How Google Plus changed the way I think about Google Plus
Perhaps you’ve heard of Google+, the second largest social networking site in the world. I must admit that since it launched in 2011, I had been reluctant to use it. After all, doesn’t Google+ hate puppies and happiness? I was probably reluctant because nobody likes to be spoon-fed by being told what to like and what not to like. (Also, the reason I don’t like MLM’s but that’s another story.) At first, I felt that Google was just grasping at straws to insert themselves into the Social Media age.
I decided to tear down my walls of reluctance and use Google+ (before my other social media accounts) for 30 days. (Hey Matt Cutts, look at me, I’m trying something new for 30 days.) After 30 days, (well actually, really about 10 days) I was hooked. Your circles are your friends and you can segment them by friends, family, acquaintances or following. If you don’t like those options you can create your own circle like “people I don’t know who smell like cabbage”. (Yes, I really have that category, but nobody is in it yet.) But not to worry, only you can see which circles you place people in.
What in the Charles Dickens Forthright are Google+ Circles?
To translate, your circles are just like your list of friends on Facebook, or Followers on Twitter. You do have a limit of 5,000 for the total number of profiles that you can add in your circles which includes +pages. Google does this to protect users from spam. (Not sure if you’ve heard, but Google and Spam are no longer BFF’s) Although, if you’re super-duper popular (like Facebook founder +Mark Zuckerberg), there is not a max on the people that can follow you on their circles.
What are the advantages to Google Plus?
Establishing Google Authorship
Well, as it turns out, there are some advantages to being active on G+. Setting up Google Authorship is showing to be very beneficial in the SERPS. (Search Engine Results Pages) When you create a new blog or article for your site, linking it back to your Google Plus page will change the way it appears on search result pages. I’m sure by now you’ve seen a person’s picture next to the results you’ve been searching for. (Pinterest has taught us that those dang ole pictures sure are pretty.)
Which one of the results above grabs your attention first? (pictures are pretty)
So, is Google Authorship affecting SEO rankings? Well, according to Google it does not affect the way sites or articles appear in search results but it does make it more likely to get clicks. (pictures are pretty) I’m sure we will see stats in the near future that Google Authorship being placed into the big G’s algorithm in some way or another to affect results.
What are Google Plus Communities?
In my 30 day experiment with using Google+ first before my other social media sites, I really started to enjoy the different G+ communities. The communities are set up relating to a particular topic where other G+ users can share ideas, ask questions or join in conversations.
So, you don’t have a lot of people in your circles, join some communities based on your interests. And if there’s not a community that you like, you can create your own. And if you don’t want to create one or don’t know what kind of communities you like, don’t worry, (Google knows what you like better than you do) they’ll make some suggestions.
Each community can set their own guidelines to limit the drive by spammers from posting weight loss links. (I’ve lost a lot of weight thanks to Direct Messages on Twitter) The communities, similar to Linkedin Groups, allow you to find great minds that think alike. (I miss Breaking Bad.)
Overall, it was a great experiment that changed the way I looked at G+ and opened my eyes to the benefits. If you’re not using Google+, try it. If you are using Google +, add me to your circles, and I'll circle you back:
I’ll be there for you, I’ll be a shoulder to lean on, in good times and bad. (Unless you smell like cabbage)
*Google Plus does not actually hate puppies or happiness
**Google Plus is a Social Networking site and does not have the ability to feel or hate (at this point in time)
Image source:freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles