Google's new social media site, Google Plus, has made a huge splash despite being in limited public trials for about a month. Lots of people are moving to it. Some bloggers have even moved their entire presence to the new social network. Should you?
That's the question that Scott Cowley raises on Search Engine Journal. And it's a valid question. Just consider Google Plus's wild growth. Facebook reached 10 million users in 852 days. Twitter took 780 days to hit that milestone. Google Plus, on the other hand, saw 10 million users sign up in 16 days little more than two weeks!
With that kind of potential audience, it's hard not to want to shift your resources over. Indeed, Cowley notes that blogger Chris Brogan made the shift from Facebook to Google Plus; he's even hosting paid webinars on Google+ (presumably using the site's Hangout video conferencing feature). He's hardly alone. And some have made bigger moves. Digg founder Kevin Rose redirected the domain name that bears his name (kevinrose.com) to his Google+ page.
Does this make sense, though? Remember, there's no guarantee that something coming from Google will be successful, and despite the closed beta that took place before the search giant cracked open the doors on this social site, Google+ still hasn't existed all that long. If you as a blogger move your entire online presence over to Google Plus, you're at the mercy of its future popularity. Remember Google Buzz?
So, if you're a blogger and want to do the right thing for your future, how do you approach Google Plus? Obviously, that depends on Google Plus's future popularity. Cowley sees three possibilities. The first one is that most bloggers decide it's easier and better to post blog entries on Google+ rather than maintain a separate blog. Many bloggers are reporting much higher engagement levels on Google Plus than those found on Facebook or even within blog comments, Cowley notes, lending a little weight to this possibility. That would certainly shake up traditional blogs, but Cowley gives medium to low odds of this actually happening. I don't expect many serious bloggers to abandon their sites for something with no legitimate monetary or ownership payoff, he says.
He gives even lower odds to the second possibility, that Google+ will merely be a blip on the radar a niche tech community, used by only a few people and cared about by even fewer. I agree with him. Google has been adding some great features to Google+ that represent real improvements over what you can get on Facebook and other general social sites online. That's no accident; the search company is investing a lot of resources into making Google+ a success. That means you, as a blogger, can't just ignore it and hope it goes away.
The most likely scenario, according to Cowley, is something in between. He doesn't think it will become a true blogging platform alternative, but G+ has the possibility of being a major contender and source of exposure, as bloggers experiment by posting whole posts to G+, using it as a hybrid for posting media that they wouldn't otherwise host on their own sites. In the face of this event, what should you do? Keep blogging as you have been, and continue to do SEO on your blog as always but experiment with Google Plus. It offers you yet another place to find your audience, and maybe even do a few things you wouldn't do with your blog. Be daring with this new platform, but don't bet the farm on it. Good luck!
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