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24/01/2019

How the closure of Google+ might affect your business

When you think about the internet, probably the first thing that springs to mind is Google. But despite being such a huge name that pretty much everyone knows, even they’ve been unsuccessful in competing with the big boys such as Facebook and Twitter when it comes to building a social network.  So much so that they’ve finally given up the race and are pulling the plug on Google+ (Google’s version of Facebook) within a couple of months. We explore what might this mean for your business and how it might affect your digital marketing strategy.

The end of Google+

Google has recently announced that by April 2019, they will shut down the consumer version of Google+. There are two main reasons for this:

  • Data breaches: In October 2018 Google announced that it was going to shut down Google+ by August 2019 after a major security vulnerability was found. However, in December 2018 after an update, another vulnerability was found. Google announced that no third party had compromised their systems, but to ensure the protection of its users, it’s accelerated the closure of Google+ to April 2019.
  • Low usage: Google+ have cited low usage figures and low engagement, noting that 90% of user sessions last less than five seconds.

Effects on SEO and coverage

Google’s ranking algorithm is a closely guarded secret and understanding exactly how it works is incredibly complex. Current thinking suggests the closure of Google+ won’t have a huge impact in terms of your all-important ranking with the Google search engines; but conversely, we know that Google likes Google, and posting content on Google platforms can be beneficial.

To make sure you continue getting the business benefits of posting on Google, we suggest you start posting updates and news on your Google My Business page (if you aren’t already doing so) by logging into Google My Business and selecting ‘Posts’. These posts appear on Google Business pages when you search for a specific business in the box on the right side of search results (on desktop) or embedded in the search results (on mobile).  

Unfortunately, Google My Business pages are not seen as a social media platform and are therefore not currently supported by platforms such as Hootsuite or Buffer. This means you will have to post your Google My Business posts directly through your page; unfortunately, there is no scheduling option, so you will have to do this in real time, which means putting up each post individually rather than in batches.  (As Google+ is in God’s social media waiting room, some platforms are pulling the plug on supporting it; Hootsuite will be shutting down Google+ support from 28 January.)

What you need to do

Many businesses’ ‘Contact us’ pages will include a link to your G+ page. We highly recommend that you remove this button so that site visitors aren’t directed to a broken link.

Optimising your Google My Business listing so that your business is verified, claimed and is up to date is even more important now.

Evaluating your social media strategy is an important step to take if you get a lot of engagement through Google+. Exploring other social media options might be a good idea – you’ll need to get active on whichever social media platform your niche community is migrating to.

Google+ was Google’s answer to Facebook, but after eight years it’s finally shutting down after low usage and vulnerabilities in its system. Luckily, it shouldn’t affect your businesses SEO strategy too much – but remember, Google likes Google, and so keeping your Google My Business page up to date is more important now than ever.

To find out more about how Sharp Minds Communications can help with your marketing, email communications@sharpminds.agency 

 Based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Sharp Minds offers brand development, digital marketing, offline marketing and public relations to businesses across Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Greater London. You can see what our customers say about us here.

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