UPDATE 10/9/18: Google announced on October 8, 2018, that it would shut down the consumer version of Google+ in August 2019. The corporate version of Google+ will still exist. Due to low usage rates, Google found that the search engine was no longer worth maintaining. This was disclosed at the same time as a security vulnerability that exposed the private data of 500,000 users in March 2018.
Many different products and services rest under Google’s great umbrella: Chrome, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive, Google Wallet, Google Photos, Google Calendar, Google Analytics, and on and on the list goes. If you’re a business owner, you should be aware of Google+ (their social network) and Google My Business (a tool that lets you manage your business’s online presence on Google). Each of these programs plays a unique role in the online sphere, but not all webmasters and business owners choose to use them. To decide whether they’re worth your time, explore their unique purposes and the differences between them. Google+ vs. Google My Business: Which could most benefit your business? Are either of them (or both of them) worth the effort?
Google+ vs. Google My Business
Before we can pit these two programs against one another – Google+ vs. Google My Business – let’s quickly review what they are, what they involve, and how you might use them. Then, you can determine whether or not they’re valuable tools for your business (and your life!).
What is Google+?
Google+, which was launched in 2011, is a social network that was intended (and failed) to compete with Facebook. Users have profiles, publicly visible accounts on which they can share some information about themselves (photos, interests, location, work/school history, etc.). Using Google+, you can share comments, photos, links, and more with the users with whom you’re connected. You can also join Communities (public or private groups for users that share a common interest) and follow Collections (posts grouped by content).
What is Google My Business?
Introduced in 2014, Google My Business is essentially an online dashboard for your business that helps you control your online presence. You might remember when it still went by the name “Google Places for Business.”
Using Insights, Maps, Search, Analytics, and even Google+ through the Google My Business dashboard, you can manage the way your business appears on Google’s services and connect with your site’s visitors. For example, you can control what appears on the right-hand side of the screen (the photos, contact details, operating hours, etc.) when someone searches for your business. You can also review how many views, clicks, and followers your website has and yield important information about who your site’s visitors are and how they use your website. Plus, you can answer people’s questions about your business through the Questions and Answers feature, and you can announce news or share blog posts through Google Posts. These are just a few of the possibilities presented by Google My Business.
What is the difference between the two?
So let’s explore Google+ vs. Google My Business. Considering how much both services have changed since their introductions, it’s understandable if you’re confused about the purposes of Google+ and Google My Business and uncertain as to whether they’re worth your time.
Google My Business is like an online control panel for your business. Using it, you can see and manage a variety of information relating to your business’s listings on Google. As we mentioned briefly above, Google+ is actually a part of Google My Business and appears on the dashboard.
Google+ is a social network, so it’s focused on connections and engagement. It’s similar to Facebook, though the emphasis is more on Communities and Collections. You can create “posts” to share news, comments, articles, etc. on Google+; but confusingly, you can also do this on Google My Business. The difference is that Google+ posts remain on your profile’s wall. Google My Business posts appear on your search listing for a limited time (about a week) before expiring – with one exception. Google will send you a notice before your post expires.
Are they worth my time?
As a business owner, you should absolutely use Google My Business to control your website’s appearance on Google. At the very least, we encourage you to use it to ensure that all of your business’s information is correct when someone searches for your business on the search engine. Review your business’s name, your location, your hours, your phone number, etc. Keep this information relevant and updated by checking in regularly and making changes when needed. Through Google My Business, you can also verify your location so that it appears in Search and Maps. While not necessary, it’s also helpful to add photos of your business, share Posts, answer users’ questions, and generally stay engaged.
Although Google+ isn’t exactly a hopping social network, you may still find it worthwhile to create a Google+ profile for your business. If someone searches for you there, they will be able to see your profile, photos, posts, and interactions with others. Plus, although not the most popular social media site, Google+ is run by Google, which makes it more important for SEO than other sites. While not enormously beneficial, Google+ does provide an opportunity to create social signals (such as likes and shares), which are a minor part of Google’s search algorithm. Even if humans aren’t checking out your profile, spiders are, and they might produce SEO benefits. In addition, you may be able to open up new doors for your business by engaging with Communities, especially if your products or services fit into a niche community with active members.
All that said, for businesses in most industries, it’s not worthwhile to invest a lot of time and effort into posting content on Google+ and engaging with users there. It doesn’t typically offer huge SEO benefits. If you do wish to dedicate some of your resources to Google+, try to post consistently, create bold headlines with intriguing text, and use high-quality images. This will help you grab readers’ attention and tempt them to click on or otherwise engage with a post. Also, join Communities for greater exposure and create Collections to improve users’ browsing experience.
Google+ vs. Google My Business: Which platform is most beneficial for business owners and webmasters? Google My Business is undeniably more important, providing a way for you to control what viewers see when they search for your business on Google. With its numerous resources and insights, Google My Business should be a part of every webmaster’s arsenal.
While some people dismiss Google+ and claim it’s obsolete, creating a Google+ profile could help your rankings in search. That said, will it offer significant SEO benefits? Probably not. And if you choose to skip Google+, it won’t hurt your SEO efforts.
Do you need help using Google My Business or Google+? Contact 417 Marketing for help. Our team of knowledgeable, creative, and passionate professionals specializes in SEO, web design and maintenance, and Google Ads, and we have successfully completed over 700 websites since our inception in 2010. Now that you understand the importance of internal links, you may even wish for us to help you with link building. Click here to contact us and learn more about what we can do for your company.