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Google+ will get you more business than Facebook or Twitter: here’s how

There’s a lot of debate around the value that Google+ has to offer businesses in comparison to Facebook and Twitter. After all, Facebook and Twitter have already captured the market and that’s where most people are, so the media make out. Because of this, it makes sense for businesses to invest time and money in these two social media platforms and potentially not the former. The problem with this scenario is that businesses are only looking at the number of users that the media hype up about these platforms and they’re not looking at a set of benefits that are completely different.

comScore reported that 20-billion searches were performed in the month of April, of which 13.3 billion were through Google. There is no doubt that Google remains the number one place on the Internet for people to search for people, places, products and services. Google may have come into social far later than its competitors, but it has the positioning to make a huge dent, and already is.

As time moves on, Google will slowly but surely bring more and more information from Google+ into its search results and services. One might think that putting their product or service in front of a potential 1.1-billion people on Facebook is the way to go, but it’s small in comparison to those 13.3-billion searches on Google. Not only that, Google+ has over 500-million users already and it’s two years old, what about all the other Google services that people are plugged into?

If you’re a Google+ user, open up Google and search for your name. Look through the first 100 results and you’ll notice that Google related results are far more prominent that those of Twitter or Facebook. In most cases this happens even if you only use Google+ a fraction of the time in comparison to Facebook and Twitter. Just think how many people there are in this world and imagine just how huge Google actually is. Google’s share of people across the world is far greater than that of Facebook, their service offering is wider and in my opinion they have less chance of becoming stagnant.

Let’s explore those benefits that are different to Facebook and Twitter.

1. Valuable links to your website

On your profile page for Facebook, Twitter and Google+ you’re able to include a link to your website. On both Facebook and Twitter this link carries no value to your website and is merely clickable. Both Facebook and Twitter have added “nofollow” tags to the links whereas Google allows for value to be passed.

Google+ Introduction Link

Open up your Google+ Page and include a link in your Introduction to your website.

2. Control your title tags

When you share something new on Google+, the first sentence of your share becomes the title tag for the update. In other words, just like you set up your title tags on the pages of your website so they appear a certain way in the search results in Google, you can set them up for your updates in Google+. Title tags are a powerful ranking factor. By selecting your first sentence carefully you have a good chance of having your content appear near the top of a Google search by a potential customer.

3. Index your pages almost immediately

Part of the reason Google launched Google+ was to be able to compete with the real-time advantage Twitter had. Google has therefore made it almost instant for content and links being shared on Google+ to appear in their search results.

Publishing a new blog post about a product launch and want it to appear in Google quickly, make sure you share it on your Google+ account then.

4. Get your picture in the Google search results

By simply placing a link to your blog from the “Contributor to” area on your Google+ Profile and ensuring that there is a link on your blog back to your Google+ Profile with a rel=”author” tag, your profile picture will begin appearing in search results. Studies show that this increases your potential to get more clicks by people performing searches.

Google authorship

5. Include links in your posts

Google allows users to share links in their updates and does not withhold value being passed through to the website being linked to. The more times the update gets +1’d, linked to and/or shared, the more value will get passed through to the website being linked to.

If you’re able to grow your audience on Google+ and receive +1’s, links and shares to your updates that contain links, it’s a sure way of getting those links ranking high in the Google search results.

All of these benefits revolve around search engine optimization and the idea of getting your news, products and services in front of the billions of searches being performed every month by users around the world. Facebook and Twitter are great, but Google+ certainly does hold many benefits that would be crazy to ignore!

Hat tip to Cyrus Shepard and AJ Kohn for their research around these topics.

Author | Christopher Mills

Christopher Mills
Christopher Mills is the founder and managing director of iMod Digital, a leading digital marketing agency specialising in inbound marketing, web development and digital campaigning. Over the years Christopher and his team have worked with a number of companies; some of the larger ones include Google, WebAfrica, TAKEALOT, Nokia... More
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  • For those who are interested, here is some further supporting material: http://www.conductor.com/blog/2013/07/google-in-the-serps-increasing-authorship-adoption-high-data/

  • 2 years old not one, but otherwise you hit the nail on the head. Everybody who talks about those 1B people on Facebook are looking too closely at the big number, but aren’t realizing that it means nothing if your actual target audience only amounts to 10,000 people and/or businesses. If you’re focusing on a niche, or have geographic restrictions in who your business can serve, you’ll always choose search over social. And to crack search, especially for smaller companies, Google+ is the place to be for the exact reasons you outlined above. Great post!

