I would like to introduce to you, Return of the Google Jedi. Using Google’s Empire for your business.
May shaped up to be a momentous month for Google’s Empire and it appears that they did not want to be outdone by Facebook’s historic IPO. There was plenty of sideshow entertainment, such as Google’s team of lawyers finally smiting down Oracle’s patent infringement claims, Larry Page on Charlie Rose whining about Facebook’s data hogging, and Sergey Brin running around the globe showing off his Google glasses. However,mixed in with these shenanigans were three seemingly unrelated developments that, when taken together, outline the future of Google’s social strategy. AND…business owners around the globe, like yourselves, should pay attention.
The Tech Empire recently announced the merger of its local search product, Places, into its fledgling social media site, Google+, to create Google+ Local. With the flick of a switch,Google transferred 80 Million Google Places pages into the same number of Google+ Local Pages, essentially forcing Google+ down the throats of millions of small business owners in one stroke (as with all great Empires who have learned since time immemorial, if the carrot isn’t working, make sure you’ve got the stick handy).
For small businesses, the change may actually prove to be a good thing, especially given that Google has incorporated Zagat reviews (free of charge) into the new product, allowing G+ users access to the company’s comprehensive 30-point reviews of local merchants. Interestingly, Zagat’s review system will also appear outside of Google+, on both Google Maps and SERP’s. (For those who don’t know, SERP stand for search engine results page.) BTW, speaking of Searhc Engine Results Pages, yes, Google’s search engine will be indexing Google+ Local Pages (as if you had to ask). They are also putting emphasis on photos and the use of the “Street View” from Google Maps.
With the introduction of Google+ Local, the Tech Empire is trying to drive more qualified traffic to its flagging social site by compelling millions of business owners to create engaging, interactive, and geo-locally relevant Google+ Local pages that automatically integrate with Google’s search engine. Much like siege warfare, this strategy may eventually work, especially if you’ve got a really smart, context-savvy search engine.Like…
…Google’s Knowledge Graph. I must admit the idea of a quasi-intelligent search engine that can distinguish the meaning of queries based on context (aka semantic search) is pretty cool stuff. Knowledge Graph’s context-savvy results are supposed to spur people on to do more searches. This in turn gives users a greater chance to eventually stumble down the Google+ rabbit hole…or rather…to interact with Google+ Local Pages. AmitSinghal (Google’s master of the “ranking algorithm” which are the formulas that decide which Web pages best answer each user’s question)confirmed this to the Wall Street Journal last week, noting “people are interacting with [the Knowledge Graph] more” and “doing more queries.”
Unless you type in Facebook or Bing, that is. According to Facebook analytics firm PageLever, Google referrals to Facebook Pages have dropped 51% year-over-year; traffic from Google to Bing has fallen even more dramatically (57%). Maybe the Knowledge Graph induces more searches for all queries except those of it’s principle competitors. Of course…it could be a glitch in the system. In any event, an AI-juiced semantic search engine fused with an algorithm favoring Google’s local-optimized (with Google+ Local) social network would be of great advantage to companies that build up their Google+ Pages, right? In the absence of voluntary mass adoption of G+, Google’s decided to stack the deck. Very Empire-like of them, isn’t it?
And finally, we come to the cherry on top of Google’s social strategy: the introduction of the G+ social share button on YouTube. Or, as I like to call it, social search, the video edition. No big deal, you say? Taken in isolation it isn’t. But given the huge shift to all things social video in recent months, the move is another signal that Google is doubling down on Google+. By pushing G+ on YouTube, Google is getting a double benefit. By tapping into YouTube’s massive audience of 800 million monthly users (in 2011, YouTube had 1 Trillion views, or almost 140 views for every person on Earth), they can draw huge traffic to G+, bringing social video sharing to its social network. Perhaps more importantly, the move gives G+ access to YouTube’s huge mobile audience. There are 600 million mobile views on YouTube each day. This is especially significant given the US consumer shift to online video. The average American is now watching 21.8 hours of online video- up 46% from last year.
Much like the evil Emperor on Star Wars going to great lengths to keep his prize possession (Darth Vadar) alive, Google is doing its level best to pump life into Google+ by forcefully integrating its search engine (Knowledge Graph), geo-local (Maps and Places), and social video capabilities with its Google+ social network; the Tech Empire is clearly doubling down on social. Google’s moves represent a concerted push to assimilate businesses into its Google+ social network. My advice to all businesses great and small: get down with Google+, or face the consequences. Like all empires before it, preserving the existing order (with Google on top of course) is of the greatest importance to Google. To do this, Google needs businesses and users alike to put their faith in Google+ and start interacting with the social site in a meaningful way. Whatever happens, Google Plus is NOT going away, so make sure that you get your business an online presence with Google + Local by adding the following to your social media platforms. First, if you don’t have a Google Account, get one, and make sure you add a Gmail account, as well as a Google Voice #. Then activate your Google Plus Profile AND a Google + Local Page that is completely optimized. Next get yourself a YouTube Channel and start adding videos. Either professionally made or just upload them from your phone or iPad. Then make sure your using some type of Social Media tracking software to analyze what’s working and what’s not. Remember, not every type of business or niche works with every type of social media.
As Google doubles down on its Google+ social network, the Tech Empire expects businesses to fall in line-or else. Recall the words of CEO Larry Page, who said on a recent interview with Charlie Rose, “I think it’s been unfortunate that Facebook has been pretty closed with their data.” And Google’s traffic to Facebook is down 51% this year. Or, as Darth Vadar once said, AUDIO - “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”Are there any questions?
Thank You, ladies & gentlemen, for allowing me to speak today & thanks for listening. AND…if you need help understanding how to get your business an online presence with Google + Local, please contact me.
Google Jedi Master
Return of the Google Jedi Using Google’s Empire For Your Business
GOOGLE’S EMPIRE STRIKES BACK Googles Double Down On Social
ReferencesHorton, C. (2012, June 1) TheEmpire Strikes Back: GoogleDoubles Down On Social Retrievedfrom Social Media Today website:http://socialmediatoday.com/node/543691McGee, M. (2012, May 30) GoogleSays Knowledge Graph Has Led toMore Searches. Retrieved fromSearch Engine Land website:http://searchengineland.com/google-says-knowledge-graph-has-led-to-more-searches-122792?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feed-main%20%20%20Robles, P. (2012, May 31) SearchEngine Driving Less Traffic toFacebook Pages: Report .Retrieved from eConsultancywebsite:http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/10027-search-engines-driving-less-traffic-to-facebook-pages-report?utm_medium=feeds&utm_source=blogSchmoyer, T. ( 2012, May 22) HowSocial TV Influences Social VideoMarketing. The Reel Web, Episode40, Retrieved from YouTubewebsite:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klpID2meRzM