A recent infographic created by the BlueGlass agency delved into all of the positive aspects of businesses hopping on board the Google+ bandwagon, and made several very good points. It’s definitely worth a look, but it does leave a few details out concerning the less encouraging aspects of the social network…
Google’s Indexing Bots Love Google+
Possibly the most important single point made by the graphic is that the content placed on a Google+ business pages is fully indexed by the Google search engine. Although the actual algorithm of the prioritization of content gleaned from Google+ is not exactly clear to the world outside the Googleplex, it is a common belief that a business page on Google+ is going to find itself in an advantageous position in the search engine position rankings as compared to an equivalent page on Facebook. That is the nature of the beast.
Mark Twain said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics,” and it seems that it applies in the case of Google CEO Larry Page’s claim that 60% of Google+ users log in every day and 80% at least once a week. Given that once you have a Google+ account you tend to stay logged in across Google’s suite of services such as Gmail, Google Docs and YouTube, it would seem that the figures tossed around are overall logins, not Google+ specific logins. You see, unless you directly log off from all Google services each day, Google will count you as being active on Google+, even though you might not have visited the site in weeks or months.
Is it a damned lie? Well, no. It’s not even a lie, really. But these statistics come from a much sublter means of collection than what you could assume at first glance.
1 Visit Every 10 Days
The Los Angeles Times reported that traffic on Google+ actually decreased on more weeks than it increased, and there is a critical dichotomy in the definition of what constitutes a visit vs. a visitor. Hitwise reported that Google+ received 49 million stateside visits in December 2011 at a time when the US membership was touted to be 15 million users. This figure would indicate that the average Google+ user is actually on the site about once every ten days, which is a far cry from the virtual 24/7 usage that some Facebook enthusiasts log. The latest statistics quoted from PC Magazine show that Google+ has 90 million users, but this is also only from Google claims.
100 Shared Items per Day?
Why challenge the veracity of what Google is claiming for its social network? The company’s previous track record. Larry Page has gone on record stating that the average Google+ user was sharing 100 items a day. Charitably, that level of content provision is probably only reached by the most adroit social networkers. But it turned out that Page was counting every potential recipient of a message as “an item.” Therefore when one person shares one item with 100 other people in their Google+ circles, that counts as 100 shares.
The math may not be essential, for BlueGlass’ infographic emphasizes the value of providing and sharing information. Although valid, this metric is certainly not applicable to Google+ in any greater degree than to Facebook or LinkedIn. And the golden rule of social media is that there has to be an underlying interest in order to trigger a following of any type.
Google+ is certainly an important social network, and there’s no disputing that, but in the slippery statistics of the social media world it is easy to get swamped by the deluge of good sentiment. Plus, from a business standpoint, the truth is that you should be on Google+, if only to help your Google SERPs. Is this nepotistic? You bet, but it’s Google’s world. We just live in it.