Brands As Publishers On Google+
Just in case you haven’t heard by now, Google has launched its pages for Businesses, a complementary offering to Google+ personal profiles. Janet Driscoll Miller covered some of the basics in yesterday’s Search Insider, so I will cover some of the implications of Business pages, and what they mean to your content strategy, search strategy, and social engagement strategy.
I’m currently writing from Pubcon in Las Vegas, where I am speaking on two search and social panels (kudos to my co-panelists @joehall and @krisjones for their truly insightful presentations today). It is fair to say that search and social -- the discipline of combining the two together -- is the hot topic of the event, no doubt spurred to even greater heights by Google’s launch of Google+ in June. Pubcon is the event attended by cutting edge SEOs, as it has been since its inception, and it is revealing that much of the dialogue is focused on engagement, as opposed to pure page publishing and SEO tactics. Of course there is plenty to discuss about tactics, and SEO is by no means dead. As Joe Hall stated today on the panel, traditional SEO is still at the core of any well-thought-out search and social strategy.
I asked today’s attendees if any were cynical about the impact of social signals on search, and no one raised a hand (with about 125 in the audience). This is very different from various conference attendees I’ve informally polled over the last few years, who in the beginning were predominantly skeptical. If a room of hardcore SEOs are convinced that social signals are a cornerstone of natural search influence, then the rest better get on board as well.
Which brings us back to Google+ pages for Businesses. Many are still wondering if it is worth the effort, given that Google “only” has 40 million plus users, including Gord Hotchkiss, who wrote a column about this a few weeks ago. My answer is yes. If you’ve read my corner of Search Insider over the last three years, you know that I’ve covered a number of issues related to the rise of real-time search, and also the implication of algorithms on social networks. A major shift has occurred, and Google+ is the manifestation of search and social together in a truly robust form. Google+ is still in its infancy, and is rolling out more and more new features. A little bit of marketing is in order for Google, as pulling in key network influencers will be key to gaining critical mass. Google+ doesn’t have to be Facebook or Twitter to be successful. It just has to maintain a substantial user base sharing fresh content on a regular basis, and that of course is meaningful to the people who use it.
I’ve written and spoken this statement many times, but it is worth repeating again: If you care about your search presence on Google, you need to get active on Google+ by building up your network, and publishing regularly. You need to engage in conversation, as conversation is content. The same is true for any other network where your audience target may be engaging in conversation about your brand or generic topics of interest.
I am speaking again today on “navigating the complex social world.” Search and social is a big part of the marketing story now, and to use Gord’s word, it is fully crystallized in the form of Google+ for businesses. Proactive marketers should be watching this story develop. Getting active now will give you a jumpstart on being a “search and social” marketer in the truest sense.