Google’s new social network, Google plus is starting to gain more users since being taken out of Beta testing after three months and opened up to the public, it was reported that there are around 43 million users so far, which is around a 30% rise in users since the the beta testing finished. Whilst not making a dent on Facebook or Twitters number of users yet, it does look like a promising start after the disaster that was Google Buzz. I have been using Google plus for around 2 months now and all in all I am finding it an interesting social network.
With its unique circles which allows you to separate your different social groups Google + has in my opinion come up with a great idea to keep all your social networking in one place, for example I have one circle for close friends, one for family another for clients and one for fellow Web designers. This keeps all of my different groups in a organized manner and keeps everyone happy. My family don’t want to be reading about work related stuff and I don’t which to share my personal life with my clients!
But can Google + ever be as big as Facebook?
That is a tough one to answer and I really do think it all depends on which direction Google takes and whether they can continue to add more unique features to carry on gaining momentum, there does seem to be a fair amount of anti Facebook feeling right now but I really don’t believe Google’s model is strong enough to contend at the moment. Bearing in mind Facebook has an estimated 750 million users and Twitter around 200 million it will take a lot for people to let go of their comfort blanket and right now that blanket is Facebook.
One interesting point to make is the news that business profiles will soon be available, which for anyone with a brand to promote this will be a must in the same way business pages and tweets are, currently only two official companies have been granted a profile which are General motors and Ford but there are a number of unofficial business profiles already out there.
With Google integrating their Google plus (their version of a like) and these showing up on searches and having the ability to track these on Analytics, there does seem to be signs that in the future Google may well take these into account for ranking web sites, though they haven’t stated as much the effort they have put into the plus button indicates to me that we should expect this to be used as another process in your off site SEO, we currently are testing all the time what effects this will have in the serp positions of our SEO clients. The most notable results at the moment are the fairly obvious ones like brand awareness and once the business profiles are opened up to the public i would expect the numbers of users on Google + plus to surge again as every savvy business owner should want to jump in on this, the future for Google + looks rather good right now.
Matt Gent is a Internet marketing consultant and partner at SEO Rank Tank, you can connect with Matt at Google + at http://gplus.to/mattgent
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