by Patrick Launspach, Catamaran Marketing Staff Writer
People may be “Liking” and “Commenting” on Facebook . . . but they’re still Searching on Google
Market experts estimate 65% of online searches are conducted through Google. Google processes an average of 34,000 searches per second (that’s roughly 2 million per minute, 121 million per hour, 3 billion per day, and 88 billion per month). In June 2011 Google got to brag that it was the first website to receive 1 billion unique visitors in a single month, a number that Facebook not reached to this day.
Below are 8 reasons why Google+ rivals and may even trump Facebook as the social platform for business and marketing.
Google+ and Search
1. Google+ is highly searchable, Facebook is not.
Facebook does not allow the Google to search its individual pages for content as a result is a massive blind spot to the search engine. For example if you search “Adidas Facebook” on Google (or any other search engine) you will find Adidas’s Facebook page, but not any other Facebook pages that might be discussing Adidas. Alternately, Google+ pages are highly searchable and can appear any rankings where the pages are relevant.
2. Google “+1” Impact on Search Results
According to a study of 5,000 businesses conducted by Hubspot Marketing, “Websites that use Google's +1 button generated 3.5 times more traffic from Google+ than websites that don't have the button installed.” A site does not have to be a Google+ site to install the “+1” button. However, if this trend is becoming so common, having a profile to connect with users on their turf.
3. Improving Google’s “Intelligence”
This is a topic that I’ve found experts repeatedly bringing up. Google has been working tirelessly to produce search results that are relevant to not only the search term, but specifically to the user performing the search. As you might have noticed Google will produce different search results based on your past searches, Google account, and your current location.
Google uses Google+ to map out social circles and audiences and to determine what kind of content is relevant to which groups of users. This means that your business being social on Google+ will help teach the search engine the kind of users find your company interesting, and will help you to appear in relevant listings.
“It’s not hard to see that Google is going to rely quite heavily on Google+ for it’s profile information and social signal mining. If you want Google to recognize you as influential on a topic, you had better build your home on Google+.”
Daniel Cristo, SEO professional and founder of Fluttrs (SEO Hacker)
Google+ Social Media
4. Professional Audience
Many experts state that Facebook is used more personal use while Google+ use is geared more towards business. This might mean that Facebook could a be a better fit for B2C lifestyle brands (clothing, athletics, leisure, and travel) while Google+ would be better suited for B2B business and professionals (suppliers, plumbers, and real estate agents).
“I find myself using Google+ more for sharing my blog posts and other professional updates as those get a lot more traction on Google+ than Facebook. Then for Facebook, I find I’m starting to use it more for personal updates since getting into Google+. I’m not sure what the change has been, but posting links on Google+ gets a lot more +1′s, comments, and reshares than when I post links on Facebook which seems to have dropped in engagement. Regular status updates on Facebook have been receiving much more reception though.”
Kristi Hines, Writer, Blogger and Social Media enthusiast (SEO Hacker)
5. Google+ ‘Circles’ allow for Multiple Targeted Messages
Google+ Circles blow Facebook Groups out of the water. Circles allow you to easily and intuitively arrange your contact and to send a different set of information to your family, friends, coworkers, and clients.
The advantages of this are huge! You could put your customer base in different circles and send out different media and promotions to different market segments. From a personal perspective you no longer have to worry about adding someone to your network because you’re afraid what they might see or post on your profile. Simply put them in your acquaintance circle and manage their accessibility. No more of the “my goldfish looks likes he’s smiling, anyways . . . on my way to class” messages clogging up your newsfeed.
6. Google+ Analytics: Because data trumps guessing every time
Google’s beginnings were in finding and organizing information and Google’s Analytical Software (or website analysis software) has been an industry front-runner for years. As of right now this software has not been integrated directly into Google+, users can currently run Analytics for Google+ like they would with any other webpage. However Google is planning on integrating Analytics into the heart of Google+ very soon. Here is a preview of what looks to be a powerful, yet incredibly intuitive Google+ Analytics.
7. Google+ Hangouts: Free powerful conferencing and collaboration software
Google is already creating a lot buzz with Google+ Hangouts, essentially videoconferencing software that allows up to ten users to video chat with each other all at the same time. Hangouts also allows screensharing as well as sharing Youtube, Google Docs, and Sketchup integrated directly the software. This means that all Google+ users will have relatively cutting edge collaboration software that they can use with any other Google+ user. Hangouts also have an API (application programming interface) option that will allow independent developers to build on top of the software, leaving plenty of room for future innovation.
This creates a huge opportunity for communication in small businesses and all of education. Most medium to large size businesses already have collaboration software to use internally so this affects them very little internally. However it does change the game for interacting and collaborating with smaller clients who would have not had such software before Google+.
8. The Greater Potential of the Google Platform: Google+ is Growing . . . Fast.
Google has an arsenal of free apps and software including Google Docs, Calender, YouTube, Blogger, Books, News, Picasa, Google Music, Picnik (photo-editing), SketchUp (3D model software), Wallet (online checkout), Google Offers, Maps, and more (all of which can be found on the Google homepage under ‘More’>’Even More’ or by clicking here). With tools like these we can expect many more useful platforms and integrations like Hangouts in the near future.
Social networks are like fax machines, they are useless unless you know someone else using them. Currently Google’s biggest weakness is that it only has 90 million users compared to Facebook’s estimated 900 million. However experts predict that Google+ will reach 100 million users by the end of February and Google is predicting that it will nearly triple to 293 million users by the end of the year.
Between Google+ and Facebook it is difficult to say that one is definitively better than the other, and even more difficult to say that one will trump the other. Google’s entrance into the social media market has definitely pushed Facebook to step up its game and the competition will definitely improve the user experience for both sides. It’s likely that, over time, Facebook and Google+ will settle into slightly different markets, possibly with Facebook focusing more on personal use and Google+ catering more to professionals.
Regardless, its easy to conclude that Google+ is a growing force with great potential. From with what we’ve seen in just the first six months will be a powerful and efficient way to reach and interact with customers that businesses won’t want to miss out on.