While many people still claim that Google+ is a ghost town, Google has stated that 190 million people are now active in the Google+ stream. Additionally, 390 million are active across Google, including using Google Play, sharing videos on YouTube, and much more.
At the Google I/O conference in San Francisco last week, updates to the Google+ platform were revealed, including a new design that looks a lot like Pinterest's image-focused layout.
There were 41 new features announced, including larger photos and a multi-column layout that adjusts depending upon your device and screen size. For me, one of the best new features has to do with related hashtags. For example, if you are viewing something in your stream, Google+ will tag it and then let you view posts with related tags inline by “flipping” the box you are on and letting you scroll left or right to see related posts. Here's a good video to see this in action since it's a little hard to explain. (Tip: View the video full screen or it's too hard to see what they're doing in the video.)
I have to admit, I've never been a huge fan of Google Plus as a social network, but I do like the new redesign. And more importantly, if you are a business owner, whether you enjoy your time on Google+ or not, you absolutely can not ignore Google+ unless you want to jeopardize your search rankings.
Love it or hate it, Google+ is a Google product, right along with YouTube and Google Search, and having an established presence on Google+ can help your rankings in search results. So even if you don't think that your customers are active on Google Plus, consider how many people use Google Search to find businesses like yours – and your competitors – every single day. Can you afford to NOT get found on Google?
If it helps get you motivated to give Google+ a try, just think of it as another part of your SEO efforts! After posting new content on your site, post a link on Google+ to get it indexed faster. Link your Google+ profile to the articles you write on your blog, and establish Google Authorship. (Have you ever noticed search results that had a little photo of the writer next to it? That's made possible by Google Authorship, and you have to admit, those search results really stand out!)
So what do you think? Are you sold on using Google+ yet? How do you like the new layout? Tell me in comments!
Author: Julie Lowe