After being the next big thing for about a week, Google+, Google’s new social networking service, has stopped looking like the next Facebook, and started looking like the next Google Wave. Traffic and interest have been dwindling dramatically, as people, by and large, likely haven’t found a compelling reason to use what amounts to another Facebook. Google+ needs to find solutions. So, what’s next for the beleaguered website? Another play from the extensive Facebook playbook – business and brand pages. More of the same isn’t usually a recipe for success, so it’s hard to imagine this will be Google+’s meal ticket. Right?
Maybe not. That’s because a Google+ business page could become crucial to businesses overnight, because of three letters – SEO. SEO, or search engine optimization, is an entire marketing solar system in itself, and Google is the star it revolves around. All conversations start with Google’s algorithms and what PageRank is looking like at any given moment. It stands to reason that the only company with the power to dictate what SEO looks like is going to make their service very, very important in that arena.
One way Google is doing that is by making Google+ pages easy to find through Internet searches. Direct connect allows you to search for any company with a + first (e.g. +Pepsi or +Angry Birds), which should take you straight to the company’s Google+ page. This ease of access could make a big difference for businesses and marketing. After all, everyone loves convenience.
Once the new pages go into full effect, you’ll be able to add business pages to your circles, as you would anyone else. Businesses will be able to do the same with their customers, allowing for ease of communication between both sides. That sounds nice, but in practice, it’s hard to imagine how it would be any different from what Facebook sees with their business pages now.
It’ll be interesting to keep an eye on Google, to see if they throw in any extra SEO incentives for using Google+. If they do, Google+ could become far more critical to businesses than Facebook – those businesses might start paying less attention to their Facebook pages, and more to their Google+ pages. If that happens, will the everyday user follow suit? That’s a stretch, but it’s interesting to think about as Google+ continues to try to mount a resistance to Facebook. Google+ needs to do something badly – who’s still using Google+, anyway?
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