SEO

Google + (Plus) Shuts Down...Why This Matters, And The Huge Implications For Everyone

google+ shuts down why this matters.PNG

Google+ is/was Google’s social network for people. Google+ launched in 2011, and wasn’t the first social network that Google tried to create to compete with Facebook. Led by Vic Gundotra and Bradley Horowitz, the philosophy coming out from them back then about social media was: “we believe online sharing is broken,” as stated in this TechCruch article. This was back in 2011. Imagine what they think now. Super broken on many levels, from broken data security to human behavior. Both of these reasons contributing to the expedited and now immediate shutting down of Google+.

What Is Google+?

Google+ was a place where you could share articles, share photos, connect with people who were your friends or random people you’d never met. You could organize them by “Circles,” which was at first neat, but then became laborious as you kept organizing and micro-organizing your connections. You could chat with others, message, and just play like you would in a social network.

For SEO (search engine optimization) purposes, Google+ was great. Because it was a product of Google, the leaders of how SEO works, you had some faith that articles shared on Google+ would get higher treatment in search results. For instance, posting an article I wrote to Google+ would be part of my digital content strategy, because that post would show up in search results, thereby taking up space on Page 1 of Google search results to elbow out my competitors, especially if my actual article was already ranking highly. In fact, according to Google+ Support: “there's no way to make the content you share not searchable.” Hurray!

Google+ is much more than SEO, however. Google recognized that people like sharing documents, conversations and photos with each other, so they built a Google+ enterprise tool where companies can use it internally on private networks. The enterprise version of Google+ will continue to live.

What Happened? Why Is Google+ Shutting Down?

Two reasons: people just weren’t using it, and a data leak impacting 52.5 million people.

Despite myself knowing the high value of Google+, even I stopped using it years ago. Of all of the hundreds of articles I’ve ever written, I’d only shared/posted maybe 20 to my Google+ account. Google+ was just so clunky to use. Normal things to do, like sharing an article, or connecting with someone, was so hard to figure out how to do. The user experience of its ecosystem seemed discombobulated - disconnected - sliced and diced.

Developers at Google and these big social/data companies seem to spend most of their focus on creating new tools, and then creating more tools on top of those tools. They seem dedicate less time to studying and understanding how their users are actually using and interacting with their tools.

When Google first announced the shutting down Google+ (aka “sunsetting,” which is the sexy and friendly version of “shutting down”), they marked “poor usage” as a driving factor. They finally did a very deep dive in October 2018 into how their users used the tool, and found that most people actually didn’t.

But in that deep dive, Google also found a data leak. Impacting 52.5 million people. Eeps. That’s when Google announced that they were shutting down Google+, and would do it gradually, ending in August 2019.

However, they announced in December 2018 that they were speeding that up, and were starting everything now, and would end in April 2019, with some connections ending on March 7, 2019. 9to5Google laments the shutdown, and alerts people to different API failures that will begin happening if developers don’t update their tools to stop using Google+.

Is Google+ Widely Used In Places You Don’t See?

Creators at Google believe in sharing. That’s why the Google search engine was created in the first place. To share the world’s content. Google has also been known to respect its users and their privacy (I know - debatable as they have all of our data - but they’ve arguably been the most proactively protective about it). An “open source” market was born, which means that developers (i.e. people who code and make things work on the internet), could design things that would connect with Google+ and work with it. These are called APIs.

The ability for developers to connect into Google+ using an API to grab your data for some reason (like to log into something to make your life more convenient) was exposed. Google patched that, but got spooked, and have expedited the shutdown. There are probably more vulnerabilities, and for a tool that nobody is using, what’s the use in maintaining it. As they said here in their announcement.

What This Means For Buzz Building Business Owners

One less thing for you to do! You don’t need to share there, and you don’t need to know how it works anymore. Hurrah.

Why Google+ “Sunsetting” (aka Shutting Down) Is A Bummer

For the SEO reasons, and for the “let’s not depend on Facebook to share our information” reasons. If Google’s shutting down has a theme song, it would be Tiffany’s: “Could’ve Been.”

Why This Matters To People

Social media is run by Facebook and Twitter right now. It used to also be run by Instagram, but since those co-founders resigned in late 2018, implying too much meddling by Facebook, it’s down to Facebook and Twitter (Facebook owns Instagram). Oh right. Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitch, and a few others. But really, it’s just the first two.

The Facebook and Twitter founders approach life very differently. We have Jack Dorsey at the helm of Twitter, trying to keep it going and steering it in the turbulent sea of trolls and bad human behavior and data privacy. Jack gets very philosophical and thinks deeply about the social product and how it impacts people.

In the other corner, we have Mark Zuckerburg, who is nobody’s favorite, and maybe nobody’s friend despite his high friend count on Facebook, who is snarky and condescending when appearing before Congress and in any news interview, yet still remains relevant because people keep using Facebook.

There are other social networks, and each one will be tested by the trials that Google, Facebook and Twitter are currently enduring. People have asked: “Can’t someone just create a new social network so that we don’t need to use Facebook?” But can we wait for each of these new social networks that pop up to prove themselves and carve their belief system and actions to back that up?

Google was a big daddy that has flaws, but is a leader in (trying) to do right by its users. Google grew so big, working in so many different fields (healthcare, cars, phones), that they renamed to Alphabet (their website is abc.xyz - cute), and Google is a fraction of what they now offer to the world.

Google+ could have been a social network for people to turn to after Facebook burns down. But it just wasn’t designed visually very well, and there were no signs that that would have improved.

