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What does the end of Google Plus mean for your business?

What does the end of Google Plus mean for your business?

Posted 03rd January, 2019 by Aidan

Right up until summer 2018, articles with headlines like ‘5 reasons you can no longer afford to ignore Google Plus’ and ‘8 reasons every business needs to be on Google Plus’ were published regularly on the Internet.

Then, at the start of October 2018, Google dropped the bombshell that it was going to shut down the service to consumers. The so-called ‘sunsetting’ of the service is scheduled to take place in August 2019.

While some people will think of Google Plus as nothing more than a relic of a social media site, there are still thought to be 395 million active users on the site every month. Although Google admits that 90 per cent of Google Plus user sessions last less than five seconds.

At the heart of this 395 million, there’s a cluster of diehard fans of the site.

Shortly after the news of the demise was released CNBC ran the headline: “Google+ is shutting down, and the site's few loyal users are mourning.”

In its article it reported: “Unlike Facebook, which has thrived by getting billions of users to share baby photos alongside ads for shoes, and Twitter, where bullies and bots have proliferated, Google+ has remained a quiet social enclave where users say they're able to engage in meaningful conversations and get useful feedback.”

So how will the death of Google Plus affect small businesses? Below we cover everything you need to know at this point.

Why is Google Plus shutting down?

The official line from Google is that it’s shutting down Google Plus due to a combination of a lack of interest and uptake and the detection of a data breach that affected 500,000 accounts.

Google’s official statement on the shutting down of the site said: “Over the years we’ve received feedback that people want to better understand how to control the data they choose to share with apps on Google+. So as part of Project Strobe, one of our first priorities was to closely review all the APIs associated with Google+.

“This review crystallized what we’ve known for a while: that while our engineering teams have put a lot of effort and dedication into building Google+ over the years, it has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps.

“Our review showed that our Google+ APIs, and the associated controls for consumers, are challenging to develop and maintain. Underlining this, as part of our Project Strobe audit, we discovered a bug in one of the Google+ People APIs.

“Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+.”

Why did people choose Google Plus in the first place?

When Google first launched Google Plus in 2011, the network was touted as a powerful SEO and digital marketing tool by experts.

Google Authorship gave writers the ability to link everything they wrote online to their Google Plus profile. Doing so was originally touted as a clever tool for increasing click-through rates and a way for authors to establish themselves as an authority in their field and therefore boost the search rankings for their posts.

Sharing articles on Google Plus was also said to help businesses rank for keywords and drive traffic to their websites and blogs.

What should businesses with a Google Plus account do about the demise?

If your business has a Google Plus account – either active or inactive – you should take the following steps ahead of the shutdown.

Backup your content

There’s a good chance your Google Plus account contains some valuable resources such as articles, blogs posts, photos, infographics and contacts.

You might already have many of these items saved in your company’s document archives, but it’s still worth downloading everything that your Google Plus account contains to be on the safe side.

The good news is, doing this is relatively pain-free. Google offers its own tool for the job called Google Takeout.

Turn your attention to Google My Business

Google Plus may be on its way out by Google My Business is well and truly alive and kicking. If you’ve not already set up a Google My Business account, now is the time to do so. It takes just a few minutes to get one up and running and you simply start by adding details like your business name, address, category, phone number and website to your profile.

Once you’ve done the simple groundwork you can then update your profile with notices about changing opening hours, new photos, videos, and posts that encourage people to sign up to your newsletter and reveal details about special offers. You can also interact with customer reviews.

Do a Google Plus mentions audit

If you’ve been using Google Plus for the past seven years like many businesses, there may be a lot of mentions of the site on your own website. In the audit, you’ll need to remove any Google Plus sharing buttons and also consider whether any of your real-world signage, merchandise or comms material such as business cards feature the Google Plus logo. All of these will need to be removed. Follow migration news

If your business is part of Google Plus’ fanbase, then you will be wondering where you can go to join a similar information sharing community online. To keep up to date on the general consensus of where the Google Plus diaspora can go, keep an eye on the Google+ Mass Migration group on Google Plus itself.

Can’t stand to see it go? Petition!

If you really don’t want to lose Google Plus, you can join the online petition to keep it at change.org. There are currently more than 33,000 signatures.

Categories: Tips, Marketing, Small Businesses

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