Google+: Do Bloggers Need It?
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn… these days it feels like a new social media platform is popping up every day, and now a search engine giant has jumped on the band wagon; Google!
The search engine’s bid for social media glory, Google+, has just celebrated its 2nd birthday and has already reached the 500 million user mark. Quite impressive. Although what we really want to know is; what makes Google+ so different from its competitors, and is it actually useful for bloggers?
Same, same but different
It may not seem like it on the surface but Google+, or G+ as it’s also known by, is really quite unique from Facebook and the like. One key difference is the platform’s ability to influence Google searches. Thinking about it, we really should have seen this one coming… Not only does it use your contacts to adapt your search results, but it is also starting to shape search results.
Another step up from the standard social network site is circles. Circles are essentially people you follow segmented into groups, a little like Facebook lists, e.g. co-workers, influencers, family. Therefore if you log into your Google+ account one day, and only want to see what the influencers are sharing, you can segment their posts. Likewise if you wanted to share something with only your co-workers (like an inside office joke that no one else will get) then you can segment and share.
The perfect solution to hanging out with your fellow bloggers and readers without meeting them in person. A rival to Skype, Google+ Hangouts allows you to chat to whomever you want – even President Obama. Initially one could only ‘hangout’ with up to 10 people where everyone could see everyone. But now Google+ has upped its game and released Hangouts On Air, where you can broadcast live on video to the public.
One of the key benefits for bloggers is the way G+ can influence search results – if you’re in someone else’s circle, you will come up in their standard Google search. This means that your blog and subsequent posts are likely to rank higher than bloggers without Google+. So basically it’s an amazing, unintentional SEO strategy!
Populating your profile with your own blog content gives readers another way to follow you, and with just a click of a button, your blog can be posted to all their followers. Users can also share your blog as part of a circle, i.e. ‘foodies’, ‘super mums’, ‘macho men’. What’s more, if enough people are loving your blog and continually share it, it could even make Google’s ‘What’s Hot’ list, amazing.
If you use other Google products such as Blogger and YouTube, a Google+ profile will unite all your profiles and help to strengthen your online fingerprint with every 1+, vlog post and blog comment you make. Hangouts can also be a great way for vloggers to connect with their audiences in real time or to bring to life how-to guides and room tours.
Now you’re ready to explore and enjoy what Google+ has to offer! Even if you don’t want yet another social network to post to, we’d recommend giving it a try, if only to safeguard your blogging brand. I mean it is Google after all, and if they can’t get social networks right, who can?
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