Could have been so beautiful…

Next Live Broadcast of TuneUp: SEO + Social

We’re in the middle of a “social migration,” as we’re calling it here at Tin Shingle. Behavior at social platforms like Facebook and Instagram are changing. Usage activity at Facebook is still high, but it’s an increasingly questionable place, both with data privacy, and being over-designed and over-stuffed with information, causing users to miss a message.

As reported by CNBC in March 2018: “Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence Wednesday on the Cambridge Analytica data scandal that's plagued the social media giant in recent days and slashed stock value. ‘We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you,’ Zuckerberg said in a statement posted to his Facebook page.”

Instagram’s co-founders abruptly resigned from Facebook two weeks ago, just one week before Facebook announced another data breach. They had worked there for six years after the merger, which apparently is a long time in the world of acquisitions. Would Facebook ever pull the plug on their-self if they were too weighed down with data issues? It's a very unlikely scenario, but is implied by Mark's statement. Plus, Facebook has deleted websites they have purchased in the past (like that data storage website Drop.io that was pre-Dropbox and we stored lots of stuff there!).

So social is on shaky ground. We all want to connect, and we will, but what do you have in your own tool belt (hopefully) all of the time that you can control?

Your website.

And how are people finding it?

Googling stuff.

What are they going to find there?

Amazing content you’re going to put there, and lots of pictures.

What do people do after they Google things? They buy things and subscribe to newsletters. Your newsletters and your products and services.

That’s right. Good old fashioned SEO.

The three most important things you can be doing right now for your business is what we will be covering in this TuneUp - so go register for it right now:

  • Making your website pretty and alive

  • Sending newsletters to the people who subscribed and really do want to hear from you - frequently (they really do!!!)

  • Posting to Instagram (yeah, do it, we’ll be watching to see if and how the user experience at Instagram changes, but so far, keep posting)

Join Katie live at 3pm EST to hear refreshing SEO Tips, Newsletter Tips, and how to be treating your social.

SEO Opportunity: When A Celebrity Speaks, The People Take to Google - Be In Their Search Results!

PR and SEO have gone hand in hand for years. So much so, that Tin Shingle was actually designed around their union, to help you identify SEO opportunities from PR mentions. Case in point, as pointed out in this tiny blurb in Allure Magazine's September 2018 issue: When Kylie Jenner announced on Instagram that she removed the filler from her lips, "Google searches for 'lip filler removal' spike 10,000% that same day." Those types of Google searches - we'll call that SEO Gone Wild - is an open market for businesses and experts who specialize in this field to quickly benefit from Kylie's words.

I first witnessed this SEO magic when I was blogging on my first blog in about 2005, when the TV show One Tree Hill was on. A character on the show started a clothing line - Clothes Over Bros - that you could also buy in real life. My blog covered fashion stuff, and I loved that show, so it was natural for me to blog about it the night the episode aired. Overnight, traffic to my blog website soared. Everyone was searching for the clothing line, and no one else had written about it yet. My blog post, which I did make sure to write in a very SEO friendly way, outranked articles at major magazines who later did write about it.

An influx in searches like that will happen for a few hours at least. Maybe for a few days. This is why you want to be aware of what celebrities are saying, and then write articles about it at your own blog on your business website. Now with social media, you will right away want to create a picture post to your Instagram with a caption that includes those words, and uses hashtags that are related to the terms.

Not only will you possibly sell product from a mention like this - which is a PR mention that had nothing to do with your business!! you're just riding the wave  - but you could get PR as well. Now that a celebrity like Kylie said this about lip filler, it's a timely trend. The media will now prioritize this subject in their articles or TV segments. The media will be looking for sources to quote and products to feature immediately, to also ride that wave of the public's attention.

This is why having a blog at your own business website (some  businesses call it "News") is such an important tool in your marketing toolbelt. You must be able to control the content that first starts coming out of and representing your brand, but you also must create breadcrumbs for people to find. Think of these blog articles as little fishing hooks. If you are hoping for attention, fishing for exposure, then that is sort of like fishing. You're waiting. Having more fishing hooks in the water with good bait on it (good pictures, links in the article, great content), then you'll attract more fish.

Of course, SEO is the passive way of getting exposure. Actually going out to get PR requires more pounding of the pavement, targeted outreach, personalized emails, etc. Doing both targeted PR outreach and creating passive SEO opportunities are two strategies you should be doing at all times. The passive SEO work will have very good long term impact!

What Do You Mean By "SEO Work?"

The world of SEO is tainted by scientific formulas and baseless promises on instant Google ranking if you pay a price or do something convoluted with database submissions. All bruhaha. What I mean by SEO work is Creative Writing and Timeliness.

When you write an article in your blog section of your website about something in the news, you can write it in a way that:

  • Informs your reader.
  • Inspires your reader to trust you.
  • Directs your reader on where to go to get what you sell or contact you about your expertise.

That's it! There is a recipe to making your article SEO Yummy, which I'll talk about in this Tip Sheet, "The Celebrity SEO Effect: How to Score New Sales and Exposure from a Celebrity Mention of a Trend", but that's all it is. Just so you know, I majored in Communications in Media Studies, and was one class shy of a Creative Writing Minor. So that's why organic SEO methods come naturally to me, and they can to you as well.

Training TuneUp Webinars To Further Your Celebrity Quest

Tin Shingle produces Training TuneUp online classes to give you pre-recorded face-to-face training in PR, SEO, Social Media and Newsletter Marketing efforts. Pro Members of Tin Shingle get to listen to these for free. Here are a few you will like that are related to this strategy:

Training TuneUp:
How to Get Celebrity Buzz for Your Brand Even If They Aren't Using It

Training TuneUp:
SEO and How to Bait the Online Sales Hook Part 1

Training TuneUp:
SEO and How to Bait the Online Sales Hook Part 2