The evidence is starting to pile up that suggests embracing an active social strategy as part of ongoing SEO efforts may actually help improve organic rankings for enterprise ecommerce merchants, online retailers, and anyone else looking to make long term gains. In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a new player in the social media field, and they’re already kind of a big deal.
The Strategy Side
This week Google officially announced the launch of its very own social networking service, Google+, and my question to the world is this: Can we really be bothered setting up another social profile? Sure we can, and here’s why. Beyond the social function of Google+ (which may have a have a hard time detaching people from Facebook) is the underlying idea that social networks and the information that is passed from person to person through them is going to become an significant element in how search engine algorithms return the most relevant information to people.
It’s no secret that search engines observe and experiment with the content and links that are shared and distributed through Twitter and Facebook, but the launch of Google+ may be further proof that the engines are starting to rely on, or at least test further, the engagement of users to help identify and index the most popular and relevant information. So why it might be difficult to convince people to abandon their Facebook account to rebuild from scratch on Google+, there may very well be some potential business advantages in looking to fold the idea of +1 into an existing ecommerce site.
The Social Side
At the heart of so much of the activity on the web these days is the concept of connecting with others and sharing information. It wasn’t all that long ago that if you found something interesting you wanted to tell some people you had to pick up the phone and call them—one at a time. Can you imagine dialing 10 friends today so you could tell them about the insightful article you just read about the beleaguered state of our National Parks, or to let them know you just found the most amazing taco stand in the city? Yeah, me neither. How times have changed.
Like Facebook, Google+ will allow users to share links, photos and post the ever popular status update so that people know what your doing at all times. Unlike Facebook, the new Google service will allow people to be selective about whom they share information with by creating specific groups; a feature called Circles. There’s also a feature called Sparks that will enable users to collect videos or articles and then archive them so they’ll be available whenever you have time to check them out, as well as another option called Hangouts, that will allow for impromptu online video chats with your other Google+ pals.
Although Google+ is still in the testing phase with only a small number of users, it shouldn’t be long until the official rollout. But with the expanding loyalty to the dominant players of social media, will Google be able to lure people away from all that time they spend on Facebook and Twitter to commit the time to build a new social network with Google+?
Regardless, we’ll continue to follow this one closely.