  • G+ has 853 million users currently. I know because I count the number of G+ profiles daily!

  • Thank you for the statistics Greg :)

  • Stii

    Ok, i get what you say and can see the advantages, but let’s recap what was said on Twitter.

    You said that this article got shared more than 500 times on G+ and that proves your point that it is better for business than the other platforms.

    I mentioned that last time I’ve been on G+, all that got shared and talked about was why and how G+ is better than its competitors. So if you write a article in their favour, obviously it will get shared a lot. In order to get a better idea, you should write a non-related article and see how much that gets shared.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the other platforms are better. I just think buffing up a platform will generate more shares on that platform amongst the zealots than on the other ones. I.o.w. your statement that you got lots of shares therefore it is better is skewed.

  • “You said that this article got shared more than 500 times on G+ and that proves your point that it is better for business than the other platforms.” – Ok, so my remark around proving a point was more about awareness of the platform and not that it is better for business, that would be a complete mismatch and if I communicated inaccurately, my apologies. Just because an article got shares doesn’t mean business will be better :D *agreed*

    Addressing your second point, there are a few things to mention:

    1. The benefits I addressed were not ultimately about growing a following and such, rather rather some more technical matters that ultimately benefit “SEO”, which in turn increases visibility of a company in Google, which potentially could turn into more business. Facebook and Twitter don’t feed nearly as well into Google as Google+ does.

    2. How much time did you spend on Google+ finding people worth following? My guess is that you signed up, followed some folks you know and simply drew a conclusion from that. I get it though, that’s normally how we handle new services and social networks, but in the case of Google+, if you take the time to find the right people and build a bit more of a targeted audience, the benefits become more clear. I use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and a few others and I’m finding Google+ bringing me the most useful information and in a manner that isn’t nearly as cluttered as that of Facebook or Twitter. It might just be me, but I do follow a number of people who have switched from the other networks to this one.

    3. Everyone knows that when you write an article for a specific social network, those who are receptive normally use the social network in question and therefore a percentage of them will naturally like/share the article. But let’s note the number of Tweets and Likes as well, if those were near 0, then I’d completely agree. Let’s also be somewhat fair and not question the quality of the article by merely stating that it got +1’s because it’s simply about Google+ – I think that would be unfair on me.

    I appreciate your comment, but to reiterate, my intention was not to say that simply because it got more shares that it’s better, that would be absurd, but at the end of the day, the number of +1’s certainly does show that the social network is alive and kicking, and not dead like many say it is.

    Great discussion Stii, it’s discussions like these that really get us thinking about all of this, because at the end of the day, we all want to figure out which networks are best for what so we can invest our time best :)

  • Stii

    Look, the context I based my response on was your tweet, which as we know is more often than not bad context…

    1. I cannot argue the SEO points. It makes a lot of sense. Hell, just the fact that they don’t put nofollow on your site link already means a lot. So I get that and agree that the benefits outweigh the other platforms.

    2. That is exactly what I did. The problem here is “taking the time”. I don’t really have a lot of that. That said, to be fair, I guess if I took the time to make it better for me it probably would be. I simply have better things to do though. These days I use FB exclusively to stay in touch with friends and family and I don’t use it for business related shit at all. I cannot really tell you why I use twitter as I’m not really that sure myself, but I do. I will however check it out.

    3. Now, c’mon Chris, you know better than that. I never in a million years meant to question the quality of the post. That is not even a discussion for me. I based my thoughts on your tweet. That is all.

