Google+ has long been on the decline. It was largely viewed as the nerdy cousin of Facebook and other social media sites. Some, however, believed that it showed promise as an advertising secret weapon. But with the recent demise of Google+, will there be any major repercussions?
What good was Google+?
If you weren't already aware of what Google+ was, here’s the simple version. Google+ was Google's attempt at a social networking experience similar to Facebook. Launched in June 2011, the privately-owned social media platform was initially somewhat popular. As time progressed, however, users weren't all that impressed and its popularity began to quickly decline. As a social media site, Google+ was a bit of a flop but some users were able to discover and take advantage of some of the SEO advantages of using Google+.
The biggest battle for any business is visibility. The more people see of your company, the more business you will generate. Google's ranking algorithms loved Google+ pages because they were specifically designed by Google to be used in the ranking process. Google+ pages ranked higher and faster than other social media platforms, because it was coded to be easily compatible with Google's search algorithms. A business could easily jump into the top three search spots within hours of posting a blog or photo promoting their business. .
Goggle + wasn't a big hit.
The Google+ design was considered by many to be clunky and challenging to use. Google+ was originally created as an alternative to the popular Facebook. It was far more complex than Facebook though, rather than just having everyone be a "friend" you could accept people under a different "relationship" status and categorize them based on the information you wanted to share with them. This is especially helpful for people who work in niche markets like teachers who want to trade lesson plans and other related materials. Google+ also had features that allowed users to have group "hang outs" which made meetings and other gatherings convenient. The problem with all these extra features is that Google+ isn't very user friendly for your average user. Social media users like the idea of these features, but the whole approach was better suited to the tech-savvy user.
In 2015, Google attempted a major redesign of Google+ in an effort to connect more with a more general audience. They tried reducing white space and creating an algorithm to hide spam from comments; they tried bringing back the "events" feature. “Our aim [wa]s to make Google+ the best place to connect around the things you care about.” Danielle Buckley, Google+ product manager said.
Even after the major redesign, Google+ was still better suited for business-use rather than personal use. The future of Google+ seemed to be solidly in the business realm. The social network worked well only for people in niche markets. By prioritizing G suite productivity apps, they left the general public feeling alienated and the business owner feeling grateful. It seemed that Google+ would never make it as a social network but it helped businesses to connect profile identities to many of Google's services.
Cause of Death
As far back as March 2018, Google became aware of a flaw in the Google+ design that could have proved disastrous to users. The design flaw would have made it possible for up to 438 external apps to allow usernames and other sensitive personal information to be taken. With the whole Facebook data mining debacle, the timing of the discovery was a sign to Google. Rather than face a congressional hearing along with other social media platforms, Google chose to remain absent and quiet on the subject.
Data breaches send the public and media into a frenzy. The thought of anyone's identity being compromised by a trusted company leaves a sour taste in everyone's mouths. Though the company hasn't found any evidence that the flaw had been exploited, a decision was made to pull the plug. There hasn't been a lot of stir over Google's discovery and subsequent action, partially because there hadn't actually been a data breach. The other reason that people aren't too flustered is probably because of how few users were left using Google+.
The decision to dump the project rather than attempt to secure the network was an easy one to make. Unless you were one of those users who was in a niche market or a business owner trying to boost your Google ratings, Google+ won't be too sorely missed.
So what does the demise of Google+ mean to the small business?
The short answer is that in a world without Google+, small businesses will no longer have a secret weapon anymore. Gone will be the days when a business could boost their ranking status with a few quick Google+ updates. The up side is that even though Google+ is gone, Google still has a wide variety of tools to help small businesses with their SEO and other digital advertising needs. Google my Business can help your business boost SEO standings and help keep your web presence organized.
Don't lose heart, though, because Google won't be closing the doors on Google+ officially until August of 2019. From a business owner's stand point it makes sense to take advantage of Google+ and the SEO benefits while its still alive. A few months can make a huge difference in your company's marketing strategies. In that amount of time, with the help of a Google+ account, a company has the potential to increase their consumer base significantly. It's also possible that by the time Google+ officially shuts it's "doors" for the last time, your company could have a strong enough web presence that you would no longer need Google+. And Google may still come up with another great product that can help boost your businesses SEO standings; it's not like Google+ was the companies first and only attempt at a social network.