Rumor has it that Google may be getting ready to axe its Google+. Company executive Vic Gundotra, who oversaw the development of the social network, announced last Friday that he’s leaving the company. There’s speculation that his departure is a sign Google isn’t as invested in Google+ as it used to be and plans are in the work to overhaul it. (Already, the company has replaced its Google+ button in Gmail with a “Sign in with Google” button on some users' accounts.)
Small-business owners who have built a Google+ presence might be pondering what to do: Should they continue to invest time and energy updating their Google+ profile and using it for marketing if it’s just going to disappear?
For now, social marketing experts say, it makes sense to keep using Google+. While the social networking platform may indeed be scaled back in coming months, it’s doubtful that Google+ will disappear completely anytime soon. The platform has been integrated with several other Google products and services, from the Google+ Hangouts to Google+ Business listings.
According to TechCrunch, Google’s strategy moving forward seems to be making Google+ more of a platform that integrates many different tools—such as photo-sharing and local business listings and reviews—than a social network, so it will compete less with Facebook and Twitter. But that means that Google+ will still provide value to business owners, perhaps just in a different way than it did before.
Plus, for the time being, Google+ continues to offer small businesses several marketing benefits beyond what they can reap by having a Facebook presence. For example, having a Google+ profile can help improve a business’s SEO, because Google apparently gives favored treatment to Google+ content in its search engine results.
“When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), Google + may just be one of the best tools out there for small businesses who are struggling to get noticed by search engines,” Sharma Kabani of the Upstart Business Journal wrote recently. “Offering quality, relevant content on Google+ will not only increase your visibility and reach, but when that content is shared by your audience, it also increases your SEO value.”
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