Since its inception in 2011, there has been a lot of chatter surrounding the sustainability of the Google+ platform; especially in the shadow of the older social network, Facebook. While there have been more critics than cheerleaders, we have always believed it is important to know a bit about every social platform, figure out if it is right for your business, and be a wizard on the ones you pursue.
Today we’re recognizing the 3rd birthday of Google+ (June 28, 2014) with a look back in time. So Happy Birthday, Google+, let’s compare then (2011) and now (2014) and see what you have given us over the last three years!
1. GROWTH: a topic of scrutiny for Google+ when compared to Facebook’s 1.28 billion monthly active users, but nonetheless, something where we have seen progress since 2011.
2. REACH: a topic where Google+ comes out ahead of Facebook, due to a direct tie to the powerful Google search engine.
Then: Google+ started out being an amazing resource for a boost in SEO, gaining Authorship, and getting your small business on the map.
Now: What was true in 2011 is still true in 2014. But, John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst for Google, announced on Google+ yesterday that Google Authorship will be changing: No longer will we have our profile photo and circle count attached to our search results. He says the decision was based on visual cleanliness and backed up by click-through behavior. Though we have a feeling many journalists and bloggers will not be too thrilled…Luckily, to date, Google+ has the highest number of monthly visits of any social platform – 1,203 million visits per month – so while you may not have your photo next to your search results, you will still be getting your fair amount of exposure!
Then: At first, “Administration [was] Difficult: ‘The pages need[ed] to be created from an individual’s Google+ account, and you [couldn’t] add admins or any other users to manage the account…’” (Mashable)
Now: Google+ corrected administration, and has made the platform more approachable to the small business owner. With the recent roll-out of Mobile Management and Insights, managers can analyze their effectiveness on the network with ease.
These additions are just the beginning for Google+ to compete with Facebook’s long-perfected Insights. While Facebook Insights has high depth and breadth to the type of analysis you can run, it seems Google+ has the higher potential of impacting small business users with possible integration into resources already established; like Google Analytics.
We have watched Google+ grow over the last 3 years, and we look forward to seeing what they can accomplish in the next three! So join the party they are throwing tomorrow, June 28th at 11:30AM EST on Google+ Hangouts , and celebrate a great platform that has given small businesses so much!