I suppose you have heard of Google??? If you are doing business on the web, this is a stupid question. If you are not a “web business” this might seem less important. Even then you should be aware of Google Local because even brick and mortar businesses get a lot of value out of search because people now use Google like they used to use the Yellow Pages.
But Google+… why is that so important? I would suggest that it is CRITICAL regardless of the type of business you have or whether you are online or brick and mortar.
What is Google+?
Google+ is basically Google’s ongoing initiative toward turning their vast advantage in information into a very personal world for the users of their services. One might guess that the idea is to topple Facebook from its social media throne but, actually, Google is not really interested in competing with Facebook or any other social platform. Google is after something more, its goal is to give you a meaningful answer to your search query. You might think, “Duh, all search engines want to do that.” Yes, that is true, they want to do that, but have they been doing that? How many of the search results do you click before you find your answer? Two, three, or more…? How many times have you had to change your search query? Google wants to give you that answer the first time and, if possible without further clicks on a search result. I think the word “awesome” is overused, but that truly would be AWESOME!
Now, how would you like to be on that page one? The answer for you and your business is Google+
To understand how Google+ is your answer, we need to step back a bit and understand what Google is doing today. If you have been watching Google over the last few years you will have noticed that Google has been rolling out a number of rather massive changes with cute names like: Panda and Penguin. These are ranking algorithms that have turned the SEO world upside down. (SEO = Search Engine Optimization. This is a process that makes your website more visible to search engines.) Just recently Google rolled out a complete rebuild of their core search engine, Hummingbird. Between Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird Google has created a whole new world whose foundation at the user end is called Semantic Search, and of particular interest to you, within that is Personal Search.
Whoa.. time out! These are a lot of buzz words and you may be lost at this point. I feel your pain, but unfortunately it’s time to feel the burn and get up to speed on this stuff if you are going to do business in the brave new world that Google is creating. Here is another biggy:
Google has become an Identity Platform based on Trust and Authority.
Google+ is the way you can participate in this platform and build your trust and authority.
Why is this critical for my business?
Up until now Google depended largely on links and keywords to rank web pages for search results. Unfortunately, links and keywords are easy to spam and game so the search results became less and less useful to users. Unhappy search users means less eyeballs looking at their ads, and ads are their bread and butter. Google needed to change how they ranked information and stop the spam and gaming. To do that, Google expanded and shifted how they did rankings AND how they presented the results. Social engagement is much harder to spam and game, and providing search results that are based on the searcher’s real needs and intent is nearly impossible to game. So what is Google doing?
- Change focus from pages to the quality of entire websites
- Links still matter as before, but are more intensely scrutinized and will be less important in the future. Link stuffing is deadly, the spam team is hot on that trail.
- Social signals will become more and more important. Social engagement and relationships build trust and authority and Google is going to be placing more and more value on those signals.
- Quality Content is King and getting engagement is the currency for ranking that content.
- Search results are personal and no two search results will be the same. How this is done and how you can influence them is critically important.
- Google wants to answer your query not just throw guesses – Understanding your intent and what you really want is their goal.
- Real People with trusted authority are very hard to game or spam.
All of this boils down to Google moving to ranking based on authority of people and how much Google can trust their authority. People buy from people they trust. Google+ is how you can build your authority and establish your trustworthiness as a real person who others will want to do business with.
Hopefully you can now understand how critical it is for you and your business to be on Google+ if you want to have a chance of being found on the web you cannot miss getting on this train.
Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt has said: “The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance“. Get on Google+ and show Google who you are and what you are an authority on.
Getting More Information and Help
Our goal is to become a major resource for small businesses on web technologies. Join our Google+ community Web Technology for Small Business for a curated collection of important tips and guides on how to use Google+ for your business and a place where you can get help and answers. Here at our blog we are constantly publishing articles, tips, guides, and videos to help you get started. Lastly we provide solutions and support at our RightStart Websites and SonicWebTech sites if you really need to get going in the right direction and don’t have the time or expertise to do it yourself.