Is Google+ Still Relevant?

After Vic Gundotra announced he would be stepping down from his role as the head of Google+ social efforts, the Internet had a meltdown. Does this spell the end for Google+? What will this mean for marketers and business owners who have poured their time and energy into this budding social network?

According to TechCrunch, Google+ is the “walking dead.”

 “What we’re hearing from multiple sources is that Google+ will no longer be considered a product, but a platform — essentially ending its competition with other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

A Google representative has vehemently denied these claims. “Today’s news has no impact on our Google+ strategy — we have an incredibly talented team that will continue to build great user experiences across Google+, Hangouts and Photos.”

There is a tendency in technology media to declare certain platforms and technology “dead” at the drop of a hat. That hyperbole is most certainly in play here.

What Google+ Means for Marketing in the Future

Even if Google+ stops trying to compete with Facebook and Twitter (which in fact they maintain they never were) it doesn’t mean that it’s not worthwhile to be on Google+.

The impacts on SEO, for instance, are enormous. At a minimum, every business should have its own G+ page, including reviews, hours, and basic information about the company. You simply can’t compete without it.

Google authorship is another important innovation that is ignored at your peril. Authorship is a powerful indicator of authority, which both directly and indirectly improves your SEO.

But there’s also a case to be made for using Google+ as a social media platform as well. As the backlash to the TechCrunch article has shown, Google+ users are a small but vocal contingent. So they may be more engaged and enthusiast than other social media communities. And their “plusses” still do more for your SEO than a thousand retweets when someone is searching for information in your field — Google will show logged-in users if people they know have endorsed your business. You can’t beat that kind of social proof.

In conclusion, Google+ is far from dead. It’s still a powerful tool, and a wonderful way to improve your SEO strategy. But, hey, we don’t mind if everyone thinks it’s dead. That’s less competition on this valuable piece of Internet real estate for us and our clients.