    The old saying “it’s dead for me” applies. I have to be honest, you did awake a curiosity so i will be checking it out again! :)

  • Ok, so that’s another reason Twitter isn’t great :P

    1. :-)

    2. Agreed, the thing is, if you were a business owner and you were trying to market your company and you saw value in the post I wrote, then it would justify taking the time, otherwise I completely agree with you. After all, when it comes to marketing, nothing comes easily. I love what you say about Twitter as I’m much the same, I use it, but I’m not sure entirely what value I get apart from a few core people and the search facility / hashtags.

    3. Bwhahahhahahhahaha, I couldn’t resist and it had a place being said. But yes bro, I totally put that there to make it awkward.

    At the end of the day, we select social networks based on what feels most comfortable, or at least that’s how I see it. Jumping onto Google+ and not having a great experience (ie. not seeing great value), I would also jump off. I tried Pinterest, despite the hype, I’ve never been back, it seems Pointerless to me.

  • Stii

    Off the topic, but Memeburn and specially Disqus is a painful experience on the iPad… Very frustrating.

  • Stii

    From my experience, small business owners also don’t really have much time to optimize their experiences. They push, push, push and respond if necessary. The less time they have to spend on it, the better for them. (I’m talking non-online type of businesses).

    I’ve been using it lately as a “normal” user and can say that what matters is where my people are at. Which is mostly FB. The rest doesn’t matter.

    Yes, same for me. Pintrest looks great, but feels totally pointless. At the time G+ seemed the same. Will check it out though. May have changed significantly since.

  • :-)

  • Agreed, Disqus isn’t my choice either -_-

  • Thanks for pointing out the numerous values of using the G+ network.

  • Is memeburn or disqus better on any mobile device?

  • My pleasure Tony.

  • If I’m not mistaken, Stii is saying that Memeburn is bad, but Disqus is worse.

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  • Bonita Erasmus

    Great article Christopher, thank you. I was thinking of phasing out my Google+ business account at some stage due to South Africans not being as accepting of this social network but will be sure not to do this.

  • Hi Bonita, thank you very much for your kind words. I have another post that will be published on the iMod Digital blog in a couple of days that gives some examples of great business pages on Google+ as well as my advise around setting up and maintaining the page, it would be worth reading. The address is imoddigital.com/blog

  • Great article… I am sure Google has lots of plans for the future of Google+. Everyone should be working on building it for now and the future.

  • Couldn’t have said it better myself, Joe. Thank you for your encouraging comment.

  • I am going to follow you on Twitter and add you on Linked In and Google + Great to meet you online. I see you are in South Africa. I have some friends who now live here in Canada who are from Cape Town. Have a great day !

  • Cheers Joe, fantastic to connect with you. I have family in Canada and I hope that I will be able to visit one day. Have a great day too!

  • Great article. This is what I’ve been telling businesses for two years now. If Google gives you a legal way to directly influence their search results, you want to be all over that!

    One small correction. In posts, only the “featured” link, the link that is from the web page you shared or that you placed in the link box on the post, is a followed link (passes Google PageRank authority). Links inside the post or in comments do not. But there is still great value to your site when someone with a high PageRank profile shares a post from your site.

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  • Mark, I love how you phrased this, “If Google gives you a legal way to directly influence their search results, you want to be all over that!”

    Ah yes, you are correct about the links. Strange, I looked carefully, perhaps the convoluted code didn’t resemble the correct link relationship attribute. And indeed, a high profiled author performing a share is a mega bonus!

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  • ibrahim tafida

    it means I will be using it more often

  • Great to hear!

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  • What you feed in life will grow, what you starve out will die.

  • Many feel the same way about Twitter. My clients have the same sentiment and ask me to explain. Alas, I struggle to be clear. As for Pinterest, I think it is more about your audience demographics and what you have to offer. As a pinner, it is easy to lose track of time as one pin leads to another. The strategy would be to keep their attention by providing quantity of pin-able graphics and associated posts — using the “one leads to another leads to another” aspect. Just my two cents.

  • True words.

  • @pauladhill:disqus What you say about Pinterest is true, and I operate in a space where the network isn’t an ideal channel for boosting my, or my clients, initiatives. I’ve read studies on it, I’ve seen success stories and I therefore an a believer that it has a place, just not for me at this point of time.

