Kimberly Erskine

Google+: The Social Platform We All Love to Hate

By: Kimberly Erskine | March 16, 2016 | 

Google+ - The Social Platform We All Love to Hate and Why I Just Can't Quit It

By Kimberly Erskine

I currently work as a social media marketing manager for a busy online marketing company.

In my job, I work on a variety of different social media marketing platforms and explore new and emerging trends.

When I talk about things such as why businesses need to be on SnapChat in 2016, most people don’t think twice about listening to and agreeing with what I have to say.

However, there is one subject that has become almost taboo in the world of social media marketing: Google+.

Nobody wants to use Google+ and there’s certainly not many conversations going on about it these days.

Needless to say, I get a few strange looks from my co-workers and other social media marketers when I tell them about my secret love for Google+.

Am I crazy for loving it?

Maybe, maybe not.

In all actuality, Google+ has many benefits that marketers tend to ignore.

Here’s why I just can’t seem to quit the social platform we all love to hate.

Google+ is a Must-Have for Local SEO

It can be hard to market small mom and pop shops that have a single store located in downtown Philadelphia or a smaller suburb.

It may not have as big of a following as say, Walmart, or another massive chain store. This means it is easy to get lost in the sea of search engines.

However, Google+ is a game changer for these smaller businesses.

When smaller businesses use a well-optimized localized Google+ page, they can easily be found in the search engines.

What’s more, businesses can create multiple listings for multiple locations.

It’s a SEO Tool Not a Social Network

If you view Google+ as a social network on the same lines as Facebook, then yes, you would be correct in saying that it has “failed” or it’s “dead.”

But here’s the thing: Google+ never claimed to be the answer to Facebook; that’s all our own doing.

It isn’t meant to be a place for a ton of engagements or on-page conversations.

If it were, don’t you think they would have rolled out paid advertisements such as boosted posts, followers ads, or something similar by now?

I learned a long time ago not to view Google+ as a social network.

That’s precisely what it’s not.

Instead, it’s a great SEO tool.

Content posted on Google+ is indexed.

This means you can start to see the positive effects of your Google+ marketing almost instantly.

It’s a gold mine for SEO rankings.

It Practices Quality vs. Quantity

I like to read a lot of well-written content about my industry.

Sure, I can find this content on other networks such as Facebook or Twitter.

Twitter is the king for having a large quantity of articles related to the world of digital marketing.

However, I noticed that with a large quantity of articles available, the quality usually falters. 

Google+ users are different.

They may not post several times in one day.

Heck, they might not even post at all for a few days at a time.

But when they do, I find the content is much more valuable than what I’d find elsewhere.

It’s well researched, thought-out, and worth taking the time to read.

It’s Well Organized

On Twitter I’m connected with nearly 2,000 different users that tweet about all kinds of different things.

I have 16 lists and count on Twitter to stay organized, but it still gets pretty messy.

On Google+, I’m connected with far fewer communities and they are more niche specific.

When I feel that the communities are too diverse, I can easily filter through them.

If I want to post about the latest advancement in cochlear implants, I can select the Deaf and Loud community.

When I want to share a social media article, I can select the digital marketing community.

More specific niche communities means I can post more relevant content in front of a more relevant audience.

I also don’t have to worry as much about annoying or turning off my followers.

On Twitter, it’s not as easy to filter through your content so if it doesn’t appeal to a certain user or audience, they will unfollow you.

On Google+, with a simple touch of a button, I can be sure a post is tailored to a specific audience and an irrelevant audience is not included.

Another thing I love about the network is all of the options it gives you.

You can post text, images, videos, polls, events, and even have a live steam (also known as a “Hang Out”) all in one place, but it never looks cluttered or confusing.

Starting this past summer, Google+ even introduced “collections” where you can organize all of your different posts into different themed collections for added organization.

I don’t think it would be possible for the network to get more organized than this!

It’s Here to Stay

People have been saying for years that Google+ is dead.

If this were true, it would have ceased to exist almost immediately after it started.

But here’s the thing: It’s far from dead; it’s here to stay.

Google has made it clear they have no plans to kill Google+, and this is shown with their commitment to constantly change and better the platform.

More recently, Google+ appears to have received a full-fledge makeover with a whole new design interface.

Much of the other features are the same, but it seems to be pushing collections more and has also introduced a new communities feature, allowing you to connect and share with other users much more easily. 

Google has also made it so the network now stands alone, separate from other services such as YouTube and its other apps.

