Google+ and Social Media Walls Tumbling Down for Local Business
Read the latest on changes the Google+ is making and how it might affect your local business:
Google Now Crawls Facebook
It has now been announced that Facebook is “allowing Google to crawl and index its mobile app.”
What does this mean for your local business? It means that Google Search results on Android devices will begin to show more Facebook information.
This is currently only in Beta and only available for Android devices, but if a customer or potential customer is using Google to search for something you carry, it is now possible that if you talked about it on Facebook it might show up in their search results.
Not only could it show up, there will be a link that will take them directly to the Facebook app.
Of course not every status update you make on Facebook will be indexed. Currently there is only a small percentage of Facebook information that is being indexed.
As is the case with all Google searches (mobile and desktop) pages with higher authority will be more likely to be indexed and served up.
Facebook claims that your PRIVATE info will not be indexed.
While it is too early to tell, there may be some added benefits for local businesses in terms of mobile search results.
This could bring more non-Facebook users to your FB page. It could also bring people in who are FB users, but not currently logged into their FB page.
One of the theories behind this shift is that Google has lost ground in the mobile search arena. Earlier this year they announced a deal with Twitter for search. Now Facebook. It may be that the social media walls are beginning to crumble, allowing for some transparency between the platforms.
Then again, this could all go away as Facebook improves its own search engine.
What should I do?
- Keep posting on your Facebook page, talking about services/products/events that are important to you, your business, and your community.
- Make sure your profile is optimized.
- Optimize your Facebook pages.
- Keep posting on other social media platforms that fit your business and community.
There have been rumors flying around for quite some time that Google was going to get rid of the Google+ pages.
While it doesn’t yet look like our local business pages (no matter what Google decides to call them) are going to disappear completely, we are seeing changes in the structure.
If you have logged into your page lately you probably will have noticed the change already. Touted as being simpler to use and more mobile-friendly, the big shift is that “Communities” and “Collections” are now the focus.
They are separating functions, removing things like Hangouts. G+ is also moving away from connecting with other people, in a Facebook sort of way.
You can still have a Google+ profile, but we are told that will be migrating to a generic profile called “About Me.” Anyone can create an About Me profile, and the G+ profile will not be a requirement for commenting on YouTube videos and the like.
What does this mean for my local business?
Don’t panic if something that you used to have on your business page seems to have disappeared. It may come back.
We will have to wait to see what the future brings on all things Google. It may be that we will start to make updates on an About Me page rather than G+.
What are communities?
They are like groups in Facebook. You (personally or your business) can join various communities which are centered on specific topics. The groups may be private or open. You can choose whether or not you want your membership in a group to be public on your profile or not.
What are collections?
Collections are a place where you can curate content. Similar to Pinterest with content not just pictures. Other people can follow (subscribe) to one or more of your collections.
So if you have a business that sells two (or more) distinct product lines, you could create a collection for each. If you are a hair salon, as an example, you might have a collection on hair styles and another on hair care products. A furniture company might have a collections based on rooms such as bedroom, living room and dining room. A candy company might have collections based on types of sweets, such as chocolates, hard candies, and chewy candies.
What should I do?
Don’t panic. Don’t despair. Don’t dump your Google+ pages. Remember, Google+ is part of Google and therefore connected tightly with Google Search.
This is a beta test. Google moves in waves, so you may not even see a difference yet. Even when/if you do, it might not last.
- Become familiar with collections.
- Think about how to create your own collections. This is where you will be posting ultimately if things go the way Google says it will. The content you post in your collections will be indexed.
- Keep your profile current and optimized, but make sure your website and Facebook pages are as well.
Remember, Google seems to like to make changes for local businesses. In the end, their goal is to provide a good experience for their users. Those users are the people who are searching for your business! Does Google always get it perfect? Nope, but they do seem to be willing to say “mea culpe” and try to fix it.
Focus on your business. Use the tools you have that are working for you. Learn some new ones if you don’t have enough business or have mastered those.
Don’t try to know it all–be willing to admit that just maybe you aren’t perfect at it all either, and reach out for help if you need it.
Thanks to Social Media Examiner and Silicon Valley Business Journal for the intel!