    Appreciate your comment, it’s always fantastic to get opinions and thoughts from different people, thank you!

  • Chris Picanzo

    Great post Christopher! Great name too by the way :) Just thought I’d mention that I found the article while searching on Google for “Get more business” I was reading an article on Manta and one of the posts was from someone that used that very term in their website name but it was a .co and not .com so I was curious how and if it would show up in the results. If your interested in knowing it didn’t show ;) but I saw a post of my own right above this post from you, which I attribute to the new social search results that are going on now because we are connected on G+ or at least I have you in one of my circles :) I thought all that was a bit interesting and thought you may too.

  • That makes complete sense. It’s always interesting to watch what’s happening in the search results, because these days there are so many influencers!

    Thank you very much for your comment, Chris.

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  • Vegas Stiletto Fitness

    Great post, I will share with my instructors who are certified by me in Vegas Stiletto Fitness which is my nation wide brand I created, but trying to make it world wide. I try to learn as much as I can about social media & SEO so I can share with them since in order to be successful they have to know how to market themselves:) Thank you for the info, I do have a Google+ page but need to learn how to grow it too:) Will play with it a little more now:)

  • Very useful @ChristopherMills:disqus. Google+ is really picking up pace now and articles like these are turning out to be a necessity for people who don’t want to get left behind. Thank you.

  • JT Pedersen

    Read through the article and I think someone could just as easily make a compelling argument favoring Facebook, Twitter, or other SM networks from their own perspectives. Much of what is referenced has been promoted as SEO for sometime.

    One item I thought was perhaps a little disingenuous, “If you’re a Google+ user, open up Google and search for your name. Look through the first 100 results and you’ll notice that Google related results are far more prominent…” This is to be expected. If someone is logged in to Google the results will be skewed toward the user.

    To get a more-valid assessment, make sure you’re logged out before doing the search. In addition, I keep ‘vanilla’ browsers available to me so I can see more unbiased search results. Finally, I also ask friends on rare occasion to do searches for me overseas. It’s can be interesting to see the exact same search results come up for ‘me,’ by a friend in South Africa, as when I search for myself locally :).

    Personally, I strongly prefer G+. For the professional photography business I also run, I find a strong photography or providing critiques and feedback. It’s a good resource. And, its just more fun. However, while I do use G+ to help promote myself, its a lot like preaching to the choir. Other photographers are there, fewer customers.

    More of my customers exist in places like Facebook. And, there is the key. It is irrelevant which social media network any of us personally likes most. What -is- relevant, is where our -customers- are. I find my customer-oriented activity via Facebook (for photography) than I do on any other network. If you happen to be a church program administrator, you’ll likely spend more time on FB. If you drive an Economic Club, you’ll probably spend more time on LinkedIn.

    For some, G+ will rule the day. But the network that gets you more business is the one where your customers are.

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  • My pleasure, glad you found it useful!

  • Thank you for your comment :)

  • JT, sure, each social network has its benefits, however this article was written with a strong SEO foundation and because Google dictates how the search results appear, there is far more chance of reaping benefit from a presence on Google+ than Facebook or Twitter. So although other networks could be written in a compelling sense, the whole thing revolves around SEO and in that light, the Google+ approach is more fitting.

    In terms of your second paragraph – that’s the whole point, and why it’s more fitting than Facebook or Twitter because of the very fact that the results include more about Google than Facebook and Twitter ;)

    My question would be: If you open up Google Analytics, does the social traffic to your website trump the organic traffic to your website? If it does, not stick to your Facebook campaigns, pages and such, but if the organic traffic is higher then clearly your audience is more prominent in search and that’s the very reason why using Google+ is a wise idea, not because of the social aspect of acquisition but the secondary effect of the SEO bonus you receive.

    I do agree, with your last sentence, however, the article wasn’t written as “the best social network to get customers”, but rather the social network that has more benefit than what meets the eye.

    Cheers for your comment, awesome discussion!

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