"Good riddance." "About time." "It wasn't dead already?"
The "Google+ is Walking Dead" rumor mill is in full force, and many social "pros" are celebrating the demise of Google's much-maligned social network. But are these feelings somewhat misguided?
Here are three reasons why you would have to be crazy to be happy about Google+ going away:
1. You were never using it correctly in the first place
As marketers, characterizing Google+ as a social network was the first step towards misappropriating the tool for what it truly was. Those who simply treated it as another news feed in which to passively post promotional updates and articles were often the ones characterizing it as a "ghost town" where engagement and referral traffic was impossible to generate.
Google+'s real value was always found in it's unique platform features: authorship attribution (personal profiles), Hangouts and GMail integration. Marketers could (and still can) use Google+ as a powerful authority engine, collaboration platform and content creation tool. They could even deliver content right to their followers inboxes, rather than relying solely on newsfeed visibility.
If you're bemoaning a lack of ROI on your efforts while treating Google+ as just another Facebook or Twitter, you failed the network. Not the other way around.
2. The SEO benefits were tremendous
The impact of Google +1s and their amazing correlation (not causation) with higher search rankings have been widely studied.
As Cyrus Shepard at Moz has reported:
- Posts are crawled and indexed almost immediately
- Google+ posts pass link equity
- Google+ is optimized for semantic relevance
I would seriously question the sanity of any marketer who happily waves goodbye to Google+ rather than lamenting the loss of an enourmous asset to SEO efforts.
While the death of Google+ wouldn't necesarily mean the death of the +1 button, it would impact the abilty to generate new +1s and shares.
Furthermore, Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, has implicitly stated that Twitter and Facebook social signals are not used to rank pages. Combine that with the fact that Facebook organic reach has diminished considerably over the past year, and it's quite curious as to why anyone would celebrate the death of Google+.
3. It's probably not going away
While articles declaring the death of Google+ are spreading like wildire, it's important to trace the (mostly unsubstantiated) rumors back to their source. At this point, every subsquent article published is simply referencing a previous rumor as fact.
Considering how ingrained Google+ is to the fabric of so many other Google products, it's importance to authorship attribution, and the fact that they are actively releasing new features (see +Post ads - 4/25/14), it's highly unlikely that Google would simply scrap the network altogether.