About 2 years ago, I made a simple bet with my wife. We still argue about the exact terms, but they (essentially) were: “I (me) bet you a fancy dinner that Google+ will be the most important social network for marketers in 2 years.”
I was wrong. I will eat crow.
Fancy, deeply broiled, lightly marinated, sautéed to perfection crow…but crow nonetheless. I knew it was a fool’s bet from the beginning. But, I wanted to prove a point – a point I adamantly believed in: Google+ was legit. I even wrote about how Google+ would dominate search and social. My thinking was simple: Google had more resources than any other social network had at its start, possibly even more than all of them combined. And it had a brand name. However, I actually argued that would hurt its popularity.
G+ targeted marketers right from the start, trying to entice the trendsetters to start a trickle down effect. Being the search giant, they created an SEO oasis. Many SEOs thought G+ would finally commercialize the blended search results that we all wanted…and possibly even release a few cool updates.
Guilty confession: I actually wrote this post about 5 months ago and was waiting…NAY…hoping G+ might pull a 360. Instead, things got even worse, as the Google suddenly dropped authorship markup. THAT WAS MY FIRST ARGUMENT AS TO WHY G+ WOULD BE COOL AND AN ENTIRE PARAGRAPH.
Okay…my second argument was that G+ links are follow links. To confirm, I tapped a few buttons on my G+ profile. “View page source” + command “f” search rel=”follow” and found 0 results. Then, rel=”nofollow” found 37 results.
Defrosting the crow…
Google did introduce the “local carousel” or what some are calling the “knowledge graph carousel.” +1s and Google+ reviews seem to be some of the leading ranking factors, according to Search Engine Journal. Then, there were reports that +1s were one of the most strongly correlated factors with search rankings. This argument, may actually still hold water today.
Still not enough, Google then introduced +Post Ads which allows brands to turn their G+ posts into display ads across a huge range of websites. People can follow your brand, notch a +1 or join a hangout right from your ad. (Frankly, I’ve never used or even discussed this feature professionally.)
Then…then…the G+ lead Vic Gundotra stepped down.
[Listen closely to hear my wife gloating. A very cute gloat, might I add.]
So why didn’t it work: It’s like going to the rich kid’s house growing up. Sure, s/he has the coolest toys, the latest video games, and an in-ground pool – all right there. It’s a dream, but you just don’t want to go there. Why? Because none of your friends are there. You’d rather play with an empty box in a musty 1-car garage with your best friend.