To say that Google+ has been a disappointment would be an understatement. In December, parent company Google announced that the social network would be shutting down in April.
The loss of Google+ will not be an Earth-shattering event for social media users. It will most likely be shut down with little recognition. But it might be a different story for businesses. Many depended on the site to help with their search engine optimization (SEO).
What (was) Google+
Google+ was Google’s fourth attempt at a social network following Google Buzz, Google Friend Connect and Orkut. It was launched in 2011 and was centered around the idea of “circles.” The site gave users the ability to create different groups, or circles, of their friends.
By the end of 2013, the network had about 300 million monthly users. But engagement on the site was low, about seven minutes on average versus seven hours on Facebook. By 2014, the New York Times referred to Google+ as a ghost town.
The worst piece of news came in December when it was revealed that 52.5 million users had their personal information exposed because of a Google+ bug. Since the social site was not attracting new users, and in light of this bad news, Google decided to shut down the consumer side of Google+ in April 2019. That is four months earlier than originally planned.
Google+ will have continued life, though. It will be offered in its G Suite service as an Enterprise product for subscriber companies.
Google+ and SEO
For organizations, perhaps the greatest advantage that Google+ offered was its impact on SEO. Businesses with an active company page received a bump on the search engine results page (SERP). This was due to the fact that Google+ was a Google product. But it might also have been an attempt by Google to grow the number of users on their social network.
In addition to getting a better search ranking, Google+ posts could also appear as a search result when relevant searches were made. This was an added benefit because it meant that a business might have more than one entry on a SERP.
But with the closing of Google+ just months away, many marketers are wondering if there are other social sites that might replace its valuable SEO role.
Social Media SEO Alternatives
The answer to the above question is “Yes.” There are actually two social media sites that can help with your SEO. They are LinkedIn and SlideShare.
LinkedIn has a high domain authority. As a result, Google indexes LinkedIn and delivers a high number of results from the site. Therefore, when articles or updates on LinkedIn have relevance to a search, they can appear in the SERPs.
The business site is also good for providing backlinks to your website. Share an update on LinkedIn about a blog post on your website. Those interested in the subject may click through to read it.
This site is owned by LinkedIn and, as a result, is also indexed by Google. The site started as a repository for Power Point presentations but has grown to become a business research site. It houses many different types of business presentations.
SlideShare can also deliver results to the SERPs. It is a great solution for helping with your content marketing efforts. When you promote blog articles there, you have the opportunity to move traffic to your website.
Of course, the more engagement a slide gets, the better chance it has to appear in a Google search.
When Google+ finally shuts down it will represent another failed attempt by the search giant to have a meaningful social platform. But it will also mean the loss of a trusted SEO tactic for businesses.
Luckily, with LinkedIn and SlideShare around, companies can move their efforts to those sites.
Do you have questions about the effectiveness of your SEO? Call me today at 513-237-5530 and let us help.
Bob Turner is a Digital Marketing Consultant with RevLocal in Cincinnati, Ohio.