Let’s rewind time by a few years… Google+, back then, was one of the principal Social Media platforms that businesses would use in their Social Media Marketing mix, thanks to G+ posts being immediately indexed by Google, that purportedly influenced SEO rankings. Reality at present is not so supportive of Google+, the platform that is widely considered a failure for Google. Fading traffic and scanty activity on forums prove that there have been very few reasons to use it.
It comes as no shocker that Google+ is going away with a proposed shutdown date in April 2019. However, the surprise element is that the shutters have been pulled on Google+, not due to declining use but the revelation that it suffered a hidden data leak that possibly affected up to 500,000 accounts.
Google announced that an enterprise version of Google+ will still be available for (larger) organizations using G-Suite. But what happens to those who used it as part of their Social Media Marketing and SEO efforts, now that Google+ is shutting down? Here’s what local businesses should note:
- Don’t Fret - One Platform Less
Google+ going away means one less Social Media platform to worry about. Google+ emerged in the wave of new social networks that positioned themselves as opponents to the titans - Facebook and Twitter. However, survival of the fittest ensured that only those platforms which made a substantial difference to the marketing strategies of brands and businesses lived to tell the tale. Unfortunately, Google+ isn’t one of them! Luckily, Google+ has very little influence over local SEO, and its end doesn’t significantly affect the SEO practices of local businesses.
- Download All Google+ Data
Google+ shutting down may imply that all content posted on the platform will be lost. Nevertheless, Google stated that in the coming months, they will be providing additional directions to download and migrate data to other platforms. Meanwhile, marketers/businesses can have a head start by backing up some of the data on their Google+ accounts using Google Takeout.
- Phase Out Steadily
Still active on Google+? Now would be the time to start tapering down G+ activities, paving the way for a gradual exit. If Google+ happens to be the primary Social Media Marketing platform, it would be in a brand’s best interests to quickly identify alternatives that work well with the target audience. It is also imperative to post an official message on Google+ that directs followers to other Social Media pages.
- Get Rid of The Social Sharing Icons
Oh yes, most of us will agree that for the longest time the G+ sharing button has surely received the least number of interactions, in comparison with other icons. About time to knock it off! With Google+ going away, ensure that everything that links to it throughout the website and beyond (we’re thinking social sharing buttons for blogs, icon links to social networks in the header/footer of the website, company and personal email signatures, in-store signage, printed as well as digital marketing collateral, ‘Write a G+ review’ links, and anything else) is removed.
- Migrate Communities onto Another Platform
Google+ shutting down also means that Communities on it will be lost. In case your business runs a Community on Google+, find a way to migrate it to a different platform. While Facebook and LinkedIn Groups are the two viable options, a new group can also be set up somewhere else. Notify members of the Community about the transition date so they can switch over. Don’t wait until the Google+ shutdown date if you want a seamless transition.
- Google My Business Is Going Stronger Than Ever
Although Google+ is shutting down, Google My Business will continue to exist and perhaps will flourish too! Google My Business is a much more useful platform for boosting local SEO rankings and for putting a business on the map (quite literally). Not using it yet? Believe us, you should be!
Making sure that your Google My Business listing is claimed and verified is the first and most crucial phase of your local SEO strategy. Google My Business Posts (GMB Posts) allow businesses to share or reshare content that might have been shared on Google+ or other Social Media platforms. Although there’s a limit of 1,500 characters, it would suffice for business updates, quick notes and brief announcements. Local businesses should keep this in mind and craft GMB Posts with clear images and concise copy. This will very quickly start attracting and funnelling new customers to the website.
- Familiarize Yourself with Google’s New Data Sharing Policies:
Are you a G Suite client? Or have you developed an app that works with Google data? Don’t miss out on the need of the hour - learn more about Google’s new data sharing policies. Google security can also be verified through these links:
- Individual users with Google accounts: Google’s Security Checkup Tool
- G Suite administrators: Organization-wide Security Settings
Although unfortunate, Google+ shutting down leaves a valuable message for businesses and marketers. Stay tuned to Google’s Blog for more updates, including their official instructions related to the Google+ shut down.
Are you a local business wanting to know more about Social Media Marketing or SEO best practices? Or just need an expert consult with your digital marketing efforts? Wisoft has the professional experience and right resources that will work wonders for your business. Speak to us today!