You don’t need to be a therapist to understand word association. For example, when I say “Barney,” folks will typically think of the loveable purple dinosaur or the equally loveable Neil Patrick Harris (and if I’m lucky enough, the Flintstones character might come up as well).
So, given the universality of Google, you’d think “Google Plus” would be associated readily with search engine optimization. However, I receive one or more of the following three responses whenever mention Google Plus:
- I don’t get it,
- No one is there, and
- I don’t have time for another social network.
I call these the “Three Great Fears” of Google Plus. We’ll address the first one in this post – the other two tomorrow.
I do get it. I know why these questions prevent further investigation of Google Plus because I had the very same questions myself for a good six months after I created my Google Plus profile. Yet here I am, a Google Plus fanatic and cultist despite the years I’ve spent fostering Facebook and Twitter accounts. I’ll let you in on how my transformation happened and, even more importantly, will outline the main reasons why Google Plus is a must – and why the Three Great Fears are invalid ones.
What is Google Plus?
Google Plus is Google’s version of Facebook. It’s a social network, but you should think of Google Plus as your Google search ID card. Google’s search engine wants to give its users the information that will be most relevant and useful for them. The integral role Google Plus plays in search results is to let Google know who you are by establishing a profile for you and to use the content of said profile to tailor the information it gives you.
For real estate agents and other small business owners, the element of Google Plus that matters most is how your clients’ search results are affected by the personalization of your profile. Letting Google know more about who you are as a business (i.e., what you post about, who you’re connected with, what’s in your profile) makes it easier for Google to connect a relevant searcher to you. So, start with a fully complete profile.
Why Google Plus is a Must
Let’s take a look at an example. I recently typed the query “new york real estate” into Google’s search engine. Here’s what my results looked like.
You should get about the same results as I did if you perform the same search.
Through the magicks of the Internet, watch what happens when I follow The Corcoran Group, a real estate agency based in New York, on Google Plus and then perform the exact same search.I’m going to let this bit of Harry Potter magic sink in for a bit.
By merely following The Corcoran Group on Google Plus, they knocked Trulia off of the top three results in my search results for a highly relevant keyword. (Admittedly, The Corcoran Group occupied the fifth spot on the first page of my results in the first place. Regardless, the lessons learned from this demonstration are still valid and they can be applied by any other business that uses Google Plus.)
Let’s break Google Plus down with some numbers. In September 2012:
- Google Plus reached 100 million active users out of a total of 400 million users.
- Google Plus had 27.7 million active users in the U.S., an 82 percent rise from the 15.2 million users it had in November 2011.
Almost 28 million active users. That is close to the number of people worldwide who watched Oprah’s interview with Lance Armstrong.
Facebook is a great way to stay in the forefront of customers’ minds, but at the end of the day, Facebook’s impact on search engine results is minimal compared to that of Google Plus. This is an important distinction because modern consumers frequently turn to Google’s search engine to help them with their shopping.
The benefits provided by having an active Google Plus profile are particularly relevant in the real estate industry; according to a recent report released by Google and NAR, 90 percent of potential homebuyers do their house hunting online. In today’s Internet-dominated world, the difference between a successful agent and one who never gets any business comes down to their rankings in Google. More often than not, the real estate agent who ranks higher than his competitors is the one who took advantage of the fact that there are 28 million folks in the U.S. who are actively looking to put them in their search results.
The Corcoran Group did this, but they didn’t need to get a million backlinks to their site in order to do so. They didn’t just post content on their blog. To succeed on the Google Plus social network, they actively went out and interacted with their community – they were actually social!
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post to address the next two hurdles to Google Plus – “No one is there” and “I don’t have time for another social network.”
- Social Media for Real Estate – Do Your Homework First (Scalablesocialmedia.com)
- Social Media for Real Estate (Scalablesocialmedia.com)
- Your Google Plus Network Is More Powerful Than You Know (windmillnetworking.com)
- Did Google’s Schmidt Say Google+ Increases Rankings? (seroundtable.com)