We’ve spent a lot of time talking about Pinterest in past podcasts and blog posts, but there’s another social platform that is becoming increasingly important–Google+. Talking (and writing) about Google+ sometimes feels like we’re beating a dead horse. “It’s so important!” We say. “But no one uses it!” You respond. We get that. Google has had a hard time getting people to use their social platform alongside all the others available, but the company is seeing more and more people adopt its service, albeit slowly. That’s what we’re discussing this this edition of the Trademark Productions SEO Web Talk Radio Show.
Half a billion users
On Thursday, Dec. 6, the search behemoth released Google+ usage statistics and the numbers were a little surprising. As it currently stands, Google has had more than 500 million people “upgrade” to a Google+ platform. Essentially that means that many people just went through the signup process, nothing more. What was surprising, is that out of that 500 million only 235 million (47 percent) of them are what Google classifies as “active” users. An active user is someone who is “+1’ing apps in Google Play, hanging out in Gmail, connecting with friends in Search, etc.” Notice that doesn’t include those actually using the G+ stream. That number is lower–a lot lower.
Of that half a billion users, only 27 percent (135 million) are using the platform’s social stream. While that improvement from a year, or even six months ago, we’re pretty positive that Google was hoping to take more of the social networking market share than it has. But Google’s not stupid, and it’s taking steps to try to get more and more people involved in G+.
In an effort to create the best social networking experience on the Web, Google has had to mimic Facebook in the past and this time it might have hit the nail on the head. Along with G+ usage statistics, Google also announced a new addition to the Google+ suite–Communities. Google+ Communities are an alternative to Facebook Groups. They are designed to provide the following:
- Public or private membership to support all kinds of groups—from topics and interests to local neighborhoods to regular poker nights
- Discussion categories to find the conversations you care about most
- The option to start hangouts and plan events with community members
- The ability to share with your community from any +1 button across the web
It remains to be seen how much impact or weight Google+ Communities will have SEO-wise, but if we know anything, it’s that being active in them definitely won’t hurt. The purpose of using social networks as a brand is to create an air of authority in your industry. Communities could potentially be a great way to do just that.
To learn more about what else is happening in the Google+ sphere, listen to our newest podcast below! And as always, if you have questions or comments on this topic, feel free to leave it for us.