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Google+ is Google’s own social network, enabling brands to build relationships with prospects, customers, and other businesses

Similar to other networks, you can share information and images, promote yourself as an individual and, if used correctly, Google+ can be a powerful social media marketing tool. The importance of Google+ should be assessed on an individual basis, as it is based on your unique appeal. If it is thought to be of benefit to your brand, it should be used as part of your overarching social media strategy.

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What is Google+?

Google+ is Google’s flagship social network, allowing users to connect easily and often, through interests and friendship. It’s not an independent service – instead, it is integrated and connected through all Google services as part of the ‘ecosystem’. Interactions with individuals or companies are based…

Google+ follows Pinterest with a new 'Collections' feature

Rating: [rating=2] Recommended Link: Google Official announcement - Introducing Google+ Collections With this new feature Google+ seems to be following the popular model of Pinterest boards, where posts can be categorised into topics and interests, to share with family and friends on the same basis as the posts. You can see the example at the head of this post where we grouped some of our infographics and they appear as 'cards' similar to Pinterest. Google explains 'Collections' this way:   "Every collection is a focused set of posts on a particular topic, providing an easy way for you to organize all the things you’re into. Each collection can be shared publicly, privately, or with a custom set of people. Once you create your first collection, your profile will display a new tab where other people can find and…

Google’s use of “rel=author” markup to stop but Google+ posts to continue featuring in search results

Importance: [rating=4] Recommended link: Google announcement of end of Authorship

Summary of the change

John Mueller of Google Webmaster Tools announced in a personal Google+ post on 28th August that Google will now stop showing authorship results in Google Search, and will no longer be tracking data from content using rel=author markup. From a Google user point of view this means you will no longer see author images in pictures like this one from a briefing written by Chris Soames in 2012: In fact, you may have noticed from around a month ago that Google removed the author images. In this new announcement they are taking the next step and removing the author information too. We’re also alerting you to this since more significantly from an SEO point of view Google has said that they are no…

Google MyBusiness replaces Google Places for local businesses and provides a new Google+ admin page service for all businesses

Value/Importance: [rating=2] Recommended link: Announced on 12th June 2014, this has been touted as a major change, with an in-depth review by Search Engine Land for example. But we have rated it as relatively low in value and importance for marketers since it should’t be overhyped - it doesn’t involve new options for marketing, rather it is a new labelling to be aware of. It’s an attempt by Google at providing a more unified business offering from Google. It’s a good move since it aims to reduce the confusion between Google+ for Business and Google Places which it replaces.

What you need to know / do

1. If you or your clients are looking to register a local business within Google, e.g. to be visible in Google Maps, you now need to go to…

Google+ best for Google, but best for your brand?

In its most recent update on the number of active Google+ users, Google now claims that on a monthly basis 540 million users are actively interacting with Google+ across Google. Perhaps more significantly, 300 million users are active interacting with the Google+ "in-stream" in some way, and not just logging into using the unified platform to check email or watch a video on YouTube. This data from on social media network platform active usage from Global Web Index also suggests Google+ is now more significant than Twitter or LinkedIn measured in this way. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="485"] Network growth Q4 2013[/caption] This best the questions for marketers, that with 540 million active users in total, can Google+ finally lose the 'ghost town' label? Overall it seems wrong to characterise it as a…

64 ways to use Google+ for marketing

Are you new to marketing on Google+? Or perhaps looking for new ideas on how it can support your branding strategies? This simple infographic from Socialmediaonlineclasses.com is a quick checklist to review suggesting 64 ways to use this growing social media platform. With 540 million users per month, Google+ should be considered as a core social media marketing platform for sharing content and engaging through different features including Google Hangouts or perhaps Google+ communities.

Additional resources for Google+ on Smart Insights

Smart Insights guide to Google+ Google+ hangouts post Google+ for outreach post Google+ vs Facebook post Google+ Features post Google+ Communities post …

A tutorial to getting ready to take advantage of this new feature

Google is readying to add company logos in their search results and they appear to be making it relatively painless to implement.  It is easy to test to see if your site is correctly set up to allow Google to use the company logo. This short tutorial shows you how to test if a business ready and set it up if it isn't. Although this feature hasn't been released yet, you may have noticed that Google is displaying a logo, link to the Google+ page and recent updates using the preview box on the right for a brand search. So it's also worthwhile checking whether you have this covered.

HOW to get your logo into SERPS:

1: Create a company GOOGLE+ account

Many businesses to date have avoided or overlooked setting up a…

Yes 41 feature updates - here's our top 5 from the Google I/O announcements

Modern marketers have always had to take Google+ seriously, because of Google's dominance in Search. Yet, there are other reasons too... with the proliferation of Android users on mobile (now 900 million Android activations, up on the 400 million last year); Chrome with its 750 million browser users and now the reported growth of Google+ to 343 million users - there are more and more reasons to keep a very close eye on what Google are doing. Not to mention Google Glass.

It's always been tempting to just focus on Facebook and to a lesser extent Twitter for B2C social media marketing and advertising, and given that Facebook shrugged off rumours of Facebook fatigue with large user increases in 2012 (now over 640m users) it's still tempting to do so. Google+ is the second largest social…

How to avoid Google+ being another push channel Last week, I attended BrightonSEO where one speaker asked an interesting question showing how agencies manage social media channels for their clients: "How many people here manage Twitter profiles for clients?" > Around half still raised their hands "How many people here manage Facebook pages for clients?" > Slightly more than half of the room raised their hand "How many people here manage Google+ accounts for clients?" > Three quarters of the room raised their hand I know it was an SEO conference and there are obviously search benefits for Google+ pages, but can this be correct? Hmm... We now know that Google+ is catching up with Facebook in terms of active users, and that keeping on the right side of the search giant is a must, but are brands really taking that much notice of the social network? Well it seems so. 75% of the top 100…

Google+ communities and 24 other minor new features

Value/Importance: [rating=2] Recommended link: Google+ Communities Announcement Google+ is certainly continuing to grow. In the announcement of this launch, Google reminds us about the adoption rate with these new figures: “Today Google+ is the fastest-growing network thingy ever. More than 500 million people have upgraded, 235 million are active across Google (+1’ing apps in Google Play, hanging out in Gmail, connecting with friends in Search…), and 135 million are active in just the stream”. So we have to be aware of new features and question their value for marketing. How relevant do you think the new Communities feature is?

Google+ Communities

Remember Yahoo! Groups and Google Groups? Well, although these quietly continue to exist, the latest version of these is Google+ Communities. As with the equivalents on Facebook and LinkedIn there are public and private groups. Differences are that you can offer hangouts and Events to group members…