Did you know? Email marketing campaigns can reach 40% open rates, 10–20% click rates and <1% opt-out rates.
Google has been continuing to push for the success of its social media platform, Google+, by continuing to integrate it with their other products to create one digital Google ecosystem. But, they’ve also been reluctant make any of their hard user data public, which seems to indicate a certain lack of success. This initial view is partially confirmed with the data that others have gathered about Google+. With most of the media citing lack of engagement on the platform, is it worth trying to make Google+ work for your company?
Absolutely. We’ve already written about Google’s Search Plus Your World and now, with the addition of Google+ Local, I thought it would be a good time to tackle this topic. Back in September, Google acquired Zagat, and at the end of May they introduced Google+ Local which replaces the old Google Places model with a Google+ page that includes Zagat ratings and user reviews for businesses. These changes will clearly impact local businesses who rely heavily on search to generate foot traffic, but for B2B companies, the implications are a little less clear. Before you write off Google+ as irrelevant to your company, please consider the following reasons that you may want to give it a second thought:
Your presence on Google is a branding opportunity
Every time your website gets displayed in a Google search result, you are making an impression on the person performing the search. For some, Google search results are the first impression they will have of your company. If you have incomplete results or make it difficult for people to find what they’re looking for immediately, that could leave a negative impression on a potential customer. For example, when I’m logged into Google and I search “Godfrey B2B” I am met with complete information about the company, including our latest posts from our Google+ page. This is a clear indication to people who find us on Google that we want them to be able to find exactly what they are looking for quickly and easily:
However, if I search for party rental businesses in my area, I get a link to a website and a map to a location with little other information. The Google+ page for the first result is not managed by the company and the second result is actually just a link to the YellowPages. The company with the top result simply doesn’t appear well in the search results and leaves the impression that they don’t care about how they look to search engines. This is no different for B2B companies that ignore their search engine results. It’s essential that the search engine experience is taken into account when considering social media outlets, as well as overall website programming.
A well-managed Google+ page could significantly help your SEO rankings
Google is really pushing companies to use Google+ to market themselves. They are displaying relevant Google+ pages and posts in their results, which creates an chance for businesses to capitalize on an opportunity that many are still overlooking. A well-manged Google+ page provides one more resource for Google to pull into search results. If your company has a Google+ page that is relevant to a search (and is linked to your website), your page and/or webiste should be more likely to appear in a result. The idea is to give Google as much information as possible to display to people who are searching for your company or product. Google then will use all of those resources to determine which sites to display to searchers.
Google has 80.1% market share
In SEO, market share is extremely important, which means (for better or worse) Google continues to dictate what companies do to improve SEO. While the other major search engines like Bing should never be ignored, Google deserves the majority of your SEO time, budget and effort. With the changes that they have been making over the last year, it’s clear that they are fully committed to Google+. So knowing Google’s commitment to Google+, making a choice to ignore it is essentially the same as making a choice to ignore 80.1% of SEO as a whole. Companies who take SEO seriously and value it as part of their marketing efforts should take a hard look at Google+ and find a way to make it work for them because after almost a year of Google+, Google doesn’t seem to be backing away from making it work.
In some cases, in fact, Google may create a Google+ page for your company to replace your Place Page (like they did for the party rental place above) and it will be your company’s responsibility to manage it.
In the end, the argument in favor of creating a Google+ page is simply that Google isn’t offering much of a choice. But it’s better to be proactive about the changes than to be reacting to them as they occur.
Better B2B Search Rankings: How Being Social Counts
Facebook Teams Up with Bing for Social Search Results