Google+ is the hot topic among social media of late, and for good reason. Since its inception just over a month ago, Google+ has 25 million users, a staggering number compared to how quickly it reached the figure as opposed to competitors Twitter and Facebook. But the benefits of Google+ are far more than just another place to connect with friends, new and old. Some of its features can change the online user experience.
Google+ for SEO:
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a way for companies and websites to improve their search rankings and increase traffic through keywords and tags in their content. The +1 feature for Google and Google+ allows you to share stuff you like or find interesting with others. Not to be confused with a like button, Google stores all of your +1’s, whether they are from a post or picture on Google+ or an article from a website relevant to a topic you like. This feature in turn helps businesses as +1’s can be made public to see what friends have +1ed. It also means that ads can be targeted to the user when using the Google search engine. With the removal of Real-time from the search options on Google, +1 appears to be the biggest way of tracking hot topics, news and information through Google’s search engine. It is believed that if a page has been +1ed many times, search ranking for that page will improve.
Google+ for Bloggers:
Google+ also is beneficial for bloggers. Besides being another platform to share posts on your blog, Google+ provides a much more interactive experience for blog owners compared to a Facebook fan page or Twitter account. Circles allows for organizing readers of your blog who are on Google+, which means you can limit your content to just these individuals. Hangouts allows for up to 10 people to video chat. You can post an invite and then debate a recent post on your site or even interview for guest posters through video. Finally, Sparks helps plussers find topics that interest them, and in turn, can lead them to your blog. Google+ lets blog owners share content and it extends it to much more than a link, so readers really do feel like they know the writer typing on the phone or keyboard.
Google+ for Students and Business:
The practical uses for Google+ are out there as well. Besides keeping in touch with others online, many of the features have rewards for colleges and universities, especially online education. For people who take online classes, Google+ allows for collaboration through Hangouts for professors and students. Study groups through Hangouts can also help students who can’t meet physically due to time and geographical constraints. Businesses might also welcome integrating Hangouts as a way to video chat in the workplace. It would help productivity through answering questions via video chat and provide a free platform for meetings with clients out of the area.
Google+ for Security:
There is one other practical use of Hangouts: video surveillance. Now you can track the rooms in your house while you are gone for free through Google+. Create a second Google account and put the new account in its own Circle and start a Hangout with just that Circle. The webcam will still work even if the screensaver is on, but will not keep a watchful eye if your computer is on sleep mode.
With the project still in field trial and less than two months old, the capabilities of Google+ are still being explored and discovered outside of its obvious social functions. Although it is not open for businesses yet, expansion will likely come in due time. Despite its youth, Google+ has already changed the online landscape and how we distribute and view content.