While some marketers speculated this to mean the demise, it’s actually just the opposite; it shows Google may be more committed to investing in their platform, further prolonging the life of Google+.

Whether you love or hate Google+, one thing should be evident: Your business still needs it.

If your business is not using Google+ on a regular basis, you’re missing out on all of the benefits it provides.

image credit: India7 Network

About Kimberly Erskine

Kimberly Erskine is an experienced SEO and Social Media Marketer that enjoys sharing her skills and expertise with others. She also enjoys writing and blogging and is currently in the process of writing a memoir about her experience as a recent cochlear implant recipient.

  • Great article, I always include Google+ whenever I’m sharing an article…I do need to build on my activity, and your tips will help me do that (hopefully)

    • Thank you so much for your comments! I’m glad you liked it! I always share my content on there as well. Make sure to create some relevant circles and follow other users. That should help you to build up your account some more.

  • Great tips on Google+. I always make a point of including the platform when sharing articles…I guess my instincts served me…I just need to build on my activity there

  • Hi Kimberly… this jumped out at me: “…businesses can create multiple listings for multiple locations.”
    How do you do that!? I’ve been trying to figure it out for a while. Do you know a good how-to blog post that might help me?
    –Tony Gnau

    • Hi Tony,

      When you login to your Google+ account, click on the icon on the right side. It should show you all of your pages. Scroll down and click on “all pages”. This should show you all of your listings. You should also see a blue + button that will allow you to add a listing. I believe you can do up to like 97 locations.


  • Hi Kimberly, I really enjoyed this post and have to admit that although I work with G+ every day for work, in my head it often gets relegated to “on life support.” Perhaps I need to look at it with fresh eyes! Since Tony asked his own “how come?” question I’ll throw mine in. It always struck me oddly that when someone added me, the verbiage would be [Jane Doe added you back on Google +]. Any idea at all why that is? I’ve always wondered!

    • Hi Paula,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I believe it says that if someone adds you after you add them first. If they are adding you before you add them I believe it says something along the lines of [Jane Doe added you on Google+].

  • Hi Kimberly! I never thought much of Google+, but after reading your article I want to give it a try. Seems like it’s a great platform for businesses, but why aren’t more individuals using Google+ and how can that change?

    • Hi Vania,

      Thank you so much for your comment! I think the lack of individuals goes hand in hand with all of the myths and misconceptions with the platform. People try to make it a social network for younger generations like how Facebook or Twitter is when in reality it should be more of an SEO tool — better for businesses than individuals but individuals can still use it for specific niches and networking purposes.

  • Thanks for sharing your insights! When working for clients, do you suggest creating a company based profile or individual profile?

    • Hi Hanna,

      Thank you so much for your comment! I always create a business page unless it’s for a reputation management client promoting a specific individual. For businesses I recommend creating a verified local page. If there are more than one location each location should have its own Google+ page in order to gain maximum SEO benefits and online visibility.

  • Google+ is almost the Rodney Dangerfield of Social Networks, that said I post there for SEO reasons and for that it does a great job. I think Martin Waxman of Inside PR and the University of Toronto Digital Strategy and Communications Management certificate program put it best, “Google+ is like eating your peas, not fun but good for you in the long run.”

    • Hi Bill,

      Thank you so much for your comment! I totally agree with you comparing it to eating peas, but like peas, Google+ has many benefits for your health, or in this case the health of your website/business, in the long run. 🙂

  • Spot on about the SEO benefit. I regained control of our page and post regularly. Our (association) CEO said that it’s had a positive impact even though we only have 30 followers. Thanks for the tips on collections. I’ll have to poke around to see what’s out there in continuing education. p.s. I’m indifferent to it 🙂

    • Hi Kristy,

      Thank you so much for your comment! I definitely agree that it can make a positive impact on SEO even if there’s not that many followers. Have you tried to connect with different Universities on Google+? That may be a good angle to take. Also look for hashtags including #Education. Best of luck to you!

  • I still think Google+ is a fantastic marketing tool. You are completely spot-on when you say that people have lumped it in the same category as Facebook, but what folks don’t understand is how smart and intuitive Google actually is!

    It’s a great SEO tool. It’s perfect for all types of businesses and connecting with others in your niche.

    • Hi Matthew,

      Thank you so much for your comment! I totally agree! Google+ is actually smarter than some of the other social networks in the long run. Those who aren’t utilizing it on a regular basis are missing out!