On Facebook, 36 million users “like” Starbuck’s. Why does the coffee conglomerate also provide content for its three million followers on Google +? Following tips by Google on how to maximize Google+ content for search engine optimization, Starbuck’s improved its search placement. In its efforts to get more brands to use Google+, the search engine giant has attracted takers that include many major brands.
Starbucks VP of global digital marketing, Alex Wheeler, said: “When we think about posting on Google Plus, we think about how does it relate to our search efforts?” Google offers brands using Google+ prime real estate, the right-hand side of the search page, populated with photos and other promotional text. “It is literally promotion that money can’t buy,” Mr. Elliott said. “It is something that Google could make billions off of if they sell that space tomorrow, and they’re giving it away to try to get people onto the social platform.”
The Economist has six million followers on Google+, compared to three million on Facebook. Its journalists use features like Hangouts. According to the publication’s senior director of audience development, Chandra Magee, the Economist uses Google+ primarily for its value as a search engine booster. “There is potential there to help us get in front of new audiences,” she said. “But it also helps with our S.E.O. strategy because our posts on Google Plus actually show up in our search engine results.”
Some Google users find the push to utilise Google+ intrusive, and the issue has raised some antitrust law concerns. Law professor and expert in antitrust law and the Internet, Tim Wu, said: “If you want Google search, they’re going to shove Google Plus at you pretty hard, so the consumer’s forced to take the product they don’t want to get the product they want, It reminds me a little bit of Microsoft when Microsoft was fearing Netscape and decided to bend over backward and do anything possible to tie Explorer to their operating system.””
The enhanced search benefits that come with Google+ use, however, are very welcome perks for many businesses. Each Google+ post has a unique URL and may rank in search when website content does not. Furthermore, Google+ use is a factor in selection for local Google Carousel results.