5 Reasons Why Small Businesses Should Use Google+

We’re all aware of Google+ by now. Heck, you might even know a few people who use it. The truth is, Google+ has a high probability of being the next big thing. This is why we think small businesses should get on Google+ now.

1. It’s Growing fast. Facebook is the closest comparison in terms of other Social networks. By comparison, Google+ is growing faster by strict numbers. Facebook launched in February 2004 and has 1 billion users today, averaging around 111 million users per year. Google+ launched in June 2011 and has 400 million users (with only around 100 million of them active) source Technically, the growth rate is 4x that of Facebook.

Comment: Small business users should be interested in the growth because Google+ has already incorporated business pages (which means they’re already providing early opportunity for businesses to get in), and Google+ is already affecting search results on Google (more on this below).

2. Already Affecting Search Results: Any result that you see that incorporates an image (see attached screenshot) is a post by a Google Plus user. Currently, Google+ individual accounts are what cause this to occur. It’s generally accepted that posts by these qualified individuals can influence search results and rank higher. Other social signals can yield similar results, but Google+ users get the benefit of:

a. It’s GOOGLE’s algorithms

b. It’s a trusted individual (qualified by Google), and the images in SERPS yield

c. better accountability for the information.

3. Roadblock – Reviews: You now have to be a Google+ user in order to leave reviews on Google. Why this is good? It allows for better accountability on the review. A user will have to create a profile and fill it out before leaving the review. Anything they leave will now be visible on their Google+ feed for anyone to view instead of having to look back in a review history. This should all result in better quality, authentic reviews.

4. It’s only going to get better (and more prevalent): The growth will continue as Google figures out new ways to rope more people in. Google has many products that an enormous amount of people use whether they are logged into a Google account or not: such as Search, Maps, Gmail and Youtube. It’s likely that Google will find out more ways to reach these people in an effort to increase the their Google+ base. It’s also likely that Google will continue its trend to start favoring qualified users in the search results as the better accountability and personal connections generate better visits and user experiences. By allowing even more influence in the search results by google+ users, the user base will continue to grow.

Application: Small businesses can better utilize their team of experienced individuals to create content and promote on Google+ and link up with that content through their Google+ accounts as an author. If they can work this out, then they’ll have a slew of individuals who can create quality content, for the business, which can all affect Google SERPS in favor of the business.

5. Local results: A majority of small businesses conduct business locally. Google’s local search results are heavily affected by the integrated map results. These results were always influenced by pages previously called Google Places, which small business owners could claim and add information to. Google has migrated Google places into a Google+ platform called Google+ Local. It’s pretty much the same as Google places except you have to join to leave the reviews. Also there are some more features available on the pages such as open table reservations link for restaurants, menu links, reviews by a point system, and the local results in Google+ can be sorted by people in your circles etc.

Conclusion: It seems that Google will eventually migrate everything to the Google+ platform. If you want to search for something you’d use Google+ and get more personal results. Personalized search is the future (in reality it’s already present) so the sooner small businesses can begin their Google+ footprint, the more likely they’ll affect a searcher’s “personal” results in the future.