After what conventional wisdom declared to be flops by Google in several attempts to enter the social networking arena, it’s understandable that many blog owners are adopting a wait-and-see posture before considering the search engine behemoth’s latest entry. However, just as conventional wisdom is known to wrong, so might be a passive strategy where Google+ is concerned.
Cynicism is a trait common to many, if not most, bloggers. Among the best content is that which tells its readers what mistakes to avoid, helping them manage risks as well as resources. So when a company, even the company whose search engine plays the prominent role in determining who finds and then reads your blog, is perceived to have, in recent memory, rolled out two quasi-social networking experiments, one of which is no longer extant, while the other is roundly ignored, you might feel well justified in a little salutary procrastination. But have you considered all the facts where Google+ is concerned?
Unlike Wave and Buzz, Google+ is not a new product in a new concept. Social networking was still in its relatively early stages of being when Wave, and then Buzz, came into being. Now that Facebook, and to lesser degrees, Twitter and even LinkedIn, have staked out clear trajectories and roles, Google+, it appears, has identified a niche, a part of the landscape either created or overlooked by the other players. Circumstantial evidence might lead some to conclude that Wave and Buzz were programs designed to garner important research to be used when conditions were ripe for a new networking vehicle that would exploit the inevitable vulnerabilities created when choices were made by the big three of social networking.
Speculation aside, we now know that Google+ has, some would say shamelessly, promoted itself to a specific target audience. Beginning with Gmail account holders, typically more tech savvy than those of other free e-mail services, Google allowed its initial Plus accounts to invite unlimited numbers of contacts with offers to join. Feigning surprise at the “crazy” volume of requests for accounts, Google+ requests were temporarily, emphasis on temporarily, suspended as reported in a very public announcement. P.T. Barnum would have been proud. So how does this marketing gimmick translate into reasons for bloggers to accommodate Google+ into their own strategies?
The strongest argument for using Google+ is that your traffic is mostly directed your way by one search engine’s algorithm. While we know that Google takes into account Likes, Tweets and site mentions in LinkedIn, the advent of the +1, (plus one), button for Google+ will now let the search engine add to the calculations the preferences made by an audience designed to be more selective than other readers. Now, what do you think a hit from your own creation of sophisticated web visitors means to Google? Better content!
Think of Google+ as the filter that allows only better input to pass and the +1 button as the engine that drives the input. Now, think of making haste to add a +1 button to your blog as a force multiplier for better rankings by Google. Content quality, measured by such analytics as time spent on a particular page or link, is the endgame for +1 hits. The more selective the audience, the more valuable content becomes, so the reasoning goes. The bar is now higher, whether or not you have the new feature for readers to share their approval with their content, and to ignore this is to court peril.
Bloggers have some new choices to make, choices that will take them closer or possibly farther away from their business objectives. If you still believe the search engine that most determines your web visits is really trying to be the next Facebook, then perhaps a period of hesitancy and an air of cynicism is in order. However, if you place little stock in coincidence and are structured to respond quickly to new developments in the market, Google+, and more to the point, a +1 button might be a good call for your blog.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jesse Langley is a seasoned journalist and blogger. He covers social networking, newsletter and SEO topics and contributes online material on behalf of American Intercontinental University.