The Resident Connection, Written Posts

What I See In The Crystal Ball For Google+

3 Comments 11 October 2011

One of the fun parts about blogging is taking some risks.  I’ve made some predictions over the last few years that, well, haven’t come true.  But that’s part of the fun in making bold predictions.  I enjoy taking some risks and even trashing some big things like iFads just to see what everyone else has to say.  In the end I think it all just gets us thinking, and inspiring one another is the fuel I thrive on.  That said, I wanted to share my bold prediction for the future of Google+.

So far Google+ has had some great up sides (quick growth, integrated with other Google technology, unique features, etc.).  The big downside is that people signed up, but now they don’t use it.  Crap!  Now what?  I’ll tell you what.  Google+ for BUSINESSES.

Google+ as a social network for people was a tease.  A tease that got us all to join and to ask all of our friends to join.  Why?  Because when they open up the platform for businesses they will drop the bomb.

Weeky-wha?!?!  What bomb you say?

Let’s think about how we use Google.  We use it to search for answers, to find websites, and to find “stuff” (ie- find places to buy crap).  I could go into how that all trickles down, but let’s keep it simple.  So, what if …, what if businesses started to share more than their hours of operation, address, and general bio on Google?  What if they began to share conversations with customers?  What if they began to … more importantly … share their conversations with other businesses?  And, what if those conversations and connections show up in search results?  Now will people be more likely to engage?  I predict maybe.

But then I started thinking if that’s critical?  Facebook somewhat already has that.  So where’s the gap?  I go back to the “more importantly”.  What about the connections and conversations with other businesses.  Is there value there?  Is there value in McDonald’s having a relationship with Coca-Cola?  How about Ford with Goodyear?  What about smaller businesses like a local accounting firm and the local dry cleaner that does pick-up and drop off service at their office.  Do those relationships matter?  Hell yeah they do!

Why do they matter so much?  Because if businesses connect with other businesses and share their stories, then the Google algorithm will favor those company web pages.  Suddenly, SEO on Google turns into a game of relationships and connections instead of a game of keywords and link-backs.  Think of it like an online Chamber of Commerce.

Sound dramatic?  I guess that depends on who you talk to.  Facebook began their game by focusing on the consumer first (the end user).  Google has always been positioned moreso for businesses.  It just makes sense for their social network to play to that strength.  They have the attention of businesses, so build a social network around that and the consumers will latch on because they will naturally continue to go there for answers, to find websites, and to find “stuff”.  What they find will be influenced by more than SEO, and it will become more personal over time.

Did I even mention Android phones?  They have more data and information from an enormous sample size of the population than we even know.  That gets factored into all of this as well and will be a key piece moving forward.  I may not share my personal photos and life story on Google+ (like Facebook wants us to), but I will be happy to share my business life on Google+ if it means my business will benefit.  I predict that businesses choosing not to participate will be buried in the rankings.

Participating on Google+ for your business may look like an optional extra credit project, but I think businesses will learn quickly the only way to get an ‘A’ in Google 101 will be to take on the Google+ project.  Your strategy for Google+ will likely become more critical than any other social media effort you have worked on to date for your business.  We’ll see.

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