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Is Google+ just one big SEO play? on Jul. 26, 2011

Google+ remains a hot topic. Everybody’s talking about it—SEO experts, social media experts, web pundits, and technology writers are all speculating about what Google’s plan is with Google+. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle of all the different opinions, but we’re looking at it mostly from an SEO standpoint.

Google has always claimed that their mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Anything they do has to be filtered through that mission statement, as they have shown time and again that this is their core value. How does creating a social network make the world’s information universally accessible and useful? “Useful” is the key word, here.

Google realizes that the value of Twitter and other social networks is in personal recommendations and connections. While they do have access to Twitter’s “firehose” of information, they don’t own it. Better to have their own network of social signals. They knew that if they built a good social product (and they’ve tried and failed in the past), they would start having excellent and useful data to enhance their core product: Search.

The fact that Google was persistent in attempting to break into social shows how important it is to them. Finally, Google+ is the one that just might make it. According to some reports, they are rapidly approaching the 20 million user mark. That’s certainly enough data to help make search results more useful. There are many people criticizing the “geekiness” of Google+, saying it’s not a thing their mom or dad would use; if Google is trying to get tech-savvy geeks to link to things and share relevant data on Google+, though, that’s not a problem for them at all.

In order for Google+ to truly become a “Facebook killer” it will have to become an ingrained habit—part of a daily normal lifestyle; with Android, Google has a shot at this. However, even if they don’t ever achieve Facebook Huge status, they can still mine the incredibly relevant and useful patterns and data from their techie userbase to influence their most precious product: search.

 

 

3 Responses to Is Google+ just one big SEO play?

  • @WillyDMZ I totally disagree with the “sunk costs” assessment. I have invested hundreds of hours into Facebook over the years and I find it disturbingly easy to jump ship. I don’t care about my past investments in the platform. If I really wanted to move my old pictures and things to G+, I could… But I don’t want to because G+ is me NOW, not me four years ago.

  • WillyDMZ, you have a ton of good points. However you missed a few crucial components. Our industry, the internet marketing / social changes and advances with rapid speed. What was working today may not be active or progressive in 6 months. Two things with FB and G+: They both are mother ships with a lot of eyes. They both have deep pockets. Google has stood the test of time and evolved to retain ownership of a large part of eyes online. They make good, no great revenue. They have watched their competitors run, catch up and then stumble and die (see Netscape, Ask and now Yahoo). Bing and FB are the only well-funded competitors to really take a market share from them and G+ is going to be hard to beat.

    I agree with the ecosystems you speak of that come out of offerings from these conglomerates (http://www.buyfacebookfansreviews.com). However as long as I have been an online marketer (15+ years now) everyone has wanted to rank in the top 10, no 3, no be number 1. Like the PageRank thermometer G created to measure the importance of a website in simple math of 1-10 we will now see the second evolution and secondary markets of + open with great demand. I know I am already sketching out a system to sell and manipulate the + system for rankings.

    Integration with mobile devices, mobile OS that is widely used and import features and third-party apps to do the same are underway from FB. You can import all friends and more already in to G+.

    Finally, FB won’t be the search killer, No way. Bing, before MSN has tried to lease and compile their own historic and fresh database of web pages and search results for years. They are still years behind Google and will remain that way. Root for the underdog FB, I commend you. However as much as I love/hate Google I know they will prevail.

  • I still just find it hard to believe that Google would allow the +1 to influence rankings to the general search audience. I could see it influencing the rankings to fellow google plus “friends” in your own network. But, why would they add this to their algo, when they knowingly would be creating a secondary market to outsmart the system?

    I’ve already been emailed by new services selling +1′s and proclaiming that this WILL improve your rankings blah blah blah. I think its all pure speculation at this point. I haven’t seen any concrete metrics to prove any of the +1 theories.

    I suppose the best way to find out for sure is, put up a basic content website in a moderately competitive niche. Don’t point any links to it and only feed it +1′s and track the movement.

    I have also read about some theories in which G could be giving different “weight” to the +1 depending on the strengths of the Google profile who is +1′ing it. Similar to how links are weighted differently by PR. Interesting concept… However it’s used, I don’t think it’ll ever outweigh the linking principles we’ve been using for over a decade now. Giving too much credence to the SEOcial theories isn’t very productive IMO. I think most of these theories go against the principles of how Google operates, giving SERP influencing power to the people is just a bad idea. It would just create yet another layer of spam that Cutts has to combat. I guess we’ll all know soon enough… maybe ;-)

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