Is Google+ any good for small businesses?
Google+, the search engine's response to Facebook, has survived over a year and made it through the 400 million member mark which is quite an achievement in a short space of time and an already crowded marketplace. But is it a phenomenon largely alien to the UK and is Google+ any good for small businesses?
Some of the most regular articles we see about Google+ use words like "ghost town" a lot, with suggestions that 400 million may have signed up but most of them posted once and never returned, Google themselves admit that active users are closer to 100 million, but that's still a number it took Facebook many years to reach and very close to numbers on Twitter.
More interesting is that whilst many people in the UK have no idea what Google+ is, it still receives over 10% of our traffic to social networks, so it isn't entirely unknown here, but perhaps what matters the most to UK businesses is more of a hidden feature; using Google+ is good for your SEO.
As you may expect Google designed the site so that it would perform well in web searches, if the same article is posted across all the social networks then searched for it's no surprise that the Google version will typically come up, equally if a link is posted on the network and users "+1" it or share it around that pushes the link up in SEO search results as well.
Quite simply, any popular link or content on Google+ is going to be popular on Google search as well, and that's an opportunity ripe for small businesses to take advantage of, so;
Sign up for Google+
They allow businesses to have their own pages and it takes as long as any other social network to set up, not all that long.
Treat it just like your website in SEO terms; you want good, professional, welcoming content targeted at your market, but you want it full of useful SEO keywords as well.
On Google+, that means getting into people's "circles"; users arrange all their contacts into customisable groups eg friends/family/work/business, getting into those groups means they'll be digesting your content.
Social networks are for social beings, give it some time every day and make sure you "+1" plenty of things, just using the system makes you more visible on it.
Like anything new, it takes a while to get used to, but if you're finding social networks like Twitter or Facebook don't work for your small business and you want to try something else, or they do work for you and you want to expand that, Google+ is clearly worth taking a look at. Even if the direct social aspects of it don't lift your business, the SEO affect could, some researchers found that around 70 +1s on a piece of content boosted visitors by 20%, which is pretty cool for something that need only take up a little time each day.