By: Glenn Judah
When Google+ launched in June of 2011, the SEO industry stood up and took notice.
Google announced this new social network on its blog saying, “We’d like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software. We want to make Google better by including you, your relationships, and your interests. And so begins the Google+ project.”
It made sense to invest time and energy creating content for this platform run by the largest search engine. Businesses and brands actively using Google+ saw improvements in search rankings. Google+ even developed features for authors to provide increased visibility in search results for their content.
But almost five years later, Google+ has not lived up to the hype leaving it to be stripped for parts.
Is it still worth spending effort on Google+ for SEO?
Success Magazine explains bluntly, “The platform will never have the amount of impact it was purported to one day achieve, and if you continue to invest time and money into Google+ as a major element of your SEO campaign, you will continue to see declining returns.”
Google shut down authorship in 2014, ending Google+’s main SEO impact.
What is next for Google+?
Google has not abandoned the social network. Instead, it is slicing up Google+’s best features and repacking them in new products. The Social Times believes Google+ “will live on in the form of better, more intuitive products.” Products such as Google My Business and Places do play an important role in SEO.
A new Google+ related product, tentatively named Google Posts, is currently being tested by select local businesses. Local search expert, Mike Blumenthal, states “Google appears to have a new post/stream oriented publishing platform waiting in the wings to replace Plus. Unlike Plus it is currently being given broad front page exposure on keyword searches.”
Google describes Posts as an experiment “with a new way for users to hear directly from select entities they’re searching for on Google….Creating content is fast and simple, and once published, posts will appear instantly in search results related to the publisher. Each post can also be shared on popular social networks.”
Google Posts is currently invite-only, but you can join the waiting list.
Will Google Posts be the new Google+? The only thing true is Google’s promise to test, experiment and improve its products.