The New York Times published a report last Friday dissecting the benefits of Google+; they believe Google benefits more than its users do, but also highlighted two major brands using the network to enhance their SEO efforts.
Reporter Claire Cain Miller starts off by making a case that even though Google+ isn’t much of a competitor to other social networks, it’s still incredibly valuable for Google since Google+ is a hub for all of their products. As a user of Google+, Google can find out a lot about who you are from how you interact with services like Gmail, Search, YouTube, Maps, and so on.
This database of information is a goldmine for advertisers, which has always been a main source of revenue for Google. It also helps make the overall experience better for users through the ability to maintain consistency across all products based how you use them.
There’s still another audience that benefits from what Google+ has to offer: businesses.
When businesses join Google+ they are given prime placement on the right hand side of search results, complete with photos and user reviews.
You can’t even buy this kind of placement , instead Google gives it away for free to entice businesses to join their network.
Two world-renowned brands in particular were highlighted in the New York Times article for using Google+ because of the search placement it provides. Starbucks, for example has a paltry following on Google+ compared to other social networks but still keep their page updated for the sake of good search placement.
Alex Wheeler, vice president of global digital marketing at Starbucks. shed some light on their Google+ strategy:
When we think about posting on Google Plus, we think about how does it relate to our search efforts.
The Economist, on the other hand, has twice as many followers on Google+ compared to Facebook, and they even use some of the native features like Hangouts. That being said, Chandra Magee, The Economist’s senior director of audience development, also emphasizes the value of Google+ as an SEO tool:
There is potential there to help us get in front of new audiences, but it also helps with our SEO strategy because our posts on Google Plus actually show up in our search engine results.
Say what you will about Google+, and many will be quick to say they don’t like how it’s practically forced on them these days, but it’s clear when used strategically it can greatly enhance a business’s SEO efforts.
Let me know what you think about Google+. Has it helped with your SEO? Do you use it for anything more than that? I’d love to hear your take on it in the comments section.