Social Media Personalization Series: Google+

May 9, 2014

Google+Our series examining social media platforms continues today with Google+.

Despite having millions of users (if you have a Gmail account, then you automatically have a Google+ account), there has been an ongoing debate about the impact of this platform for brands and the need to participate. In order to make an educated decision regarding involvement, you must examine how a personalized Google+ page can benefit your Google search rankings.

Personalization on Google+ 

Google+ is not just a social media network – It’s an identification system created by the world’s largest search engine. This platform has the power to affect search results and Google is not afraid to use that advantage to penetrate the social media space, as well as use information about social behaviors to make search results even more personalized.

And Google is expert at personalization. I’ve written about how they personalize to their end users here and here, and why it’s important to be on the network here. YouTube is also owned by Google and integrated into Google+, so it’s no surprise that both of these social networks are feeding information on how to personalize to the end user. To see how much data Google uses when personalizing your search results, visit your dashboard.

Google+ allows Google to see the relationships between entities, such as people and companies users follow, which bloggers they read most often, which friends in their social networks they more frequently read posts from, and so on. From this information, Google can now personalize users’ search results based on the engagements they’ve made.

If you want to be found in Google, feed your data to the search engine by creating a personal profile, a brand page (if relevant) or by joining or creating a Google+ Community.

In case you think that this network is not worth your marketing time, keep in mind that Google+ is the world’s second largest social media network, with over 300 million monthly visits – less than Facebook’s 1.2 billion, but more than Twitter’s 241 million, according to Bits.

Besides, if you want to be found in Google search, don’t you think you should invest in the social media network that is associated with the search giant? Activities on this network DIRECTLY impact whether your target audience finds your brand.

Enough said.

So what does all this mean to you as a marketer? 

1. Be active on these platforms if you want to be found in Google.

2. Use the network provided Google+ plus (i.e. “Like”) buttons on your site – they send signals directly to the search engine, and personalize the user’s experience on the social media platform when they visit from your site.

3. Use the data – create content that will resonate with your target audience, or risk not being found.

There’s been discussion that Google+ is a “ghost town” and that it doesn’t make sense to join this platform; however, the overwhelming fact is that having a profile helps increase your Google search rankings, and that is far too good a reason to pass up on it.

Katherine Watier Ong works with clients to stay on top of the changing nature of search & social. She has 8 years of SEO and social experience, and is part of the 1 million visitors per month club after taking one of the websites she was promoting from 300K to 1.2 million in one month with an integrated 360 degree promotion program. She is VP, Online Strategy and Market Insights in Ketchum’s online strategy department, and helps manage a team that tracks the online consumer, online analytics, changing online platforms and algorithms, and develops strategies for clients to connect with their online consumer. Follow Katherine at @kwatier, Google+ or connect with her on LinkedIn.