bing gets revealed. Should be wild and crazy!

Thanks for your comments!

James Bloomfield
Posted on May 15th 2012 at 3:41PM

Google+ was the single greatest data harvest in modern social media. A fantastic way of acquiring new information from emails to phone numbers, as well as reacquainting lapsed users of Gmail and Docs with the brand. Its provided them with superior data for refining and turbocharging their main platform - Google Search! 

Whether this was their intention or not, it has ultimately served the company very nicely indeed. 

Adam Robinson
Posted on May 15th 2012 at 10:25PM

Great point James! 

Nick R
Posted on May 16th 2012 at 9:49AM

Absolutely right! Google in general can "harvest" as you said, an unbeliebable amount on information and has served the company well. Too bad as a social media platform, it wasn't what they expected it to be!

Thanks for your comments, it was much appreciated!

David Amerland
Posted on May 16th 2012 at 3:11AM

Nick, an interesting article, not least because it does predict a direction in developments regarding Facebook and BING which the industry has been hearing rumours about for some time now. 

Quite accurately, you analyze the impact G+ has had on search rankings and indexing. It has changed the face of SEO considerably and will continue to do so with the upcoming semantic search due around the end of this year. In terms of engagement however you are making some assumptions which are fundamentally flawed. Successful engagement always hinges on permission marketing. Within the Facebook environment people give you a certain degree of permission to market to them by joining your page and are therefore connected. You will then get some engagement though just about every metric we have coming out of there shows that: 

  • Engagement within Facebook's environment lacks depth
  • Facebook pages fail to turn fans into paying customers
  • Facebook angagement has resisted quantification into brand benefits
  • Major companies (General Motors is the latest) are abandoning Facebook advertising.

In terms of how you are trying to use G+ Twitter would be a good analogy and my guess is that you do not get much engagegement there either. 

The latest RJ Metrics study which calls (again) G+ a "ghost town" is scientifically flawed. The challenge which every community manager is facing within an active social media environment and G+ redefined the context and breadth of that, is how to create engagement through content marketing. Crucial to thsi is adopting a new tone and voice. Broadcasting the same, traditional, top-down message to the "masses" and using Google Plus as yet another mass broadcast platform is entirely the wrong approach to take and you will find that the medium is as resistant to it as your marketing efforts indicate.

Incidentally at no point in its explanation of Google Plus did Google ever refer to its social platform as a direct competitor to Facebook. The term "Facebook Killer" was coined by the Press which does not understand social platform functionality and social graph vs interest graph nuances.



Nick R
Posted on May 16th 2012 at 9:12AM

Thanks for your reply! It's great to hear everyone's opinion on the topic. 

Posted on May 17th 2012 at 12:18AM

Google+ can not be in the family of facebook because of its complecationa and this is not that much user friendly as the facebook is.But as far as SEO is concern this will help a lot.

Nick R
Posted on May 17th 2012 at 1:32PM

Agreed! Thanks for your comments!

Deborah Latham-White
Posted on May 17th 2012 at 6:41PM

I have seen the preview of Face-Bing-now that is truly social in its concept.

Google+ is rather boring to me as a user.  I like being able to connect with people on smaller scale but there is something about the design that just not promote interaction between people.

Nick R
Posted on May 18th 2012 at 1:24PM

Agreed! It is boring, isn't it? I think it is a love it or hate it kind of thing.


Posted on May 18th 2012 at 11:11AM

Sorry to be so harsh, but this is getting ridiculous. Think a little bigger. I posted a rebuttal: Another Idiot Predicts the Demise of Google+

Nick R
Posted on May 18th 2012 at 1:24PM

Looks like I hit a sore spot with you. Oops.


Posted on May 18th 2012 at 1:39PM

I'm sorry, Nick, that was harsh and I changed my title afterward. I am critical of your point of view but didn't need to be so personal. Chat more again...

Nick R
Posted on May 18th 2012 at 4:03PM

No worries, thanks for the apologies. Keep on posting and sharing!


David Amerland
Posted on May 18th 2012 at 2:29PM

Jeff, I read your piece and I think you are pretty much on the button. In Nick's defense I would say that the piece he wrote does make some pretty important points and even though he may be a little off in his ultimate assessment of G+ but he is hardly alone in that respect. Any straw poll study of mainstream marketers or community managers struggling with too many duties and too little time will show the same views prevail.

Social media is unique in terms of the conversation it now fosters, where this commentary, Nick's post and your blog are a crucial part of and, in view of this, the characterisation might be a little undeserving.   

Posted on May 19th 2012 at 12:01PM

Good refereeing, David. I was too harsh with Nick. You are right that pros are looking for simple, which Nick aimed for. Thanks for chiming in.

Posted on May 20th 2012 at 1:38PM

I get really scared when someone approves Bing and 'Fakebook' partnership of any kind. Fact is that Google Plus is not even close to FB in terms of engagement: it's something artificial, projected to be 'hip'.

And Nick hit the bullseye regarding the SEO relevance of Google+ despite its condition as a social network itself. That's exactly what I say to everyone: when Google comes up with something, be there somehow...

But the current condition of Google+ is not caused by 'being rushed it out of production' or any navigation issue. Let's be honest: you can commend FB for anything except for being clean and having either an intuitive or practical navigation, given its "ever-moving-irritating-to-follow-up" switches - like in an actual 'rushed it out of production' creation.

It's not a technical matter: people simply don't want it: they're feel comfortable and enjoy FB and will stay there untill they feel bored or find out another network, a more interesting one, following the unpredictable tracks of people's behavior on line. 

And that's a pitty: your article was really useful but I don't share anyone's sympathy for 'Fakebook' and its methods and plans.

Nick R
Posted on May 21st 2012 at 2:52PM

Thanks for the comments!

Roxanne Morrison
Posted on May 23rd 2012 at 6:10PM

Nicely stated Nick! 

Nick R
Posted on May 24th 2012 at 1:48PM

Thank you, thank you!


Amy Tobin
Posted on May 24th 2012 at 5:02PM

I fell out of love with G+ a couple of months after it left the "Beta" phase (if it ever did).  My clients weren't there, my friends weren't there, and my client's clients weren't there.


Here's my ignorant SEO Related Question: If personal search is what happens when you are logged INTO G+ or Gmail (it seems that's one and the same to Google), how does Search Engine Ranking work?  For instance... if I AM logged in I may pull up sites I've already seen. If not, the existing algorythm will function... so how is a company to work on Organic SEO if individual user's preferences become dominant only sometimes.  Make sense?