google+ g+ logoIf you’re still wondering if you ought to bother spending time getting to know yet another social network, I’ve got one big reason you might want to give Google+ a try. It is clear that the team at Google thought long and hard about how people and brands use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and worked to incorporate the best features of all, while adding a few cool features we haven’t seen before. I’ll be addressing those features and how to get started using Google+ in the next few posts.

To keep things simple for the moment, let’s focus on the top reason you should care about Google+.

Google Search

I’m a huge Google fan. I use Gmail, Gcal, Google Voice and plenty of other Google products. Even if you aren’t using Google products like I do, chances are good that you’re using one…Google search. Google is the power player when it comes to online search. While there are many other search engines, Google dominates the field. Whether we’re looking for travel information for our next vacation or reviews and best prices for our next purchases, we’re probably searching on Google.

What’s that you say? You’re not interested in search engines and don’t see what that has to do with you? After all, you’re not all that into tech stuff. Fair enough, but I suggest that even if you think you’re not interested in search, you really are – you just don’t know it yet.

When a Brand Name Becomes a Verb, You Know Something Big is Going On 

 

google - you know it's a big deal when a proper noun becomes a verb

 

When was the last time you googled yourself? Do you know what information shows up at the top of the search results? Your current, past and potential employers, clients, and dates are googling you (oh, yes, they are) and you should be monitoring your online reputation and take steps to be sure the best information about you to be the easiest to find.

 

Google Gets to Make the Rules

How does the stuff at the top of the search engine results get to the top? Well, we don’t know exactly. How each search engine ranks content is a bit of a mystery:it is based on a proprietary algorithm, which is their own secret sauce. Google, Bing, Yahoo – none of them completely reveal the criteria they use to rank certain items higher than others.

It remains to be seen exactly how Google will incorporate content from Google+ into their SERP, but speculation is that it what we post and how others engage with our content (by commenting, for example) will definitely be a factor. Prior to Google+, my Google profile appeared at the bottom of the first page of search results. It now appears at the top, above even my own website. That makes Google+ pretty darn important right out of the gate. This make Google+ a critically important place to build a presence for your business or career. (Note that businesses are not yet allowed to set up profiles on Google+. Business profiles are expected to be launched in a few months.)

 

 

google results google+ irene koehler

 

Does this mean that all the work you’ve done to polish and optimize your LinkedIn profile, Twitter, blog or website no longer matters in terms of what people will find when they google your name? Absolutely not. If Google were to no longer assign weight to your other online properties and engagement, it seems they’d likely have an antitrust problem on their hands. Don’t stop what you’re currently doing, but I do encourage you to either dive head first into Google+ (for those extremely familiar with Facebook and all it’s features) or approach it taking baby steps soon (for those who are still learning to use Facebook’s features).

Want an Invitation to Google+?

I’ve got a limited number of invitations left to share with my friends. If you’d like to sign-up for Google+ and learn as you go, you can grab an invitation here while they last. You’ll need to have a Gmail address to sign-up, but it is easy to create one if you don’t already have an account. Once you’re in, add me to one of your circles. This will enable you to see what I’m sharing on Google+.  See you there!

 

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