Patricia Baronowski-Schneider
Pristine Advisers
New York, NY
Patricia is CEO of Pristine Advisers, an IR/PR/Media Relations/Marketing firm with 33 years of experience working her way to starting her own Company a decade ago. She can be reached at pbaronowski@pristineadvisers.com

 

Launched in 2011, Google+ was Google’s fourth attempt to build a successful social media network.  Millions of users immediately signed up, including many businesses which used the platform to improve their SEO and promote their products or services.

Unfortunately, despite a successful launch and promising early growth rate, the platform failed to achieve its goals.  User engagement rates were much lower compared to other social media networks and the number of monthly active users was low compared to the total number of accounts.

In October 2018, Google revealed that a software bug had mistakenly allowed developers to gain access to the private details of other Google+ accounts between 2015 and 2018.  In November, they announced that a security flaw had exposed the data of more than 52 million Google+ users. With the poor performance of the platform and multiple security breaches, Google decided to shut the platform down, which is scheduled to occur in April 2019.

But what does the shutdown mean for the millions of businesses that currently use Google+ to promote their enterprise?  This article will take a closer look at what the shutdown means for businesses and what alternative marketing techniques can be used to overcome the loss of Google+.

What the loss of Google+ mean for business?

Businesses lose a place to post long-form content

Google+ was often used by businesses to provide consumers with industry news, business updates, and information on their products or services.  Unlike social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, Google+ was set up for large posts, which made it useful for businesses interested in sharing in-depth articles or blog posts.  Business will now need to find alternatives for posting this kind of long-form content.

The loss of a very convenient social network

Operating in the Google+ space was very convenient for many businesses, as they could login and use Google’s other services including Google Docs, Google Hangouts, Gmail, and YouTube.  It was a one-stop-shop for promoting a business while getting work done on other Google web apps.

Authorship will be less useful
A few years ago, Google introduced the concept of authorship.  A business could claim authorship on the articles and blog posts that they write and have special author data appear in web searches.  Google eventually removed this feature, but indicated that authorship might still act as a ranking factor, with regular authors of high-quality content being deemed more trustworthy.

One benefit of having a Google+ account was that it could be linked to the business to reinforce authorship.  This helped high-quality content rank well in Google, potentially improving your businesses reputation, and establishing the business as an authority in the industry.

A lost opportunity to interact with various communities

Another significant benefit of using Google+ is that a business could post content in different communities and connect with people in those communities.  This was a particularly useful technique for establishing a business as an authority in the online world.

Losing the ability to fast-index content

Perhaps the most advantageous part of using Google+ is that posts published on the platform were instantly indexed by the Google search engine.  This was a very effective tactic for businesses interested in quickly promoting new content.

Counteracting the loss of Google+

Here are a few useful options for marketing your business after the loss of Google+.

Re-post your Google+ content and preserve relationships

If you have posted unique content directly to Google+, it is important to migrate this content to another platform.  It is simple to backup your Google+ data using Google Takeout.  Re-post your Google+ content on your business’ blog or a social media platform like Tumblr, Twitter, or Facebook.

If you have valuable relationships with other Google+ users, save their details so you can contact them on other social media platforms or via email.  You should also create a series of posts promoting your presence on other platforms including LinkedIn and Facebook, to give your Google+ connections a chance to find you elsewhere.

Find new ways for getting content indexed quickly

If you used Google+ for getting content indexed quickly, you may have to change strategies.  Here are a few strategies for fast indexing:

  • Link to your new content from your webpage
  • Link to it from other social media websites like Twitter and Facebook
  • Make sure the new content is immediately added to XML sitemaps and RSS feeds

Post long-form content to blogs and other social media platforms

Posting high-value long-form content is an excellent way to improve the profile of your business.  Once Google+ is gone, you may need to find another location to post this kind of content. Consider starting a blog outreach initiative, where your business offers to write content for high-profile blogs within your industry.  Also, create new long-form posts for social media and blogging websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, WordPress, Squarespace, Typepad, and Tumblr.

Join more communities

One of the best parts of Google+ was the community integration.  Compensate for the loss of this feature by joining additional Facebook and LinkedIn communities.  You can also participate in websites and discussion forums that relate to your industry. This kind of community participation will raise the online profile of your business, make customer outreach easier, and establish your business as an authority.

Is the loss of Google+ the beginning of a trend?

The loss of Google+ wasn’t much of a surprise to many online marketers.  Despite having several useful features, it was considered something of a ghost town due to its low user engagement.  There are several other social media platforms which may face the same fate in the next few years, particularly if they suffer from security exploits similar to the ones Google experienced.

However, major players like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Qzone are still performing very strongly.  They should remain popular for the foreseeable future and will be very useful for businesses wishing to market themselves online.

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